Illustrative image for Addressing Racism in Medical Research and Publishing

Addressing Racism in Medical Research and Publishing

The Hastings Center, in partnership with the Center for ELSI Resources & Analysis (CERA), presented an online discussion for journalists, “Addressing Racism in Medical Research and Publishing” on November 30, 2021.

Watch the discussion and scroll down for related resources.

Transcript of the event

Racism and unconscious bias persist in medical research. Given that journalists who write, or aspire to write, about medicine  look at journals for story ideas, the editors of those journals have an indispensable role in identifying and eliminating racism in the review and publication of research. What antiracist steps are leading journals taking? What more should be done? What kinds of cues can help journalists recognize racial bias in a research article?

Moderator: Vabren Watts, equity director, Health Affairs

Panelist: Mildred Cho, Professor at Stanford University; Associate Director  of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics; co-PI of the CERA

Panelist: Fernando De Maio, Director of Health Equity Research and Data Use in the Center for Health Equity at the American Medical Association and a professor of sociology at DePaul University. Co-editor of Unequal Cities: Structural Racism and the Death Gap in America’s Largest Cities.


“On Racism: A New Standard for Publishing on Racial health Inequities,” Rhea Boyd, et al, Health Affairs, July 2, 2020

Addressing Racism in Research and Clinical Practice, ELSI Friday Forum webinar with Mildred Cho, Rhea Boyd, Daphne Martschenko, and Robert Steiner, December 11, 2020

“Dismantling Racism in Scholarly Publishing, Intentionally and Unapologetically,” Vabren Watts, Health Affairs, January 26, 2021

“A Troubled Calculus,” Joyoti Madhusoodanan, Science, July 22, 2021

“‘Health Equity Tourists’: How White Scholars are Colonizing Research on Health Disparities,” Usha Lee McFarling, Stat News, September 23, 2021

“Reporting on Health Disparities,” Joyoti Madhusoodanan, The Open Notebook, November 23, 2021

“Observations on Publishing, Racism, & Health, Alan Weill, Health Affairs, February 2022

“The Mutually Reinforcing Cycle of Poor Data Quality and Racialized Stereotypes that Shapes Asian-American Health,” Stella S. Yi, et al, Health Affairs, February 2022

“Improving the Measurement of Structural Racism to Achieve Antiracist Health Policies,” Rachel R. Hardeman, et al, Health Affairs, February 2022

“20 Years Ago, a Landmark Report Spotlighted Systemic Racism in Medicine. Why Has So Little Changed?” Usha Lee McFarling, Stat News, February 23, 2022


This was the fourth in a series of four online discussions for journalists taking place in the fall of 2021. The 2021 series, Genomics in Society: New Developments, New Questions, informed journalists about the ethical, legal, and social (ELSI) implications of new research in genomics; discuss story ideas on genomics and its ELSI issues; and connect journalists and ELSI experts and resources. Other events in the series:

Genomics, Human Behavior, and Social Outcomes – October 122021

Law Enforcement and Genetic Data – October 262021

Precision Medicine Research, “All of Us”, and Inclusion – November 162021

In 2021, The Hastings Center launched an annual “Bioethics for Journalists” discussion series. It is supported by the Callahan Public Programs, named in honor of Daniel Callahan, co-founder of The Hastings Center. Each year, Hastings will join forces with a prominent partner to bring the most cutting-edge ethical issues in science and health to journalists.