Newsletter The Women’s Health Activist® is a bimonthly publication of the National Women’s Health Network. We’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Meagan Morse
I’ve never confined myself to traditional gender roles. In fact, I take active pleasure in defying them, and have since before I realized that’s what I was doing. When I was in elementary school (and, to be honest, still to this day) I loved to flex my biceps and prove myself stronger than the boys who interpreted my slight frame as a sign that I was weak. I was proud to be the “best man” at my brother’s wedding; and if the men I date don’t like that I ask them out, buy them flowers, and serenade them beneath their bedroom windows, then they aren’t worth my time.
A recent assessment found 20% of seniors receive an “inappropriate” prescription, including drugs with higher complication rates than equally effective alternatives; drugs that are insufficient to treat the patient’s problem; and drugs that are under-, over-, or mis-prescribed. The 19 studies analyzed assessed prescriptions for seniors living on their own (i.e., not in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, where the rate has been found to be even higher). The four most commonly inappropriately prescribed medications were, the pain-reliever propoxyphene (Darvon); the beta-blocker doxazosin (Cardura); the antihistamine Diphenhydramine (Benadryl); and the antidepressant amitriptiline (Elavil, Endep, Vanatrip). Seniors are more likely to take multiple medications, so inappropriate prescribing increases the risk of harmful drug interactions and serious side effects. The authors recommend using electronic decision-making tools to track patients’ medical histories and medications, detect inappropriate prescriptions, and avoid dangerous drug interactions.
PLos ONE, August 2012
Ezra joined the Network last summer as our Membership Coordinator, and is responsible for ensuring the smooth administration of NWHN’s membership services. Ezra has focused on data entry, database management, direct marketing to organizational members, and customer service for over 10 years. Ezra has worked at progressive feminist and LGBT non-profit organizations in the DC metropolitan area since 2001, including the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
By Rachel Walden
Autism’s cause is the subject of fierce, emotionally charged, and often unscientific debate. The current medical view is that many interacting genes play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), possibly in concert with environmental factors.i Over the years, many alternative theories have been proposed outside of the literature on reputable scientific research. Probably the most well-known is the now-discredited vaccine theory,ii which suggested that immunizing children — especially with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine —caused autism. Although the MMR theory is now known to have been based on fraudulent (and since retracted) research,iii it’s caused parents a lot of confusion and anxiety over the last few decades.iv
By Keely Monroe
By Kira S. Jones
If you’re a person living with a disability, you may find it relatively easy to arrange for help to brush your teeth, shower, get dressed or eat a meal. But what about your sexual needs? What happens when you need help to have sex, or to masturbate? Sexuality is so intimate, it’s hard to imagine how you might ask for this kind of assistance. To be honest, it’s a conversation most abled-bodied people aren’t even sure how to begin.
By Turner Willman
By Sarah Murphy
Many things in this world baffle my mind: IKEA furniture manuals, the Twilight series, “the cloud,” among other things. But, as a young feminist, one of the things that confuses me the most is the strange hypocrisy of young conservative women (“anti-feminists,” if you will1) who self-identify as “anti-choice feminists.” The fact that any young woman would choose to support the conservative stance on social issues like abortion, gender equity, fair pay, etc., is absolutely puzzling to me.
Our year with Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) fellow Keely Monroe flew by! Keely has been a core member of the NWHN team and a leader on our Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need campaign. (Make sure you read her article in this issue about the new preventive health coverage for women that started August 1.) But at the end of August, her fellowship with us ended and we had to say goodbye.
By Heidi Gider
On October 18, 2012, the National Women’s Health Network will celebrate the 5th Annual Barbara Seaman Awards for Activism in Women’s Health. Members are invited to join us in Washington, DC as we celebrate two remarkable women activists who have changed women’s health for the better.
We are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s awards:
By Charlea Massion and Adriane Fugh-Berman
“Lets just do a CT scan to be sure…” the doctor says. These days, having a CT scan seems routine, like having a strep test when you have a sore throat. In 2007, about 70 million CT scans were performed in the U.S. — triple the number done in 1993.1 About two-thirds of CT scans are done on women.1
By Amy Allina
When the U.S. government invests more than $600 million in the largest study of older women ever conducted…
And, the study yields such definitive results that the scientists providing ethical oversight for the research decide that it should be halted years early because the questions it was designed to answer have been clearly and solidly answered…
By Cynthia Pearson, Executive Director
Health care earthquakes? What am I talking about? Well, first of all, it helps to know that I grew up in California and have been in more than a few earthquakes. Thankfully, none of them were severe and no one I knew was hurt, but those earthquakes left me with very vivid memories of the experience. Those memories started coming back as I sat down to write this column, and I realized that I wanted to write about health care earthquakes.
By Leeann Simons, MS, RD, LDN
In the 2012 NWHN Board of Directors elections, the three incumbents were re-elected: Dara Mendez, Ninia Baehr, and Cheri Pie. In addition, five new members will join the board in June: Dazon Dixon Diallo, Kara Loewentheil, Anu Manchikanti Gomez, Kira Jones, and Mia Kim Sullivan. Learn more about these excellent women from their candidate’s statements:
By Xiaofan Pan
As a rape survivor and student, I intimately know the struggle to sustain a sense of self while pushing for justice within the university judicial system. One of the most trying aspects for survivors, including myself, is the lack of fairness in university misconduct proceedings.