Friday, August 26, 2016

Image result for women's health

While looking at the most recent news stories concerning women's health by searching “women's health” in google news on August 11, 2016, a vast majority of the articles were concerning sex, having babies, weight, and relationships with men. They were mainly about sex positions and zika virus, which may be important, but aren't very representative of all the issues that are important in women's health today. There were a couple particular stories that were more complex though looking at the intersectionality of women's health with other social identities, such as race and transgender issues. One particular article was about the impact of racism on mental health in the magazine website, Women's Health.


This Women's Health article appeared to be inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the mental trauma of police violence and brutality. A majority of their website article was trying to explain a scientific article in the American Journal of Public Health concerning the mental health risks of daily racial discrimination, and they actually did a fair job of explaining the health, science, and research components. The study actually took place in the UK, but there were a lot of findings and lessons that could be transferable to America. It was a short internet article, but at the end of their discussion of the research, they gave a call to action and steps to address discrimination and racism in America. These included contacting elected officials to keep them accountable concerning race and law enforcement, becoming an educated voter about were candidates stand on these issues, and volunteering for or donating to specific community organizations that have a history of working towards racial equality.


It was a good example of explaining scientific evidence to a broad audience including both those that may or may not be experiencing racism themselves as well as connecting it to action. This is something academia often lacks. Publishing articles in scientific journals doesn't mean the American people or the world will learn or benefit from hard scientific work or that social action and policy change will occur. The media plays an important role, but these days they are more interested in entertaining than educating or seeking truth. Explaining science isn't always the most entertaining news, and if they do report scientific findings, they often report on poorly done studies with one sentence headline conclusions unsupported by the findings. Academia has a greater responsibility (actually it should be their main responsibility) to educate the public with quality scientific evidence in a way that different education levels can interpret and appreciate across social identities as well as political and cultural views. Academia must also ensure that their research leads to actual social and policy change as well. These issues concerning the media, academia, and the education system are a part of the problem resulting in our current political climate and presidential election situation.


Obviously, there is a long way for academia and the media to go as only a few articles out of a hundred under “women's health” on google news were about complex social, health, and scientific issues. It would be interesting though to see if the magazine website and the researchers collaborated on this article to ensure the conclusions were appropriate and that it was presented in a way to be interpreted across the spectrum of society as well as to explore how often this occurs.


Alexander Sloboda, MS 4
Women's Health Pathway

1 comment:

  1. Really very awesome and informative blog it's very nice i like it.
    Mind Body Soul