University of Maryland Medical System Drops Race-Based Diagnostic Medical Testing of Kidney Disease

When Uchenna Ndubisi first noticed the African American notation on a diagnostic test on her kidneys, she was shocked; she wondered what her race had to do with the lupus she had.

Race-based algorithms and medical testing have been used for decades to diagnose and determine treatment plan issues such as kidney and lung disease, dementia, and other issues. That has led to researchers studying racial disparities in healthcare and are now exploring how and when race is used in diagnostic medical testing.

Some organizations have recently apologized for the practice, including the NFL and the American Psychological Association. Now, the University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have announced they will also abandon the practice of race-based diagnostic medical testing to estimate kidney function.

Medical advocates believe the practice is a factor in Black patients qualifying for transplants later than they should. Ndubisi told the Washington Post she wasn’t surprised by the situation.

“It’s being Black in America,” Ndubisi, a Prince George’s County resident, told the Post. “Another reminder . . . that there’s hurdles into health care for African Americans in this country.”

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SOURCE: Black Enterprise, Derek Major

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