As an African historian, my work is devoted to applying greater historical precision to the gaping holes that exist in our understanding of African-American health as a function of our ancestral past. I teach history at the University of North Texas, having obtained a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Having pioneered the field of “Evolutionary History”, my research in this emerging discipline resides at the intersection of environmental history and genomics. It also offers previously overlooked clues as to the etiology of certain health disparities for which Americans of African-descent have unusually high susceptibilities.
Ancestral History & Medical Insights
. Several years ago, I developed an Ancestral Genomics (AG) Model, which identifies certain beneficial ancestral gene variants in the unique ecology of the West Africa interior, which may become maladaptive in the U.S. dietary culture, particularly as relates to calcium and sodium intake.
My work on populations of African-descent also focuses on “paradoxes” that arise in the medical literature relating to what seem to be unusual phenotypic traits. Why, for instance, do African-Americans have low rates of osteoporosis yet low calcium intake? The AG Model tracks causative genetic variants brought to light by applying meticulous historical detail to the medical enigma at hand.
For instance, my early-stage career as a historian translating manuscripts from Timbuktu, gave me insights into 17th century West Africa that could not be duplicated in any other field of study. The approach and methods I now take to link African-descent genetic populations to select U.S. health disparities, have laid the groundwork for identifying the etiology of salt-sensitive hypertension, kidney disease, Type II Diabetes and certain metastatic cancers in African-Americans that are linked to maladaptive rather than inherently oncogenic genetic variants.