Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Very Brief Blog: JAMA Under Fire; Health Equity Issue Lacks Black/Latino Lead Authors

In July, I noted a review publication - a white paper - at the AMA about health equity, which was timed close to a JAMA special issue on health equity (here).

September 23, STAT covers that and related topics, see article here.  

The article is headlined, "Health Equity Tourists: White scholars are colonizing research on health disparities," by Usha Lee McFarling.

The author writes:

STAT has documented dozens of cases where white researchers are building on the work of, or picking the brains of, Black and brown researchers without citing them or offering to include them on grants or as co-authors.

A glaring example occurred in August when the Journal of the American Medical Association — a leading medical journal already under fire for how it handles issues of race — published a special themed issue on racial and ethnic health disparities in medicine. Meant to highlight JAMA’s new commitment to health equity, it served up an illustration of the structural racism embedded in academic publishing: Not one of the five research papers published in the issue included a Black lead or corresponding author, and just one lead author was Hispanic.

They add, one study "documenting the lack of Black medical school faculty and led by a white author, reported results similar to findings published 3 years earlier, ...by Black researchers." Elle Lett, the author of the 2018 paper, is quoted as, "“It is troubling that a white man, who has had every privilege conferred on him, is writing a paper about the plight of Black academics.  He is extracting from our pain for his career advancement.”  The author, at Harvard, responded in a message, "It was not my goal to be either colonial or extractive."