The role of race in the clinical presentation

M. R. Anderson, S. Moscou, C. Fulchon, D. R. Neuspiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


What role, if any, should race play in clinical presentations? While race is widely used as a way of identifying patients, this practice has been challenged as conceptually flawed, potentially misleading, and possibly prejudicial to the patient. There are, however, important reasons for not excluding information about race. This article includes a set of guidelines for the inclusion of racial data in presentations: (1) Race is a social construct and, if used, should be recorded in the social history, not the opening sentence of the presentation. (2) Patients should self-identity their race or races. (3) Race should not be used as a proxy for genetic variation, social class, or other elements of the social history. (4) Clinicians should be mindful of the potential influence of racism in the clinical encounter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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