The Limitation of Reproductive Rights by Governmental Entities

In the fictional dystopia created by Percival Everett, fertility is a hot commodity, and nobody has it… except for Alice Achitophel. However, Alice’s capacity to bear children is not a superpower, but rather an ability that has not yet been taken away from her. The government-mandated sterilizations that set the stage of Zulus may seem like they would cease to exist outside of the surreal chapters of a fiction novel. Sadly, as I will begin to reveal, involuntary sterilization at the hands of the government is no new phenomena. In the 1970s the Indian Health Service is responsible for sterilizing staggering amounts of Native American women without their informed consent.

Continue reading “The Limitation of Reproductive Rights by Governmental Entities”

Imposter Syndrome and Its Invisible Grasp on Medical Students

Imagine both helping to bring one of modern medicine’s most fundamental procedures to America and preventing an epidemic. Now, imagine doing all this and not receiving credit for it.  In our world ruled by copyrights and publications, this situation can be difficult to imagine. However, in 1721 this was far from reality.  An excerpt in chapter 2 of Medical Apartheid recounts the story of Onesimus: the man who helped make inoculation mainstream in the United States. When Onesimus shared his knowledge and experiences of the procedure in Africa with the man who kept him enslaved, Cotton Mathers, Mathers used this information to advocate for widespread smallpox inoculation in Boston. He also submitted a report to the Royal Society on the topic, and as a result reaped acclaim for preventing an epidemic and making inoculation a widespread Western practice. On the contrary, the mastermind behind the technique, “came to share the fate of nearly every slave who contributed to medical research: facelessness” (73). I interpreted this “facelessness” as a forced separation of Onesimus from his contributions. This alienation he experienced reminded me of more modernly acknowledged phenomena: imposter syndrome. People with this condition often feel uncomfortable acknowledging that they are wholly responsible for their successes. This condition is very common, especially for people in the medical field, but it is still not recognized by many: including its victims. In my writing I hope to both raise awareness of what imposter syndrome is and why it occurs, as well as how we can combat it so that more people can feel valid and responsible for all that they have accomplished.

Continue reading “Imposter Syndrome and Its Invisible Grasp on Medical Students”

Pseudoscience and Medicine: The Spread of False Information via Public Forums

When I first enrolled in a class called Literature, Medicine, and Racism, I fully expected to be shocked by the material and situations we would encounter. I quickly found that I was not wrong in this assumption, and upon reading the introduction of Medical Apartheid, I was already taken aback at the nature of the novel. When reading about scenes of experimental, non consensual surgeries being performed it is very easy to get caught up in graphic imagery of the situation and fail to notice the forces that caused it in the first place. Therefore, it should be noted that the epigraph for this class is: “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice.” – Dionne Brand. I began to remind myself of this statement prior to reading passages in order to challenge myself to examine them more closely. Upon doing this, I have been able to note many subtleties in the readings that could easily be overlooked.  I hope to use this newfound insight in the rest of the readings and discussions that we will encounter this semester.

Continue reading “Pseudoscience and Medicine: The Spread of False Information via Public Forums”