#MEAction Celebrates International Women’s Day

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Today is International Women’s Day!  #MEAction is joining in the IWD #ChooseToChallenge theme to challenge gender bias in medicine and medical research. 

You can participate by creating and sharing your own #ChooseToChallenge image, share one of the ones we created for you, and reading /watching /sharing one or all of the resources we compiled for you. How are you joining in today? 

  1. #MEaction California State Chair Dr. Art Mirin examines gender disparity when it comes to the allocation of research funding among diseases. He concludes “ NIH applies a disproportionate share of its resources to diseases that affect primarily men, at the expense of those that affect primarily women.” Read and share: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jwh.2020.8682

  2. #MEAction’s co-founder Jennifer Brea’s Ted Talk: Jennifer shares: “I soon found myself a part of a cohort of women in their late 20s whose bodies were falling apart. What was striking was just how much trouble we were having being taken seriously. ….Here’s why this worries me: since the 1950s, rates of many autoimmune diseases have doubled to tripled. Forty-five percent of patients who are eventually diagnosed with a recognized autoimmune disease are initially told they’re hypochondriacs. Like the hysteria of old, this has everything to do with gender and with whose stories we believe. ” https://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_brea_what_happens_when_you_have_a_disease_doctors_can_t_diagnose?

  3. The National Organization for Women (NOW) held a panel discussion about gender bias in medicine that focused on the health crisis of ME at its 2018 conference. The panel included three women with ME and members of #MEAction: co-founder Jennifer Brea, New York activist Terri Wilder and RN Ashanti Daniel. The panel also featured writer Maya Dusenbery who wrote “Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed and Sick.” https://www.meaction.net/2018/07/27/building-allies-for-m-e-at-womens-rights-conference/

  4. Sundance award-winning documentary, Unrest, is a personal journey from patient to advocate to storyteller. Jennifer Brea is twenty-eight years-old, working on her PhD at Harvard, and months away from marrying the love of her life when a mysterious fever leaves her bedridden. When doctors tell her it’s “all in her head,” she picks up her camera as an act of defiance and brings us into a hidden world of millions that medicine abandoned. https://www.unrest.film/

  5. #MEAction board member and Cross-Platform Associate Producer at CNN’s World Headquarters Ryan Prior interviews author Maya Dusenbury discussing how the current global crisis exposes how gender weighs on the health care system.  Dusenbury shares, “Women face two big systemic problems in the medical system. First, there’s a relative lack of knowledge about women’s conditions, symptoms and bodies. Second, there’s a tendency to dismiss women’s unexplained symptoms — to normalize, minimize or attribute them to psychological causes. I call these “the knowledge gap” and “the trust gap,” and they manifest in various gender disparities in treatment, research and diagnosis.” https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/health/womens-health-maya-dusenbery-wellness/index.html

  6. In Doing Harm, Maya Dusenbery weaves together scientific and sociological research, interviews with doctors and researchers, and personal stories from women across the country to provide the first comprehensive, accessible look at how sexism in medicine harms women today. https://www.mayadusenbery.com/book

  7. And last but not least, International Women’s day resources including social media templates where you can add your own picture and message: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/SocialMedia-Cards

We hope you can take time today (or if not today then sometime this month) to explore more about this critically important topic. Join #MEAction as we continue to challenge gender disparity in medicine and medical research year-round. 

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