Race is a social construct that is used to group people based on physical characteristics, behavioral patterns, and geographic location. Racial categories are broad, poorly defined, vary by country and change over time. People who are assigned to the same racial category do not necessarily share the same genetic ancestry; therefore, there are no underlying genetic or biological factors that unite people within the same racial category. By using race as a biological marker for disease states or as a variable in medical diagnosis and treatment, the true health status of a patient may not be accurately assessed, which can lead to racial health disparities.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opposes the use of race as a proxy for biology or genetics in clinical evaluation and management and in research. The AAFP encourages clinicians and researchers to investigate alternative indicators to race to stratify medical risk factors for disease states. (July 2020 BOD)