Fueled by the massive health disparities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic and the racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd, health equity research is now in vogue. Journals are clamoring for it, the media is covering it, and the National Institutes of Health, after publicly apologizing for giving the field short shrift, recently announced it would unleash nearly $100 million for research on the topic.
This would seem to be great news. But a STAT investigation shows a disturbing trend: a gold rush mentality where researchers with little or no background or training in health equity research, often white and already well-funded, are rushing in to scoop up grants and publish papers. STAT has documented dozens of cases where white researchers are building on the work of, or picking the brains of, Black and brown researchers without citing them or offering to include them on grants or as co-authors.