Director Elizabeth Chuang presented a talk with medical historian Christopher Willoughby titled “Race-Making – The Imperative to Include the History of the Contributions of Biomedical Research to Racism in Research Ethics Curricula”

Elizabeth Chuang

The production of medical knowledge has long been intertwined with the production of ideas about race and racial superiority. Drs. Chuang and Willoughby presented examples from the past and present. The presumption that race has a genetic or biological basis has justified centuries of abuse. Ideas about biological fitness helped legitimize both slavery and the Native American genocide. They continue to legitimize differential treatment in all aspects of modern society. Research Ethics education is mandated for all federally funded biomedical researchers in the United States to help guard against the repetition of serious ethical errors of the past, however content on the issue of race-making in biomedical research ethics education is lacking. Biomedical researchers must receive education that illustrates these ethical errors to avoid ongoing harm.