AcademicsJun 30, 2022

updated Nov 14, 2023

Passion Project — Bias in Healthcare

Delving deep into women's health and global issues

Ollie ’23 has seen first-hand the lack of regard for Black women’s health and wellness, as well as the stereotypes many hold about them.

Donna Daigle

When tasked with developing a research project for her Women’s Health & Global Issues course, Ollie knew the direction to take. Ultimately, she combined her interest in the topic with her Horizons internship at Pittsfield Community Television, using PCTV’s studios to record a podcast on the subject.

“I wanted to do something that would present this information to the community in an engaging way,” says Ollie, whose podcast explores four main topics — the history of medicine and the reliance on Black women and slaves for experimental and nonconsensual medical experiments; how stereotypes from those experiences carry through into healthcare today; the consequences of implicit bias in healthcare; and what can be done and is being done about it.

Women’s Health and Global Issues is a semester-long, upper-level elective that explores the biological, cultural, social, economic, and political issues that affect girls into adulthood. During the course, students are asked to research topics of interest and present their findings to peers and, at times, to the MHS community. In January, students in the class shared their first-semester research projects with students and faculty via Zoom. Good news, the course will now expand to a full year elective in 2022-2023.

Ollie’s engaging, 40-minute podcast, which features classmate Sophia ’22, took about a month to produce, Ollie notes. One of the biggest challenges was the amount of editing and polishing after recording that went into making a professional production.

“I enjoyed making the podcast and listening to it, and I’m happy that people liked it when it came out and that they learned something from it,” she says. “I think people enjoy that format, and you can get a lot of information out there in an engaging way.”

Some of the Women's Health and Global Issues projects

Women's Health and Global Issues Projects

• Rose ’22: Nywele 
• Aurora ’22: Abortion and its History
• Maggie ’22: Impact of the One Child Policy
• Elin ’22: What Does Intersex Mean and What Social Impacts do Some Intersex People Face in China
• Symaira ’22: The Long-Term Effects of Birth Control
• Remi ’22: Breaking the Stigma: A Global Perspective of the Lives of Female Sex Workers
• Emily ’22: The Shift from Midwifery to Male Doctors in 18th Century England
• Mai ’22: One of the Top Issues for Women’s Health: Sexually Transmitted Infections-HPV
• Emily ’22: Women’s “Ideal” Body Types Throughout History
• Milie ’22: How the Bible is Used to Exclude Women from Positions in Church Leadership
•Hava ’22: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
• Thi ’22: Addressing Gender Bias in a World that Favors Men
•Keely ’22: Understanding & Managing Dysmenorrhea (Period Pains)
• Hadear Rizq ’22: Culture or Misogyny?
• Sophia ’22: Child Brides
• Dorothy ’22: Male Gaze in Film
• Samantha ’22: The Purpose and Practicality of Single-Sex Education