SIG: Inclusion in Neuroscience - Post 7
Author: Madeleine Kirby
Undergraduate intern for the B-RAD Lab at the University of Alabama
For this week’s SIG, the lab discussed “‘Health equity tourists’: How white scholars are colonizing research on health disparities” by Usha Lee McFarling, which details the problems surrounding research in the health equity field. McFarling presents many issues that researchers in the field have been dealing with since it has gained popularity after a recent influx of funding. These new resources, while seemingly great on the surface, have led to many researchers from other fields flocking to health equity without taking the time to understand the field and its nuances first. These newcomers are taking up resources and publications from those that have been in the field their entire careers working to be seen and have their work taken seriously. McFarling presents the commentary of a few minority researchers who feel that their work is being once again overshadowed by white researchers who cannot truly understand the barriers they face.
Some questions that arose through our discussion included: Is there any retribution when contributing authors aren’t credited in publications? Should demographic information be collected and/or factored in when large organizations choose researchers? Is equal opportunity enough, or should we be doing more to ensure equal representation in research? Should the ‘best’ professionals be identified by their previous accomplishments, which may have been influenced by privilege and bias, or by their potential?
Overall, the consensus among lab members was that our generation needs to focus on being the change we wish to see in the field. The status quo and current power dynamic in research is not acceptable and it is up to us to do something about it. We are committed to prioritizing diversity and inclusion in our research and any future endeavors.
McFarling, Usha Lee, et al. “How White Scholars Are Colonizing Research on Health Disparities.” STAT, 23 Sept. 2021, https://www.statnews.com/2021/09/23/health-equity-tourists-white-scholars-colonizing-health-disparities-research/.
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