Category: Uncategorized

Use of Cadavers in Undergraduate Schools

How amazing that people are donating their bodies to science when they pass away? I think it’s incredible and I think I would like to donate mine in the future. However I would prefer to have it is donated to Medical Schools. One of my coworkers took human gross anatomy as an undergraduate at Rochester Institute of Technology. Initially I was pretty upset with her because I felt like students in undergrad would not appreciate the donation to its full potential. I have done dissections in my anatomy lab of a cow eye and sheep brain. I know that people often don’t appreciate those but I’m not sure how comparable that to a human body. My coworker then told me she decided that she doesn’t want to get into the medical field anymore the semester after. Read more

Alabama’s Black Belt

When reading this online news article found here, I couldn’t believe that there was a lack of proper sewage disposal in a developed country like the US. There was “raw sewage flows from homes” and a lack to basic services for the people living in this small town. Unfortunately, the people that live in this region are people who don’t make enough money to live in a healthier environment with a median household income of 30,000 USD. Most of the people living in this black belt region are African Americans and have faced discrimination.

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Final Collaborative Project

At the very beginning of the semester Professor McCoy gave us an article about what employer’s look for when they are hiring. One of the most agreed upon learning outcome from employers was “all college student should have education experiences that teach them how to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own” (3 Hart Research Associates). Our final collaborative project is exactly the type of experience that meets this learning outcome. If I am being honest when I first read the syllabus the idea of a paper written by the entire class seemed absurd to me. I had no idea how we were all going to write a paper, let alone agree on what was going to be said. Well I can now attest to the fact that since our paper is almost complete that it is very possible to write a paper as a class and it was also a rewarding experience. I am confident that in a job interview I could bring up this exact project and how it strengthened my ability to work through problems with people of all different backgrounds as well as ideas. This problem also met another learning outcome identified by the Hart Research Associates which is that 70% of employers want students that can analyze and solve complex problems. The problem of medical voluntourism is no doubt very complex, it deals with the white savior complex, consent and inequalities. The fact that Professor McCoy trusted my class to unpack potential solutions to this problem really shows her trust in me and my fellow classmates abilities. The collaborative project has no doubt pushed my limits as a student and I have seen a lot of self-growth. During the first group session I found that it mostly consisted of people spitting out their ideas and the other group members agreeing. While that was great I knew our class could do better. I saw this at our next group session. Instead of people just spitting out their ideas and others agreeing, people began to build off each other’s ideas. Somebody would say their idea and another person would respond with something to add to that idea. A great analogy I have for this is almost like a snowball rolling down a hill picking up more snow as it rolls down. This type of collaboration was so rewarding and it really allowed me to expand my thinking. I was able to look at my own ideas in a new light and it helped teach me how to work in a group more effectively.

What I Learned From ENGL 101

If I am being honest I am the epitome of procrastination right now. I am frantically typing my blog posts but I can’t help but to reflect on how this course honestly changed my outlook on medicine. From a very young age I have always wanted to be a doctor. I absolutely idolized doctors, especially my childhood pediatrician. In all honestly I had no idea of any of the atrocities we learned about in Medical Apartheid had taken place. I remember in one of the first classes Max brought up the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment and a lot of my classmates nodded to acknowledge that they were also familiar with it. I had absolutely no idea what that was. It wasn’t until I started reading Medical Apartheid that I learned about the long list of wrongdoings that medical professionals had committed against minority groups, especially the African American community.

I would like to now discuss a few of the largest things that I have taken away from this course. First, the importance of the both/and. Almost every class Professor McCoy brings up “the both/and” and it’s relevance to whatever we are taking about in class that day. Harriet Washington was one of the best examples and using the both/and. If you want your argument to be legitimate you must acknowledge the other side of the argument and the facts surrounding it. If you spend an entire argument ignoring the counterargument you are invalidating yourself.

The second take away I have gotten from this class is the importance of educating about injustices. I am a prime example of someone who did not know about any of the injustices discussed in Medical Apartheid. When we started discussing potential solutions to medical voluntourism every group had stated in their collaborative paragraph that educating was the best way to do it. The only way to prevent something from happening is by educating on why it’s wrong. This also connects to both/and as I discussed earlier. In order to successfully educate someone you need to keep in mind the both/and. Another important thing to remember when you are trying to educate someone is to avoid talking down to them.

The third takeaway from this class is the ability to effectively collaborate. I have worked on many group projects before but they mostly consisted of one person doing most of the work and the other group members just mindlessly following. In most of these cases I was the member who took control of the group. Looking back, no-one was benefiting from that type of collaboration. I can confidently say that this class has taught me how to effectively collaborate. The key to a strong group is all about balance. You have to be able to contribute your ideas but also have to listen to your other group members so you can build off their ideas. Collaboration is key to being able to solve complex issues and will be useful in any career field.

Importance of Language in Consent

In our class we have spent a lot of time discussing and unpacking the idea of consent. We spent an entire class learning about the Institutional Review Board. Throughout the reading of Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid we saw many unfortunate examples of consent not being given. We even spent a large amount of time discussing consent with regards to medical voluntourism. Needless to say, consent has been an important aspect of the course. Another focus of the course has been the importance of language and word choice. These two, consent and the important of language, go hand in hand.

Words are powerful. They have the power to give somebody the permission to do something or in other cases to not give somebody the permission to do something. It is also crucial that the words used to obtain consent or that are being used to give consent are clear the other person. In section 37. of the FAQ of the Institutional Review Board it says” to ensure that the consent document, in its entirety, contains all the information required by 21 CFR 50.25 in language the subject can understand.”. The portion of this that says in language that can be understood is absolutely crucial. This is where word choice becomes extremely important. If you are trying to obtain consent you must communicate clearly what exactly is going to be done and to what extent. It is also important to note that consent needs to be obtained if the procedure changes from it’s plan. “Clinical investigators should be cautious when enrolling subjects who may not truly understand what they have agreed to do. (Section 40 FAQ of the IRB). In Medical Apartheid Harriet Washington dedicates a chapter called “The Erosion of Consent”. An interesting point that she makes is “Various ethicists who are experts in human medical experimentation, such as Jay Katz, M.D and George Annas, J.D., worry that the vague language of federal regulations governing human medical experimentation is being interpreted in a manner that minimizes protections. (Washington 397). This is yet another example of how word choice is absolutely vital when obtaining consent. Intelligent people manipulated innocent, vulnerable people with their words. In some cases these people did not even ask for the patient’s consent due to loopholes in federal laws. Again, these loop holes are due to the wording of a law. I now understand why Professor McCoy stresses the importance of appropriate word choice being able to defend why you chose a particular word.

The Market

Colson Whitehead’s Zone one is marked with complex vocabulary and intellectual communication of ideas. The metaphors are resounding and the language can be quite esoteric. A dictionary or new word notepad should be in handy when reading this masterful albeit hard-to-read work of art. However, I remembered a practice I did a year ago of using metaphors and language in writing to capture a space until it felt like the reader could see it. For example, Whitehead captures the African Burial Ground avidly in his book. Phrases in his book like ” through the sad aperture of the dead” remind one of the burial ground and how it would feel to look on at the ancestors and meet them at face value. The African Burial ground remains as the resting space for the oppressed, the wronged and the hopeful. The Ancestral Chamber provides a sacred space for individual contemplation, reflection, meditation and prayer. . After reading about the African memorial background I decided to capture a space I found interesting in my hometown in Nigeria. It’s the local market and it is the oldest economic centre of the community. However, it is also a place filled with suffering, hardship, loss and hope. A less sombre and vibrant antithesis to the burial ground.

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When reminiscing on the novel Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler, I realized that the “other” animal is bought to the forefront. Post humanism oppressed co-evoution of humans with nonhumans and other forms of life. The novel shows the horrors of living and accepting a human-animal hybrid and Octavia Butler creates these characters that displays this human-animal quality. Eli, Meda, and many other characters were enhanced due to this virus and become these hybrid subject. In reality, we fear power and in this novel “the hybrids” hold power and make the humans feel like the “others” on their own land. When Media, Rane, Keira, and Eli become infected, they obtain enhanced senses, speed, strength, and telepathic characteristics. Because of this, they question what they are and wonder if they are animals in human form. Meda questions this and says “We’re changed, but we have ethics. We aren’t animals.” (pg. 39). Although they technically still have human-like appearances, they are still rejected and deemed as unnatural and evil. Jacob was born out of infected humans, but is still rejected and observed as another hybrid. The bodies of humans and hybrid children like Jacob and Joseph can also be assumed as postman bodies. Their new posthuman bodes need to interact with the new environment. For a posthuman, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they carry a new body, but that they have to accept being challenged. Both the humans and hybrids must understand each other. The non human body of Jacob stands as a barrier for the humans to accept him as one of “them.” Humanity often denies and fears deformity. Deformity is often portrayed in Clay’s Ark. Jacob had a human face but an animal body, making it almost impossible to be accepted by humans. On the other hand, Butler accepts human body, but without racial and cultural uniqueness. In reality hybrids will face a lot of problems in a human world. In a postman world, dominance of a single species is denied by Butler and multi species interaction and co evolution is exhibited. Butler challenges the theory of accepting the “other” regardless of how they look and what they do. Through her novel, she points out the flaw that many will have with accepting others based on appearance. The novel is a science fiction but relates to the class because it demonstrates how one will treat others differently based on appearance. For example the Tuskegee experiments demonstrated how white medics thought it was ok to infect african americans and neglect them treatment because they saw these people as “different” and not as one of their own. By creating this hybrid, Butler introduces ideas like human dependency, sharing, and a changed world with altered species part human.

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Collaborative Experiences.

No one should be alone. We, as humans exist in/within communities, groups, population, cultures, families among others. From birth, an individual’s community/family assumes responsibility for the upbringing of the individual. From the kindergarten teachers to next-door neighbours, a network of people periodically provide support and care. Kids are encouraged to go out and make friends. Holidays, rites of passages celebrations are only complete with family and with long standing traditions; families are responsible for guiding the individual in their eventual situation to life. Humans usually live communally or simply tolerate each other hence we are regarded as social but complex creatures. The old adage “No man is an Island” is heard too often from the mouths of those who wish to talk introverts out of their highly valued internal conversations. Can you respect my privacy please? Tolerate. Even when research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption (Cain, 2012. ) The old biblical story of the tower of Babel highlights the great power of team work and collective experience. After the flood in the post-Noahic world; humans on earth were united in one language. Soon after, they decided to team up together and build a tower that could reach the heavens. They built a sky high edifice, continued building until they were struck by God and started to speak different languages. The workers abandoned the work and migrated to different ends of the earth. The tower of Babel became desolate; a withered testament to the power of unity. In my lonely times, I wonder about the unspeakable power in team work. Men and women;if matched together in intelligence, fervor and ambition could indeed change the world like the workers of Babel attempted to. If individual achievements matter; then the world exists on the axis of collective achievements. Greatness is in the WE not I, alone .

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Understanding the Literary Cannon and How It Pertains to This Course

In my ENGL 203 course, we have been taking a look at literary theories, and one of them pertains to this course that I thought I would share with you all. One of the theories, ethnic studies, states that “You can thank literary theory and criticism for much of the positive change that has occurred over the past few decades. Students are still assigned works by many of the “dead white European males” that used to monopolize reading lists, but those students are now likely to be assigned books by Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison or Amy Tan alongside with those by Charles Dickens or John Milton”. If you take a look at the first name in that list of authors, you’ll notice Toni Morrison’s name among the list. What this quote from the book is saying that we owe reading Home this semester, to the literary canon, which is known as the change in the collection of texts read in classrooms.

This term literary canon often reflects national culture, which is another way this term relates to this course. It talks about how some people view culture as a  broad collection of a countries practices, while others see culture as a kind of goal or ideal. That second view of culture reminds me of our journey through this course. We took a look at several pieces of literature this semester on the topic of how racism has played into medical treatments and consent, with a goal in mind of raising awareness on this topic. Books such as Home illustrated examples of consent within the text and illustrated topics we looked at in Medical Apartheid to life. We owe being able to dive into such a topic due to the literary canon, as it has changed into reading texts that encourage discussion and questioning.