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Weekly News Round-Up, Glad It’s Finally June Edition

June 6, 2010

Over at Our Bodies Our Blog recently, I’ve posted on the CDC’s new guide to contraceptive use safety (with relevant parts linked for easy access, as the guide itself is kind of difficult to navigate), the Defense authorization that would repeal both “don’t ask don’t tell” and prohibitions against abortions in Department of Defense medical facilities, debate about over-the-counter genetic testing, a CDC working group’s outline of a plan to address infertility, and the FDA’s transparency initiative.

And, hey! this year’s 2010 Women’s Health Heroes were also announced! Big thanks to everybody who submitted nominations and/or voted – go check out the winners and inductees.

Some other things that caught my eye:
The Women Deliver conference on global maternal and reproductive health starts Monday, and will provide live streaming video from the event online starting at 8:30 am EST.

The National Library of Medicine has rounded up a bunch of information on oil spills and health. They also have grants available for “for projects that will bring useful, usable health information to health disparity populations and the health care providers who care for those populations” with preference given to applications that show strong involvement of health science libraries and those that involve minority-serving institutions. Deadline is June 14.

Guttmacher explains that “Obstetrics and gynecology residents who are trained in family planning and intend to provide abortions after residency often do not ultimately do so.” It’s a small survey – in which only three of 18 physicians who intended to provide abortions after their residencies actually did so, and they often cited their colleagues or institutions as the barriers that kept them from doing so. This is one where you just say, “Hmm, okay, can we now get a much, much bigger survey on this?”

The New England Journal of Medicine has a perspective piece by two physicians on “patients, doctors and the internet” that puts entirely too much emphasis on the “worry” patients may experience based on looking up symptoms online or being able to view their own lab and radiology results online, or the possibility of retrieving erroneous or incomplete information in those online reviews of specific docs. They ultimately conclude that “information and knowledge do not equal wisdom,” and so, “The doctor, in our view, will never be optional.” If I were writing a piece about the challenges of providing healthcare* when patients are increasingly looking for information online, I would have framed it as an opportunity to take advantage of rather than a problem to work around, and tried to sound a lot less paternalistic, realizing that otherwise my attitude would probably do more to “unintentionally fray… the physician–patient bond” than email and Google ever could.

*I’m not a healthcare provider, so that’s easy for me to say. But as someone who is also in an internet-altered industry, I truly believe that any argument that starts from a position of “you shouldn’t be doing this stuff online, because you don’t know what’s good for you” instead of “okay, here’s how I’m going to be engaged in working with you to do this and maybe helping you make better use of this tool and my expertise” is a fundamentally flawed one.

Here’s something I like much better: What I’ve Learned from E-Patients.

I always love it when Renee talks about motherhood – here’s a great post about how feminists have failed to incorporate the experiences of marginalized women into their approaches to motherhood and reproductive freedom. Don’t get me wrong – I call myself a feminist – but I think there is plenty of room to do better about including some of the perspectives and concerns Renee describes.

An article in the journal Birth looks at “Media Representations of Pregnancy and Childbirth: An Analysis of Reality Television Programs in the United States.” Here’s the abstract; you’ll need a personal or institutional (library) subscription to get the whole thing. They apparently conclude: “This research suggests that reality-based birth television programs do not give women an accurate portrayal of how women typically experience birth in the United States, nor are the shows consistent with evidence-based maternity practices.”

Amy Romano is calling for entries for Healthy Birth Blog Carnival #6: Motherbaby edition.

Michelle Chen has an essay at RaceWire, Demographics of Abortion: Race, Poverty and Choice, focusing largely on recent anti-abortion campaigns accusing abortion providers of “targeting” the Black community, arguing that “The loaded conspiracy-theory language—in addition to totally ignoring the agency that Black women have struggled to assert over their bodies for generations—masks underlying failures of the health care system.”

Somewhat locally, Knoxville’s Metro Pulse recently published a piece, Anti-abortionists Accuse Knoxville Planned Parenthood of ‘Black Genocide’ about the use of this particular campaign tactic when PPMET moved to a new facility.

Finally, I don’t know Katie in person, but I have read her writing since I worked in Knoxville and she had a column in the Metro Pulse. I believe she has even graciously answered a completely naive question of mine a time or two. I can’t imagine what she’s going through, having just lost her eldest child while also caring for the rest of her family, being 7ish months pregnant, and dealing with a local Sheriff’s office that apparently thought it necessary to issue a release disputing the grieving mom’s account of what happened to her son – and to release it the night before the funeral. I hope her family can heal, and I admire her courage both in withstanding and chronicling the last month’s events.

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