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   Duke Medical Ethics Journal   

Fall 2020 Blog Highlights

The Keyless Car Dilemma of In Vitro Gametogenesis:

What good is a car without keys?

Simone Nabors  •  September 23

Behind every medical innovation are years of research and design that often shift the focus away from the initial problem and target population.  This is no different for the newly developed technique of in vitro gametogenesis that is currently being discussed as a tool for cisgender same-sex couples to conceive biological children.  Unfortunately, if the current pattern continues, it is likely that by the time IVG has reached the implementation phase, it won’t be accessible to the very communities that it was designed for.  It is not enough to simply innovate.  We must do everything in our power to alleviate the barriers to these innovations.

More than Genetics: Social Determinants of Health

Madi McMichael  •  October 7

Racial and ethnic disparities are very real problems that the healthcare industry faces and that must be addressed to achieve equitable treatment. A large aspect of health is accredited to social determinants, which are the economic and social conditions that influence the health of communities and people, and many of the disparities we see are the result of the cumulative effects of sociopolitical inequalities. Utilizing this concept of social determinants, incoming medical students can better understand how the health care industry affects different groups in unequal manners.

Jennifer Nguyen  •  October 19

Not only has receiving language services been an obstacle to patient who are not fluent in English, but most patients are not even aware of the available resources. As a consequence, limited English proficient (LEP) patients suffer from worse medical treatment. Despite the severity of the language health barrier, the integrity of healthcare for LEP patients have continued to be diminished in the midst of a pandemic.

Michelle Huang  •  October 30

 As more women are participating in the medical profession, inequalities in pay, leadership, and respect still run rampant in the practice, causing many women to reconsider their place as physicians. The increase of women in medicine is increasing representation in the field of medical practice, but there needs to be changes in allotment of resources, social attitudes, and bureaucratic control in order for women to truly have an equal influence in medicine as men do. By neglecting female healthcare workers and denying them equality, the healthcare system also neglects to recognize the importance women have in bringing representation to patients populations, and hinders the care they can receive.

The Promise to Do Better: A Reflection on the Fight for Intersex Rights in Medicine

Simone Nabors  •  November 4

Intersex Awareness Day is recognized on the 26th of October and marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration by intersex individuals in the US (1996).  This year, the focus has been on several notable apologies  from the medical field addressing past wrongdoings that have harmed the intersex community.  That said, it isn’t enough to simply issue a statement of regret.  We must promise to do better; and to do better, we must first know better.

Laura Wang  •  November 7

The quantity and speed of scientific publications have skyrocketed during the months of the COVID-19 pandemic. While rapid publication provides us with new, much-needed knowledge during this fast-evolving pandemic, we must ensure that the credibility of these publications is not put on the line for the sake of urgency alone and that both scientists and the public are not misled. Concerns of misinformation are being raised by scholars and they cannot be overlooked. Measures including transparent labelling of non-peer-reviewed publications as prepublications, increased vigor of the standard review process, and simplified summaries for the general public may address these issues.

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