Aisha Tipnis enrolled in Professor Sarah Williams' course ANTH 1315, a medical anthropology class focused on racialization, during the Spring 2022 semester. Tipnis and her peers were presented with an introduction to conceptualizations of race and racialization in health and anthropological thought on the study of medicine practices. They specifically focused on how differential access to healthcare is shaped by broader histories of colonialism, imperialism, and development.
Here's what Aisha told Anthropology about her final project for the class:
"This project focuses on disparities in nephrological care between Black and white patients. "Race science" pushes Americans to believe that disparate rates of kidney failure stem from inherently biological differences between races. However, these disparities that Black Americans face — higher rates of end-stage kidney disease, kidney transplant wait times, disease progression, and death caused by kidney failure — are a product of medical racism and structural violence embedded in medical institutions. One specific form of structural violence can be found in the form of "race corrections" in biomedical algorithms. The eGFR and KDRI are specific algorithms that systematically disadvantage Black patients due to racist assumptions which can be traced back to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Ultimately, I advocate for these algorithms to be deeply interrogated. I also advocate for medical restitution programs, addressing calls for reparations and providing “direct redress” for grave healthcare inequities, to be implemented nationwide.
Taking this class and working on this project have been unique opportunities. I am studying Health and Human Biology, focusing on integrating health science knowledge with disciplines like STS and medical anthropology to work towards a world with more equitable healthcare. ANTH 1315, a medical anthropology class focused on racialization, has opened my eyes to so much insidious violence beneath the well-sanitized surface of medical institutions. I'm grateful for the class's instruction and opportunity!"