Category: 2017

2017, Journalistic Reporting

Stereotypes and Inspiration Pornography: A Love Story


Plastered on the walls of my middle school’s hallways were posters of people in wheelchairs and athletes with prosthetic legs. The wording of all the posters were surely meant to be encouraging, but it also reduced the people with disabilities to nothing but pieces of motivation. Throughout high school and even in college, I continually noticed this objectification of people with disabilities as merely inspiration poster children. Last fall, after seeing yet another, “If HE can do, so can you!” picture on Facebook, I felt compelled to speak up. This op-ed is an expression of my frustration towards — as well as an urge to change — our culture of inspiration pornography.


2017, Academic Paper

The Human Development Approach to Women’s Health in Yemen


The Yemeni Civil War, an ongoing conflict that began in 2015, has placed significant strain on the country’s health care infrastructure, and has shifted both governmental and international aid focus away from long-term development initiatives and towards emergency threats, such as addressing water shortages and preventing the spread of infectious disease. However, many of Yemen’s poorest health indicators are rooted in problematic social structure that existed long before the outbreak of conflict and that cannot be addressed without a long term investment in human development, particularly in one population – women. Yemeni women have long faced inequities in access to social opportunities, such as forced child marriage and lack of access to education, that have not only resulted in poor health outcomes for women, but in high birth rates, unsustainable population growth, and high maternal and child mortality rates across the country.

The Human Development Framework, as put forth by Alex John London, offers a compelling analysis of both social and distributive justice concerns to argue for the responsibility to address women’s development as a fundamental determinant of health outcomes, even in the context of the health emergencies prevalent in war. London’s framework offers an analysis of the obligation of certain institutions – cultural, governmental, and health – to allocate resources to address the gaps in social structure that prevent Yemeni women from utilizing their “basic intellectual, affective and social capabilities to pursue a meaningful life plan” and ultimately culminate in negative health repercussions. Ultimately, the human development view appropriately situates the health issues that Yemen currently faces within the context of continued political instability and scarcity of resources and ultimately points to improvements in women’s development as an important goal for both health and distributive justice concerns going forward.


2017, Academic Paper

Advance Directives: Can the Present Self Impose Its Will on the Future Self?


Advance directives allow the present self to impose its will on the future self; however, the future self may will different end of life desires than the present self. If the will of the self who formed the advance directive differs from the will of the future self upon whom the advance directive is imposed, this could lead to the premature termination of the future self’s life. Advance directives are contractual agreements between the present self and the future self, and I contend that using an advance directive is unethical because it allows the present self to unjustly impose its will on the future self.


2017, Literary + Creative

The Genetic Lottery: Revamped


This piece was submitted as part of an application, in response to an open-ended question that prompted the submission of “…a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.” I drafted the piece simply with the goal of describing a unique aspect of myself. Once completed, however, I found that the story also captured a very personal, micro-level account of the bioethical issue of in-vitro fertilization, and an exclusive interpretation of its impact that can only be described by those—like myself—that have been inside a test tube. While rooted in the physical biology of IVF, the piece also explores its equally important mental component and how it shapes my notion of self-actualization. With my account in mind, the nuances of IVF addressed on an individual-level lend themselves to further consideration of the role of such intervention measures in our continuously developing world.


2017, Literary + Creative

Snow Clock


This piece explores the intransitive properties of time based on different weather patterns, and through the narrator’s confusion at moving to a place with only a slightly different weather pattern than her home, goes on to show how climate change will soon affect everyone’s perception of time.


2017, Rhetoric + Argumentation

UN Support for Afghanistan Drug Production


This case is a response to the 2017 Bioethics Bowl Competition’s Case 13. I will be competing this case in two weeks at the conference in Ogden, Utah along with my four teammates. The case is designed to answer all three questions broadly but more specifically focuses on question number 2 in bold. There are 15 total cases that we have prepared in preparation of the conference. The objective is to build an argumentative case around bioethical and philosophical principles. In this case I raise concerns about UN support and funding for transition opium production in Afghanistan to production of marijuana. I conclude that UN support for this transition would be unethical due to the real-world implications of their support.


2017, Poster Presentation

Inecesárea: C-Sections, Family Planning, and Population Policies in Chiapas, Mexico


Family planning is widely regarded as a human right that is necessary to creating gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as a means of poverty reduction and economic growth for many developing nations. Interestingly, however, this study examining perceptions of C-sections in Chiapas, Mexico found that many women also associated family planning with C-sections, a mentality that can be traced to the Mexican Ministry of Health’s Post-Obstetric Event Contraception Program (1995-2000), which encouraged and ingrained practices of implementing contraception use immediately after birth, particularly coupling the C-section and tubal ligation procedures. Considering the negative health outcomes of C-sections shown in the quantitative study and constraints to choice in family planning (i.e. questionably obtained consent, strained healthcare systems) shown in the qualitative study, I argue that is not ethical to continue to perform medically unnecessary C-sections for family planning purposes in Chiapas, Mexico.


2017, Poster Presentation

Water in the US: Private Good or Public Right?


It’s easy to forget the incredibly complex logistics that underlie how water gets to our taps every day. Even more difficult to comprehend is life without such easy access to water. So it’s easy to understand why who provides that access can raise ethical concerns: why would private interests be handed control over a town’s water supply? Decisions are not always that simple though, and governments often balance the desires of their citizens with hopes for efficiency through private partnerships.

This poster examines privatization in the form of concessions, asking whether privatized water supply and sewerage systems are better than public systems.


2017, Literary + Creative



Two summers ago, I worked as a mental health technician at a local psychiatric hospital. I was often placed on an older adult unit, which is also referred to as a geriatric psychiatric floor. This poem is a result of an experience there. The patients on the unit were elderly and suffered from a number of different psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression. As such, the burden of decision-making regarding their future course of treatment often fell to family members. One of the saddest patient interactions I encountered was with a man who had end stage Alzheimer’s disease. I was assigned to watch him one-on-one while his family visited, as he could not be left alone. This man was severely incapacitated, and he could no longer speak. I waited while his wife and daughter talked to him. There was not even a flicker of recognition when he saw them. In fact, he was barely able to sit with them and often got up to wander around the hospital unit. The daughter and wife cried a lot during that short visit. They even showed me an old photo of the patient from a year ago, dressed up for a special occasion. It made me really sad to think about how he led a normal life just a short time ago. Even though I was an outsider, seeing such an intimately painful familial interaction was both disturbing and troubling to me. From my perspective, this personal experience solidified the devastating and horrific nature of Alzheimer’s disease. This patient encounter also illustrated the pain Alzheimer’s disease inevitably brings to many families. In cases like these, when a patient cannot make autonomous healthcare decisions, the principles of bioethics can guide families as they dictate what is best for the patient.


2017, Policy Proposal

Policy Recommendations for National Menstrual Hygiene Management in Ugandan Primary and Secondary School


For the past twenty years, Uganda has made significant strides in increasing access to education for all of its citizens, particularly with the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) schemes, both of which sought to eliminate monetary barriers for children to attend public schools. However, a gender gap persists in the completion of both primary and secondary school in Uganda, as girls are significantly more likely to drop out of school than boys. Several studies have pointed to poor menstrual hygiene management in schools as an important determinant of school absenteeism amongst girls in Uganda. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) can be defined as the articulation, awareness, information and confidence to manage menstruation with safety and dignity using safe hygienic materials together with adequate water and spaces for washing and bathing and disposal with privacy and dignity. An estimated 3.75 million Ugandan schoolgirls currently live without access to proper sanitary care. Not only is this a fundamental issue of ethical and human rights concern, but one with far reaching societal impacts. As an important determinant of completion of primary and secondary school education amongst girls, MHM impacts facets of society such as teenage marriage and childbearing, total fertility rate (TFR) and infant and child mortality rates. This is particularly concerning in Uganda given that the country currently faces dangerous population growth that threatens to further strain the country’s available resources. Therefore, menstrual hygiene management is ultimately a public health concern and must be addressed as such at the national level. The objective of this paper is to elucidate the current state of policy interventions in Uganda aimed at addressing MHM in primary and secondary schools, identify the gaps that remain, and make evidence-based, comprehensive recommendations for addressing menstrual hygiene management at the national level.