Shay-Akil McLean

Writer, Biologist 


Dr. McLean is a writer, educator, independent research scientist, public scholar and thought  leader studying the relationships between human biology, racism, and health inequities. Dr.  McLean is a trained eco-evolutionary biologist (Ph.D.), biological anthropologist (BA, MA), and  sociologist (BA, MA) who earned his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology  (EECB) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He is a social and natural  scientist and public science communicator with over 13 years of interdisciplinary research  experience studying human health, evolutionary biology, sociology, history of science and  medicine, science, and technology studies (STS), bioethics, philosophies of science and biology.  Dr. McLean’s work advances the study of health inequities by synthesizing Darwinian  evolutionary theory, theoretical population genetics, epidemiology, and Du Boisian historical  sociology to develop his eco-evo-social theory of disease distribution. His research demonstrates  how exploitative sociopolitical and economic relations overexpose racialized peoples to  hazardous environmental conditions, putting them at heightened risk of illness and death. Dr.  McLean’s research highlights and confronts the unethical use of biology as a legitimating  rationale to justify systemic domination and develops ways to study human health and biology  without reproducing racism. 

Dr. McLean is the founder and director of O’wise•sci, a research company that provides expert  consultation, research and advising services for developing transformative anti-racist biology and  medicine learning materials and workforce trainings in higher education, biomedicine, public  health, and healthcare institutions. Bridging insights from evolutionary theory, theoretical  population genetics, human osteology, epidemiology, historical sociology, statistics, and  bioethics, Dr. McLean conducts highly rigorous and historically grounded scientific research at  O’wise•sci to devise strategic interventions and otherwise solutions to advance health equity. 


TOPICS: Writing, STEM, Race, LGBTQ+ 

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