Race, Ethnicity, and Racism in Medical Anthropology, 1977–2002:

Clarence C. Gravlee
Elizabeth Sweet

Researchers across the health sciences are engaged in a vigorous debate over the role that the concepts of "race" and "ethnicity" play in health research and clinical practice. Here we contribute to that debate by examining how the concepts of race, ethnicity, and racism are used in medical–anthropological research. We present a content analysis of Medical Anthropology and Medical Anthropology Quarterly, based on a systematic random sample of empirical research articles (n =283) published in these journals from 1977 to 2002. We identify both differences and similarities in the use of race, ethnicity, and racism concepts in medical anthropology and neighboring disciplines, and we offer recommendations for ways that medical anthropologists can contribute to the broader debate over racial and ethnic inequalities in health.