From the Director

Welcome to GRID — Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference

In 2014, as my colleagues and I contemplated the creation of this transdisciplinary center on race, we struggled with whether to include the term ‘race’ in the center’s name. Societies have categorized human groups into races based on perceived biological distinctions; yet, genetics and evolutionary biology confirm there are no biological human races.

Race features prominently in both the title and focus of GRID, because it is the misapplication of the race concept to humans that inspires the vision and mission of the center. The ultimate measure of GRID’s success will be the act of changing the name of the center when the term ‘race’ no longer has salience as a descriptor of human groups.

At GRID, we examine how people think about, use, and are affected by the concept of race in research, healthcare, and society. We are primarily concerned with:

• Identifying and curtailing the persistence of false notions about the role of biology, specifically genetics and genomics, in determining human identity and difference;
• Influencing decisions about when, how, and whether race should be used as a variable or identifier; and
• Countering the negative effects of racialization and racism on individuals, communities, and societies

Our work is challenging, but critical, especially at this moment in time. It demands collaborations and partnerships with a wide variety of people and organizations in the United States and across the globe. Our multidisciplinary group of colleagues comprises representation from biological, social, behavioral, and environmental sciences; humanities and the arts; the health professions; and law and public policy. Meet our U.S. and international colleagues and the in-house team.

Thank you for visiting our website! Return soon and often to chart our progress, find out how you can be involved, learn new and useful information, and share your opinions related to GRID.

Charmaine DM Royal, MS, PhD
Associate Professor
African & African American Studies, Biology, and Community & Family Medicine

Teaching and learning from our students - invaluable opportunities to dispel erroneous ideas about the relationships among race, biology, and human difference.