Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics

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Special Section: Bioethics and Health Disparities

Debating the Cause of Health Disparities

Implications for Bioethics and Racial Equality


Dorothy Roberts, J.D., is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research, Chicago, Illinois.


This article is based on material in Dorothy Roberts, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century (New York: New Press, 2011) and was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0551869, an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Kirkland & Ellis Fund. I thank S.J. Chapman for assistance in preparing this article and Lundy Braun, Annette Dula, and John R. Stone for comments on an earlier draft.