The use of racial classification in medical research


  • Sithombo Maqungo University of Cape Town


Racial categories are widely used in medical scientific research both in South Africa and in other countries around the world. Different categorisations of race are used in different contexts and when I encounter these references in articles I read or review, I am often struck by how the use of race, as a category, somehow escapes the normal scientific rigour we use to define any other category. Race is used in various ways  in medical research: studies looking at the impact of socioeconomic factors on health; the effect of culture on medical compliance and understanding; the impact of language and, in some cases, a link is made between the race of participants and a perceived common or unusual clinical outcome or clinical pathway.

Author Biography

Sithombo Maqungo, University of Cape Town

MBChB, FC Ortho, MMed, PG Dip HPE, Associate Professor and Head of Clinical Unit: Orthopaedic Trauma Service, Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town



2019-06-10 — Updated on 2021-08-11





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