How do we Study Racial Disparities in Health - Jay Kaufman (McGill University)

- | | 3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH, room 108

Jay Kaufman 2014-2015 PRSS Visiting Scholar. 
"How do we Study Racial Disparities in Health and What Have we Learned?"

Traditionally, the study of racial disease disparities relied on a tenuous analogy with experimental research that generated much confusion and little consistent progress.  Many assertions of biological predisposition based on presumptions of genetic difference have appeared, but concrete mechanisms have largely remained elusive.  After nearly a decade of genome-wide association studies, it is finally possible to assess the contribution of genetics directly, rather than by analogy.  In this talk, Professor Kaufman will provide an understanding of the potential contributions of genome-wide associations studies on racial disparities.  His research group considered published research on populations of African and European ancestry with a focus on cardiovascular diseases, which collectively make the largest contribution to the racial mortality gap.  They conducted a systematic search for review articles and meta-analyses published in 2007-2013 in which genetic data from both populations were available.  Their results indicated that associations reported from genome-wide searches were small, difficult to replicate, and in no consistent direction that favored one racial group or another. Despite a huge investment of resources, direct assessment of genomic data with existing technologies and concepts has thus far made little or no contribution to our understanding of population-level racial health disparities in cardiovascular disease.

Jay Kaufman is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Health Disparities in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University (Montreal, QC). Professor Kaufman's work focuses on social epidemiology, analytic methodology, causal inference and on a variety of health outcomes including reproductive, cardiovascular, psychiatric and infectious diseases.

**The 2014-2015 PRSS Visiting Scholar is co-sponsored with the Center for Africana Studies; Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics & Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology; Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Perelman School of Medicine; and the Department of Sociology.** 

For more about Professor Kaufman's current research see: http://www.jayskaufman.com/