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October 3, On Deaf Ears: Medicine’s Historic Neglect of Women’s Health

Speaker:  Dr. Susan Okie, former Washington Post Science Editor 

From Hippocrates until well into the 20th Century, a predominantly male medical profession treated women as a sex in thrall to their reproductive systems.  Marriage and childbearing were the prescription for health. Even today, many diseases affecting women remain less studied or understood than common disorders of men, and women’s symptoms are often dismissed or remain undiagnosed.  As scholar Elinor Cleghorn writes in her new book, “The lives of unwell women depend on medicine learning to listen.”  Today, the majority of U.S. medical students ARE women. Are we on the brink of a new women’s health movement?  

Susan Okie is a doctor, former Washington Post medical reporter,  contributing editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and RRUUC member. She volunteers at a safety-net clinic in Montgomery County and teaches at Georgetown University School of Medicine.