The Next Era of Biomedical Research: Prioritizing Health Equity in The Age of Digital Medicine

Brogan, James

The history of biomedical research in the United States is both inspiring and haunting. From the first public demonstration of anesthesia in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital to the infamous Tuskegee Experiment, we see the significant advances made for the medical field and the now exposed power dynamics that contribute to injustices when they are left unmonitored. Over the past century, biomedical research led to positive change but also reinforced structural racism. Henrietta Lacks, whose tissue was used without her consent to generate HeLa cells, and the Tuskegee study research subjects, who were denied an existing treatment for syphilis, exemplify how biomedical research in the US has been a vector for exploiting minority groups in exchange for knowledge creation. As we usher in the age of computational medicine, leaders of the field must listen to calls from communities around the country and world to decrease the prevalence of structural racism in the next wave of medical advances. We are vulnerable to perpetuating structural racism through algorithms and databases that will drive biomedical research and aid healthcare systems in developing new methods for diagnosing and treating illness. With guidelines from governmental funding agencies and inclusivity of racial and ethnic minorities in research and development communities, we can inch closer to a more just future for our nation's health.


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Voices in Bioethics

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Published Here
August 29, 2022


Biomedical Research, Health Equity, Race and Justice, Inclusive, Structural Racism, Bioethics