My hope, Gentle Reader, is that you associate June’s approach with nothing more taxing than breaking out the ol’ backyard slip-n-slide. It’s a somewhat odd time of year, though, for those of us whose peculiar profession it is to haunt the halls of so-called higher learning. Despite the fact that final grades have been posted—a signal to students that their labors are definitively and blessedly finished—I don’t find it nearly so easy, as their professor, to declare mission accomplished. Instead, I continue to ruminate over each of my classes, tallying successes and fretting about ways to improve things that didn’t go as well as I’d intended. Continue reading →
In our second article of the Racism in Science series, Vital editor Lesley Curtis interviewed researchers Bethany Johnson and Margaret M. Quinlan concerning the connection between racism and infertility.
Your research focuses on how perceptions involving race influence women’s health and the care they receive. Since race is a socially constructed category, let’s begin by noting the actual statistics about infertility and women of color in the US.
Sure. In the US, we have an inaccurate, wide-reaching, offensive stereotype of the “welfare queen” with numerous children. This stereotype is often racialized to support the idea that African-American women are somehow more fertile or more likely to need government assistance. This is, of course, not true. Yet, it often informs thinking about fertility. Continue reading →
This week, I took my daughter to receive the last of her early childhood vaccines. Two years ago, she was completely unvaccinated.
I was raised by parents who, after some bad experiences with conventional medicine, opted not to immunize my siblings or me, instead pursuing more “natural” healthcare options. When I became a parent myself, I was naturally (no pun intended) inclined to follow in their footsteps. But I wanted to make sure I was doing the best by my daughter. So, acknowledging, but not truly resisting my confirmation bias, I endeavored to do some research.
It wasn’t pretty. Continue reading →
An interview with Yekki Song
As part of Vital’s series on Racism in Science, we interviewed medical humanities researcher Yekki Song, a 6th year MD-PhD student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where she studies how society shapes and influences the practice of medicine.
We spoke with her about a newly-published paper she co-authored in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, one that caused her to begin questioning the way in which she and her colleagues had used race as a key predictor of health outcomes
Continue reading →
A review of Alan Alda’s If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
A 2012 study conducted on behalf of Bosch home appliances found that over 40 percent of Americans admitted to having fought with a family member over the correct way to load a dishwasher. This is not one of our prouder national statistics, but according to Alan Alda, it’s one that probably shouldn’t surprise us. As he explains in his new book, “Pretty much everybody misunderstands everybody else. Maybe not all the time, and not totally, but just enough to seriously mess things up.” Continue reading →
We at Vital are excited to announce a new series, beginning soon, on Racism in Science.
It might surprise a great many people to learn what social scientists have long maintained, that race has little if any biological basis. If, as Kittles and Benn-Torres explain race has “no clear biological definition yet strong social and cultural meanings,” what does it mean today to study race in science, medicine, and health? Continue reading →