Feb 10, 2020

IQWiG supports the "Jena Declaration”

The Institute no longer translates the term “race” as “Rasse” in its assessments

In September 2019, the German Zoological Society and the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena published a declaration entitled "The concept of race is the result of racism, not its prerequisite". This prompted the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) to refrain from using the obsolete term “Rasse” in its future reports. So far, this term has occasionally been used in IQWiG reports to describe participants of clinical or epidemiological studies, as a literal translation of the English term "race", a classification still often used in study documents. Where this subgroup characteristic is relevant for the assessment (e.g. because a genetic disposition common in the population of origin can affect the course of disease or the effect of treatment), it is now translated as "Abstammung" (origin).

Factually incorrect and inextricably linked with racist traditions

As the authors of the Jena Declaration emphasize, there is no biological justification for using the typological construct "race" to classify human beings, such as into a white, black, or Asian race.

At the same time, the concept of race is inextricably linked with racism. Uwe Hoßfeld of the Institute for Zoology and Evolutionary Research in Jena, who co-authored the declaration, notes: "When referring to groups of people, one cannot 'save' the term 'Rasse/race' by detaching it from a supposed deformation by colonialist and racist ideologies. Its avoidance should be part of academic integrity. I am pleased that IQWiG has decided to do so, and I hope that many more scientific institutions will follow.”

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