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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher Loffredo, PhD (University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine)
Description: This book is an overview of the complex issues of gender, race, and ethnicity as they are applied in biomedical research, particularly in the context of disease disparities and access to healthcare.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a multidisciplinary approach to defining gender, race, and ethnicity in health research and to encourage critical thinking about these issues. Rather than providing solutions, the author seeks to raise awareness of the problems and provides an ethics based framework.
Audience: The book is written mainly for health researchers and social scientists, including both students and professionals. A background in medicine, public health, or allied disciplines would be helpful to the reader. The book centers on the state of affairs in the U.S., with occasional comments on other regions.
Features: This work is organized into three main sections: foundations of the problems, the current health of specific communities, and case studies. In Chapter 1 ethical principles of health research are summarized. Chapter 2 is a review of types of study designs, and in Chapters 3 and 4 the historical development and current usage of the concepts of race and gender are introduced. In subsequent chapters the past and present state of health among African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, and persons of varied sexual orientation are described. The final chapters are in-depth case studies of gender and race issues in HIV/AIDS and diabetes. There are few graphics and illustrations in this work, all in Chapter 2 and of dubious value, but otherwise the technical quality is high.
Assessment: This is a readable, enjoyable book. While studiously avoiding suggesting answers to the complex issues raised in the book, the author succeeds admirably in providing an overview of the problem and a framework for critical thinking. Each chapter is well researched and historical quotations and an extensive bibliography are provided. Concepts of acculturation, gender identity, and culture-specific beliefs about disease causes are handled sensitively and objectively. Some readers may find the introductory chapters overly ambitious.