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A Compelling Research Agenda

Herbert W. Nickens, MD, MA
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Association of American Medical Colleges Washington, DC 20037-1127 Requests for Reprints: Herbert W. Nickens, MD, MA, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037-1127.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1996;125(3):237-239. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-125-3-199608010-00013
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Two articles in this issue [12] and another published recently in Annals [3] remind us that race and ethnicity are powerful predictors of health-related outcomes [13]. The reminder is ironic at this point in the history of the United States, when fierce battles are being waged against affirmative action; the essential thrust of opponents of race-conscious strategies is that race is not a relevant way of distinguishing persons from one another. Yet these articles argue otherwise. Carter and coworkers [1] show that in all racial and ethnic minority groups, except Alaska Natives, prevalence of non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is two to six times greater than that in white persons. Moormeier [3] found that black women are less likely to survive breast cancer even though they have a lower incidence of this condition. Although the lower survival rate partially results from diagnosis in the latter stages of disease, black women also have lower stage-specific survival rates. Burns and colleagues [2] show that elderly black women, including those in the highest income quintile, have a substantially lower rate of mammography use than white women, even after adjustment for the number of visits made to primary care providers.

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