Last week, we heard from three amazing speakers Nikki Mahendru, Dr. Chemtai Mungo, and Dr. Megan Huchko about the impact of race and socioeconomic status in women’s health and gynecology in an event held by Duke University’s Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies. As an undergraduate student, Nikki spoke about the perspective she gained on this topic from shadowing an OB/GYN as well as her own mother’s experiences. She provided great insight to the importance of an OB/GYN’s office as the birthplace of a woman hating or loving her body. Dr. Huchko detailed her experiences in Niger working on a surgical team to repair fistulas. Despite their great work, one woman suffered an unnecessary surgery due to the biased views of the doctors; today, this experience motivates Dr. Huchko to recognize and fight against implicit biases that may impede optimal care for a patient. On the other hand, Dr. Huchko noted the recent positive shifts away from racism with more of an emphasis on centering the patient in care. Next, Dr. Mungo spoke about structural racism and lived experience. She compared her experiences in a high resource setting to her observations at a county hospital which serviced a disproportionately minority population. When patients came in with obstetric hemorrhage, the high resource hospital used interventional radiology to treat the patient. However, the country hospital lacked access to this technology, so women were more likely to be subjected to a hysterectomy. She went on to identify the incongruence between physician and patient demographics which also indicates a possible incongruence in the physician’s ability to emphasize with a patient.
Look out for another event hosted by the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies about the disparities in healthcare access for the LGBTQ+ community.