The article "Public Health Experts Turn to Economic Ills" {news story, Nov. 26}, which discusses my work extensively, does not accurately present my position published in The Lancet of Nov. 17.

The writer assumes that I believe that class rather than race is the key factor in explaining growing mortality differentials in the United States. Nowhere in my article, however, did I present a race vs. class dichotomy. The title of my article, "Class or Race or Class and Race," stresses the need to explain the growing mortality and morbidity differentials in the United States by looking at both race and class. Because the U.S. government collects mortality differentials by race and not by class, much more attention is paid to the growing mortality differentials by race. But it is also extremely important that we realize that we have growing mortality differentials by class and that we do something about them.

Another point of clarification is that nowhere did I write that Americans are divided into rich or poor. This is a false dichotomy because most Americans are neither. Like the U.S. Census, I consider the United States to be divided into classes such as large businesses and managers, professionals, white collar, blue collar, service and other categories of laborers. Within each class, blacks tend to have worse indicators than whites. Today's debate focuses on this black-white differential. My Lancet article aimed at expanding that debate by showing that white and black physicians or lawyers, for example, live on average longer than white or black steelworkers or coal miners. VICENTE NAVARRO Professor of Health Policy and Sociology The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore