The topic of racism in health care, genetics and other medical issues will be the central point of discussion at a panel in De Neve Auditorium on Saturday.
The panel, called “Race in Medicine: A Dangerous Prescription,” will discuss disparities between people of different races in the health care system and the ways a patient’s ethnicity can affect decisions made by doctors and insurance companies. The event is hosted by UCLA’s Mixed Student Union, a student group founded in 2010 that aims to provide a safe and open environment for people of multiracial and multiethnic heritage, said chairwoman Camila Lacques.
The panel will go over topics such as the role of ethnicity in prescription medicine and bone marrow and stem cell transplants. When it comes to transplants, multiracial people have a more difficult time finding matches because of their unique genetic composition, said panelist Athena Asklipiadis.
Asklipiadis is the founder of Mixed Marrow, an organization dedicated to finding bone marrow and blood matches for people of mixed race. She said she hopes that the panel will encourage more multiracial people to become donors.
“Students should be aware of the struggle that mixed raced people face when it comes to finding a match,” she said.
The idea for the panel was originally brought up by Multiracial Americans of Southern California, a regional organization dedicated to broadening understanding of multiethnic society, Lacques said.
“UCLA is one of the top medical research institutions, and this is a topic that is not talked about often,” Lacques said. “The first conversations about these issues are happening here and now. It’s the frontier.”
G. Reginald Daniel, a panelist at Saturday’s event and a sociology professor at UC Santa Barbara, said he plans to focus on the positive and negative images applied to multiracial people, as well as talk about the issue in terms of genetic variety.
“I think people need to step out of mono-racial thinking,” Daniel said. “We need to see the connections we have with each other, whether we like it or not.”
Sophia Lykke, a first-year international development studies student, said she plans on attending the event because of its significance to her own life.
“As a person of mixed race, I think it is important to be aware of medical ethnics as they concern people of the mixed community,” Lykke said.
The Mixed Student Union hopes that this event will contribute to the growing discussion of these topics.
“It’s important not to be afraid, not to shy away from these topics,” Lacques said. “We’re hoping to discuss these issues in the most respectable, yet straightforward way possible.”