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Advancing Genomic Research and Reducing Health Disparities: What Can Nurse Scholars Do?


Dr. Cheedy Jaja, College of Nursing—Biobehavioral Nursing, Georgia Health Sciences University, 987th Street Sebastian Way EC-4517, Augusta, GA 30912.




Advances in genomic research are improving our understanding of human diseases and evoking promise of an era of genomic medicine. It is unclear whether genomic medicine may exacerbate or attenuate extant racial group health disparities. We delineate how nurse scholars could engage in the configuration of an equitable genomic medicine paradigm.

Organizing Construct

We identify as legitimate subjects for nursing scholarship the scientific relevance, ethical, and public policy implications for employing racial categories in genomic research in the context of reducing extant health disparities.


Since genomic research is largely population specific, current classification of genomic data will center on racial and ethnic groups. Nurse scholars should be involved in clarifying how putative racial group differences should be elucidated in light of the current orthodoxy that genomic solutions may alleviate racial health disparities.


Nurse scholars are capable of employing their expertise in concept analysis to elucidate how race is used as a variable in scientific research, and to use knowledge brokering to delineate how race variables that imply human ancestry could be utilized in genomic research pragmatically in the context of health disparities.

Clinical Relevance

In an era of genomic medicine, nurse scholars should recognize and understand the challenges and complexities of genomics and race and their relevance to health care and health disparities.