Feminist Theory in Medicine

The Creatives in Medicine student organization hosted a Feminist Theory in Medicine discussion-based seminar on Thursday, Oct. 6. The purpose of the event was to discuss some of the take-home points from an article in The Lancet: “Applying Feminist Theory in Medical Education,” recommended by group advisor, Rachel Bracken, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine.

The discussion started with some general talking points (i.e., do we define certain specialties as more feminine? Why or why not?). We eventually branched out to discussing specific feminist theories (e.g., intersectional feminism) and how they may offer constructive criticism of traditional Western Medicine.

“From our insights, I hope to become a better advocate,” noted second-year medicine student Anjali Agarwal.

As noted by Agarwal, we discussed how different expectations for women physicians and patients impact how they are viewed and treated, enforcing the importance of intersectionality in considering these issues. We also considered changes that could be implemented to work towards creating a safe environment to express concerns.

Finally, we ended with a TEDTalk from Dr. Nwando Olayiwola (chair and professor of the OSU Department of Family and Community Medicine) in which she discusses the ideas of racism and place-ism.

The conversation went great! Many of us were able to share personal anecdotes and offer insights on how we can move from simply discussing theory to implementing practical action. We also shared how important it is for current medical institutions to constantly re-evaluate how they are teaching the humanities. Some effective strategies are continually hearing from marginalized voices—especially Black feminist thought—and encouraging self-reflection (on both student and faculty levels), with the ultimate goal being structural change.

-- Submitted by Omar Hameed (M2) and Clare Rigney (M2)

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