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Author Archive: Keisha Ray

About Keisha Ray


Who gets to tell our stories?: Health narratives and privilege

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

“Nothing about us without us.”– J.I. Charlton, adopted by disability rights advocates

Recently I sat in a room of scholars who teach health humanities in medical schools and undergraduate institutions across the United States and Canada. At the top of the list of topics we discussed was the power of health narratives as pedagogical tools. Patients’ stories of illness, treatment, suffering, and healing were shared, read, dissected. Some participants even shared their own health narratives. But much like educators teaching health humanities across North America, the room of 35 or so participants were overwhelmingly white, upper to middle class, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, and very well educated possessing doctorate and medical degrees.…

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Black Women are Dying in Disproportionate Numbers During and After Giving Birth and not even Celebrity Serena Williams is Safe

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

In a previous blog I wrote about racial disparities in health and health care in which black patients fare much worse than white patients, including worse health outcomes. For instance, black patients are more likely to experience inadequate pain management from their practitioners than white patients. Black people are also more likely to experience lower quality of sleep than white people, which can contribute to other health problems such as hypertension. Recently bioethicists have been somewhat more attention to another racial disparity, the disparity between black and white women who die during or after childbirth.

By some estimates black women are 3 times more likely to die from pregnancy or pregnancy related ailments than white women.…

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Intersectionality and the Dangers of White Empathy when Treating Black Patients

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

(Originally presented at the 7th International Health Humanities Consortium meeting in Houston, Texas)

I’ve had many odd, seemingly racially motivated experiences with racially uneducated and racially insensitive doctors and nurses. From being told by one of my white physicians that I sound white when I speak, to another physician calling me “sista girl” for what seemed like 100 times during our brief 15-minute interaction, or another physician who in disbelief kept asking me “Are you sure you’ve never been pregnant? It’s very rare for a black woman your age to not have had any pregnancies. Maybe you think I mean births, when I mean pregnancies?” At the time, I was only 25 years old.…

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Is it Time for The NFL to Change Its Policy on Medical Marijuana?

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Seantrel Henderson is a 24-year-old player on The National Football League’s (NFL) Buffalo Bills. Henderson is currently suspended from playing in the NFL because for the second time he has violated the league’s substance abuse policy. The NFL bans performance enhancing drugs such as steroids as well as illicit drugs like cocaine. Henderson is facing suspension for his use of marijuana. A third violation of the league’s substance abuse policy would permanently ban Henderson from playing in the NFL. Henderson’s case is slightly different than many of the sensationalized stories about players’ use of drugs to have unfair access to victory or players’ recreational drug use.…

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This entry was posted in Featured Posts, Sports Ethics and tagged , . Posted by Keisha Ray. Bookmark the permalink.


My Experience with Texas Campus Carry Laws as a New Professor

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Like many other new assistant professors across America, I spent the weeks before the beginning of the new fall semester in orientations covering everything from my university’s tenure requirements to how to fill out my health insurance forms to how to get a campus ID card. Because I am a new assistant professor at a public university in the state of Texas, my orientation also included briefings on the new campus carry laws.

On August 1st students (who have met other requirements for owning a weapon such as age, permits, etc.) were granted legal permission to carry a concealed weapon on the grounds of public universities in Texas, making it the eighth state in the USA to do so.…

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This entry was posted in Cultural, Featured Posts, Health Regulation & Law and tagged , , , . Posted by Keisha Ray. Bookmark the permalink.


Burnout and self-care for bioethicists

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Like many bioethicists, I often have to research disturbing parts of American culture for various writing projects. Topics like rape, gun violence, sexism, and medical racism are often times the subjects of my scholarly articles and blogs. Many times, I have to research how these topics play out in our everyday lives, forcing me to research popular and heart-breaking news stories such as the Orlando night club shooting or the recent Stanford rape case. Because of technology, social media, and the always handy cell phone, my research often requires me to read or watch the testimonies of witnesses to heinous crimes, crime scene photos, and/or videos of murders.…

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Inefficient pain management for black patients shows that there is a fine line between ‘inhumane’ and ‘superhuman’

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

It’s well known that in America there are great disparities in health, access to health care, and health care outcomes between black people and white people, with black people, on average, faring much worse than white people. For example, if you are black in America you are more likely to die from breast cancer, heart disease, strokes, and giving birth than if you are white in America. According to the National Institute of Medicine, health disparities between races exist even when factors such as stage of disease presentation and the severity of disease are the same.…

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What can celebrities do for bioethics?

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Television, film, theater, sports, and music celebrities (and other famous people who only seem to be famous for being famous) capture the public’s attention with tales of the celebrity lives and the perks and downfalls that come with being a public figure. Occasionally, their narratives include topics that are frequently discussed in bioethics. Although it’s great to have the public engaged in topics that we discuss behind closed doors in our offices, classrooms, and laboratories, many times, much to bioethicists and medical practitioners’ irritation, because of their celebrity status they have a large platform to damage the work the medical profession and bioethicists have done to establish a relationship with the public.…

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The Unbearable Whiteness of Bioethics: Exhorting Bioethicists to Address Racism

by Kayhan Parsi, Ph.D.

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” (Cicero)

Fight the Power” (Public Enemy)

Recently, our medical school hosted Dr. Linda Rae Murray to give a talk on structural racism and medicine. A former president of the American Public Health Association, Dr. Murray gave a powerful presentation on the history of racism in the United States and its lingering impact upon health disparities. In one of her more provocative slides, she graphically conveyed the long history of racism toward African Americans in the United States (before and after the founding of the republic).…

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Imposter Syndrome

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

As a junior scholar, Imposter Syndrome is as a part of my daily life as some people’s morning coffee is a part of their morning routine. Despite considering myself to be a very confident person, Imposter Syndrome is an omnipresent force in my life. Imposter Syndrome is the belief that you are not qualified for a task, job, or promotion despite evidence to the contrary usually in the form of experience, education, degrees, etc. It’s a feeling of phoniness, a feeling that you do not deserve the accolades you have received coupled with the fear that everyone knows you’re a fake.…

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