Mix & Match: Constituting Racialised Communities in UK Stem Cell Donor Recruitment
This paper presents a new Wellcome Trust-funded project starting in 2019 exploring minority ethnicity stem cell donor recruitment in the UK. Using ethnographic and digital methods to explore online and offline efforts by charities and individuals, the project investigates the role of race and notions of “mixed-race” in contemporary biomedicine.
Stem cell transplants are an increasingly common cancer treatment option, but minority ethnicity and mixed-raced people in the UK–as in most of the global north–are far less likely to find matching stem cell donors than their white counterparts. A number of small charities and campaigns (generally led by people themselves racialized as minority ethnicity) seek to address this inequality by organising donor drives and using social media to encourage minority and mixed-raced people to register as stem cell donors
The paper describes the project’s aims to (i) explore how racial difference is mobilised to encourage potentially life-saving acts of donation within minority ethnicity communities, (ii) contribute to understanding how significant ethnic health inequalities are being addressed by small charities and individuals, and (iii) understand how race and notions of heredity are being enacted in a contemporary biomedical context.
Ros undertook her PhD in SATSU from 2012 to 2015. She then moved to the University of Warwick for a Teaching Fellowship in Sociology for a year, before joining the University of Sheffield's Department of Sociological Studies in 2016 as a Research Associate on a digital health self-monitoring project. In 2018, she became a Lecturer in Digital Media and Society in the same department. She has a wider interest in Science and Technology Studies (STS), social theory, race, and health equity.
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