Imperfect Measures: Notes on Humanization

Emily Waples// 1. In the beginning, I refresh endlessly. A thumb hovering over a search bar icon. An enter key tentatively pressed over a web address. Coronavirus update. There are always open tabs: the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard, the CDC case data, the New York Times’s coronavirus map. You can watch the red dots bleed…

“Unique, but Similar”: The Paradox of Evidence-Based Medicine

Emily Wheater // During UK lockdown, I watched a debate on the subject of the existence (or not) of ‘the female brain’. In her concluding remarks Gina Rippon (author of The Gendered Brain), after arguing for the motion that ‘there is no such thing as the female brain’, said ‘I think every brain is different…

Aging Together and Apart: From the Pivot to the Pirouette

Sally Chivers // With COVID-19, what scholars and activists of aging have long feared and warned about has come about. Global supply chains are indeed too easily choked off, leaving both the rich and poor poorer, though still not to the same extent. The stealthy and overt privatization of health care, particularly in the long-term…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 3 Civil Rights and the Body Politic

Sarah L. Berry //  “Racism is a public health threat,” declared Dr. Lisa Cooper in a recent webcast. Over just a few months, COVID-19 exposed racial disparities in health on a national stage, helped ignite organized national protest over police violence against Black Americans,[i] and illuminated a link between persistent economic inequality (i.e., essential workers…

Is the Face Mask a Muzzle? A Brief History

Don James McLaughlin// On June 26, a video began circulating of a man growling “I will not be muzzled like a mad dog” at a special meeting of the St. Lucie County Commission in Florida, held to discuss a proposal for a face mask mandate. Bared teeth notwithstanding, commissioners voted to approve the ordinance on…

Understanding race in a pandemic

Sasheenie Moodley // Dr. Ebony Hilton explains that there is a painful intersection between the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States. That is, pandemic and protest are part of the same disease thread—racial prejudice and racial adversity. Dr. Ebony Hilton is an anesthesiologist and associate professor at the University…

Proust in Pandemic: Part II

Catherine Parker // Proust and Medicine Prior to undertaking the project to read In Search of Lost Time in the coronavirus era, the only biographical fact I knew about Proust was that he insisted on completing his landmark novel in the cocoon of a cork-lined room—an idiosyncratic signature—but perhaps one that would have resonated in…

Pedagogy of the Pandemic: Narrative Medicine and Radical Empathy

Sayantani DasGupta, Author // Ibraim Nascimento, Painter // There is a rupture in higher education and in that rupture is an opportunity. As novelist Arundhati Roy (2020) has written, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway…

Diabetes, Music, and Meaning Making

John A. Carranza //  “There’s days I wanna close my eyes and never wake up to my numbers high / Just lay there until all I read is low / I’m sick as shit of all these pricks / And everybody’s ignorance…” So goes the refrain to the song “Double Arrows Down” by the punk…