Our Genetics: Prof Constance Hilliard Explains Health Disparities, Salt, & Cancer Risks

Better Black Health Podcast

Host: Dr. Greg Hall

Better Black Health with Dr. Greg Hall welcomes Constance B. Hilliard, PhD.  This Harvard-trained professor of African history may have found the elusive reason for many of the health disparities we see in the US.  She explains salt sensitivity, kidney problems, cancer risks and so much more.  Hilliard is a professor of African Evolutionary History at the University of North Texas. 

She is best known for her pioneering research in this field, which lies at the intersection of environmental health and genomics. Having received a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, she began her academic career as an African historiographer, deciphering ancient handwritten manuscripts from Timbuktu and other parts of the African interior. She soon realized that this more detailed knowledge of the ecological niche to which the ancestors of Black Americans were genetically adapted offered  invaluable insights regarding Blacks’ high susceptibility to such diseases as hypertension, kidney failure, certain cancers and childbirth mortality. 

In recent years, this transdisciplinary research has led Prof. Hilliard to raise the alarm.  The medical community’s lack of clarity regarding the genetic inheritances of non-Europeans and the Human Genome Project’s flawed  one-size-fits-all paradigm has effectively locked Blacks and other minorities out of this century’s precision medicine revolution (despite all the public talk regarding diversity). 

Find Dr. Hilliard’s book “Ancestral Genomics: African American Health in the Age of Precision Medicine” on Amazon HERE 

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