Category: 2019

2019, Academic Paper

An Analysis of Racial Health Disparities as Related to Race-Based Medicines

LAURA SERBAN

The motivators of racial health disparities in the United States have been continually contested in academic papers and policy proposals. I examine Dorothy Roberts’ rejection of the two arguments for race-neutral economic factors and race-specific genetic differences as the motivators of the disparities, and her subsequent conclusion that racial inequality based on social environments is the true culprit. Using a Baltimore study that found that racial health disparities decrease with the integration of people from different races but from the same socioeconomic status, I explain Roberts’ claim. I then focus the paper beyond Roberts’ argument and on the efficiency of race-based medicines like BiDil, which can be considered a component of the race-specific genetic differences argument. I offer an objection to Roberts by stating that race-based marketing may result in increased access and visibility of important medicines in African American communities that are underrepresented in marketing campaigns. I respond to the objection by stating that race-based marketing shifts the blame for racial health disparities on biological flaws inside African Americans rather than on the flaws of their society and provides manufacturers of race-based medicines an unfair monopoly in African American neighborhoods. I refute this response by stating that rather than creating a monopoly, race-based marketing may persuade more pharmaceutical companies to focus their campaigns on African American communities and thereby increase access to medicines. Finally, I rebut this refutation by agreeing with Roberts that race-based marketing of medicines emphasizes the capacity of pharmaceutical companies to reduce racial disparities while the true cause, social environments caused by racial inequality, remains on the backburner. They provide an opportunity for the government to shift the burden of addressing racial health disparities onto companies while ignoring that fact that it is social environment, not access to medicines, that creates diseases in the first place.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

An Integrative Approach to Advocacy: The Addition of Aspects from the Medical Model to the Strong Social Model

MAYESHA AWAL

The strong social model is very important because it has contributed to vast social movements worldwide to reform social barriers for individuals with disability, yet this model has gained controversial attention in the disability movement because of its limited scope—that social barriers are the only reason why disabilities arise. However, I argue that the strong social model needs to alter its approach. Through the examination of the individual attitudes and policy, economic, and social barriers, I will argue that the strong social model is deficient and needs to change its approach to include medical impairments of those with disabilities. Unlike the strong social model, the medical model acknowledges that disability arises because something is wrong with the human body. The strong social model finds that the negative attitudes of individuals in society can hinder an individual with disability from advancing in society. When analyzing policy barriers in accordance to the strong social model, I have found that the Bangladesh Persons with Disability Welfare Act (2001) is deficient because it does not address accessibility to the services for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the economic barriers that are addressed in the model include unequal distribution of income and the inefficient dissemination of welfare information. Finally, the social barriers that are addressed in this article include the barriers of transportation that those with disabilities may encounter. Despite the fact that the strong social model addresses social barriers, the model does not address the physical and medical impairments of those with disabilities. The strong social model can improve its approach by creating an integrated paradigm, acknowledging that there are medical conditions that may give rise to disability. This way, society can address both the social and medical barriers in order to make accessibility much more efficient for those with disabilities.

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2019, Academic Paper

Reinforcing Native American Health Vulnerabilities: The 2004 Case of the Havasupai Tribe

KYRA KOCIS

Health status disparities between Native Americans, Europeans, and Americans have persisted since colonization and continue to shape the landscape of our current health care systems. European doctrines of discovery and conquest gave rise to theories that indigenous peoples were inherently genetically inferior and thus more susceptible to disease. Native American cultural practices, spiritual beliefs, individual behaviors, and communal approach to life were systematically undermined by European socioeconomic values, public policy, and sense of paternalism and assumed responsibility to morally correct the inferior, suffering, and morally deprived indigenous citizens. Lack of clear consensus regarding who is responsible for health disparities among indigenous peoples has allowed actors to self-select understandings of disease and proposed interventions. This has resulted in in oscillating approaches of paternalism and self-determinism regarding indigenous health care. The current trend is toward devolution of responsibility to indigenous community. This begs the question of whether policies of self-determination have been pursued out of respect for Native American cultural sovereignty, or as a means to absolve federal responsibility for perpetuating the restrictive socioeconomic standing and disparate health conditions of native peoples.

A 2004 lawsuit regarding improper use of DNA samples from members of the Havasupai Tribe illustrates how the historical legacy of Native American vulnerability shapes current bioethical debates and the perpetuation of conditions of vulnerability for Native Americans. Analysis of the case points to 3 important bioethical considerations: the breadth of informed consent, the need to address local considerations of “research”, the treatment of genetic research material. The case shows that elements of genetic determinism, and lack of attention paid to cultural norms continue today, despite the presence of both paternalistic and self-determined systems.

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2019, Academic Paper

Pharmaceutical Drug Regulation in the United States and United Kingdom: Assessing Consumer Drug Availability and Pricing

RHEA BHATT

The regulation of medical drugs, devices and therapies involves competing goals of assuring safety and efficacy while providing rapid movement of innovative therapies through the investigative and regulatory processes. There is a trade-off between affordability and accessibility of the remedy (patient quality of life) and associated risk (toxicity of the drug). While both the United States and the United Kingdom have similar regulatory priorities and missions, the approaches to drug and device approval are distinct. Approval and regulation of novel medical drugs, devices and therapies poses complexities. Extensive research and development, clinical trials, lengthy regulatory review requirements, and funding are all factors that should be considered in the analysis of drug and device evaluation. Common concerns between the US and UK approval requirements highlight the need for mutual cooperation, stronger regulations, and increased transparency in the pharmaceutical sector.

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2019, Journalistic Reporting

Owens’ Personality Masks Off-Field Mental Health Issues

CARTER OWEN

Although athletes today have worldwide fame, fortune, and more success than most people dream of, their lives are far from easy. They constantly fight a hidden opponent that’s a far tougher foe than any in their sport: mental health.

Mental illness is no joke. According to estimates by the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 44 million Americans reported experiencing some form of mental illness in 2015. That’s nearly one in five people over 18 years old.

Especially in professional sports, injuries, competitive failure and overtraining often lead to immense psychological distress, which is the primary causal factor in mental illness development.

Through my work, I aim to highlight individual athletes who have well-documented struggles with mental illness and to help create a better understanding of the burdens they bear. In the wake of his recent Hall of Fame induction, I will profile former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens’ documented struggles with mental illness.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Safe Injection Sites: Promoting Positive Consequences

HELEN WICKSTROM

The opioid crisis facing the United States demands new treatment options to be available to those fighting addiction. Safe injection sites should be introduced in the United States, as they provide the greatest benefit to both individuals and surrounding communities. For the individual, the many risks posed by injecting in an unsafe location are averted: specifically, death and the contraction of HIV. Additionally, safe injection sites could help to funnel those struggling with an addiction into medication-assisted treatment programs and provide them with access to other healthcare. The surrounding community, then, would also benefit in terms of safety and health—decreased drug-related crime and litter associated with public injections would result. Overall, utilitarian theory can rightly justify the institution of safe injection sites in the US, as it would produce the greatest positive consequences for the population.

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2019, Rhetoric + Argumentation

A Bad Attitude Is Not a Disability: An Analysis of the Definition of Disability

MAYESHA AWAL

Today, many social media posts consist of inspirational quotes that convey uplifting messages. Even the most inspirational quotes may seem positive at first, yet once we examine the latent meaning of these quotes, they can hold nuances that may be subject to dispute. The esteemed American figure skater Scott Hamilton once said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” This statement is problematic in that it limits disability to a bad attitude, which is very damaging.
Hamilton’s understanding of a bad attitude contradicts Campbell and Stromondo’s definition of disabilities that they are, for the most part, are intrinsically neutral. However, a bad attitude is not intrinsically neutral, it is intrinsically, and in other ways, bad—it reduces the experience of individuals with a disability and that is harmful. In fact, Hamilton’s claim that the only disability in life is a bad attitude is incorrect. Through the analysis of the definition of disability and a bad attitude, I will argue that his quote is not a good way to look at disability because his definition of a bad attitude as a disability is false, reductionist to disability, and ultimately harmful. Hamilton’s quote should prompt us to be more cautious when defining disabilities because, if taken seriously, such a misunderstanding of the comparison between disability and a bad attitude is harmful.

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2019, Journalistic Reporting

DC Government Overlooks Food Insecurity, Health Advocate Says

JULIE GUAN

Lack of access to healthy food options in D.C.’s poorer neighborhoods may be linked to higher rates of diabetic chronic illnesses in those neighborhoods. As Georgetown students and residents of D.C., we hold the responsibility to be informed about ethical issues, and the food inequality happening in the District is no exception. This article aims to inform Georgetown students of the plight that many District residents are facing and to inspire students to advocate for those in need. Additionally, it aims to inspire discussion on the ethics of healthy food placement within the city. The article was originally published in print and online by The Hoya on November 2, 2018.

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2019, Journalistic Reporting

As DC Homelessness Persists, Restaurateur Raises Advocacy

ALEXANDRA BOWMAN

Mr. Kazi Mannan, an immigrant from Pakistan, gave away over 16,000 meals to the homeless and hungry last year. His restaurant, Sakina Grill, is located just a few blocks from the White House and looks like any other high-end Pakistani-Indian eatery. But Mannan he gives away meals to anyone who needs them, no questions asked.

This article details Mannan’s current work and future plans — describing the impact of his faith and family on his current work, how Mannan has helped create a community for the homeless, and the Georgetown University Center for Social Justice programs and initiatives that bring students closer to the D.C. housing crisis and prepare them to advocate for change.

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2019, Multimedia + Performance

Cranium

ALEXANDRA BOWMAN

“Cranium” portrays a human brain wired into microcontrollers and electrical equipment. This physical rendering of a defiled mind considers the potential consequences of the unabating integration of technology into every last element and corner of human existence.

I created this piece with aluminum, clay, wire, electrical equipment, and microcontrollers.

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