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Author Archive: Keisha Ray

About Keisha Ray


by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

 

For many LGBTQ people (and many others) June is a month of celebration. June is PRIDE month. PRIDE is celebrated all over the United States during the month of June to commemorate June 28, 1969 when New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. The patrons, however, did not go quietly. They rioted and resisted arrest in response to years of harassment and arrests for the crime of homosexuality that occurred even before the Stonewall raid. This month, New York’s police commissioner apologized for the raid, calling the raid and laws against homosexuality “discriminatory and oppressive.”

Although my social media timelines, newsfeeds, and pages are filled with LGBTQ and straight people alike dancing and cheering at PRIDE parades all over the United States and the gay and transgender flags flying high, I’m also reminded of the ways transgender people’s health is under attack.…

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by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Since 2009 Caster Semenya has been the face of hyperandrogenism in women’s sports and today her case is back in the headlines. Hyperandrogenism is when women have high levels of hormones like testosterone. Because of high levels of testosterone, Semenya, a South African, Olympic champion runner has been at war with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over her ability to participate in some of women’s international races like the Olympic games. To participate in races Semenya was required to undergo hormone treatment to lower her hormone levels. For future cases involving women athletes with hyperandrogenism the IAAF created policies that mandated women athletes must meet new testosterone levels of no greater than 10nmol/L to compete against women.…

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by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

A sudden and rapid weight gain of 15 pounds over the span of two weeks, despite exercising almost daily and following a nutritionist approved diet sent me to a primary care physician. I have been fat for all of my adult life so I am familiar with the disbelief, questioning, and distrust that comes with being a fat patient complaining of poor health. So I went to this doctor’s appointment prepared. As anyone who follows me on social media knows, I am a meal prepper. On almost every Sunday of the year I prepare 5-6 days’ worth of meals according to an anti-inflammatory, nutritionist approved diet, weighing and measuring all foods, and I post the pictures to my social media.…

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by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

“One Day at a Time” is the best show on Netflix you aren’t watching. It focuses on an intergenerational Cuban family living in Los Angeles, California. The mom, Penelope, a military vet and now a nurse, struggles with PTSD, anxiety, and depression while raising her two children in a small apartment with her mom, Lydia, played by legendary Rita Moreno. As a single mom, Penelope struggles to balance dating, becoming a nurse practitioner, her military support group, her ex-alcoholic ex-husband, the needs of Alex—her too-cool for school teenage son—Elena—her feminist teenage daughter who recently told the family that she is gay—and her traditional, yet modern mother Lydia.…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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