Duke students, Priya Meesa and Sibani Ram create a public journal on identity and health.

Duke Medical Ethics Journal (DMEJ) was created in 2019.

Duke students, Priya Meesa and Sibani Ram, create a public journal about Health and Identity.

The Duke Medical Ethics Journal (DMEJ) was created in 2019 by a team of students who recognized the importance, and lack, of ethics education in their pre-medical undergraduate curriculum.  When asking Sibani Ram (DMEJ co-president), Ram says “DMEJ’s goal is to change that by sparking conversation on Duke’s campus and beyond so that we might move past the notion that medicine as a field is a black and white science.”

Every semester since the DMEJ was started in Fall 2019,  an issue of articles have been (with graphics!) and blogs that focus on medical ethics issues tied to a specific theme.  Past themes have included Patient Power, Challenges of the COVID-19 Crisis: Complications, Containment Concerns, and Health & Identity: Who We Are and the Care We Receive.

The Spring 2021 issue tackles the topic of Health and Identity. “We are all a product of our culture and our values,” write DMEJ Spring 2021 co-presidents Priya Meesa and Sibani Ram. “Healthcare at its deepest level is not just about the biomedical model but it’s also about care, care for the culture and values that permeate the lives of its practitioners and patients.” In this issue, you will find pieces touching on a variety of topics related to identity in healthcare, ranging from narrative medicine to supporting children with disabilities.

“By highlighting stories of marginalized identities and considering how identity influences health, the journal hopes to advance this empathic model of care and improve outcomes for all.”, says Priya Meesa, DMEJ co-president.

“Despite all the uniquely challenging and unforgiving times of the COVID-19 pandemic, DMEJ has been the most rewarding part of my college experience as I am so deeply convinced that medical ethics has a transformative power — power to transform ourselves and the power to transform the structures through which we experience healthcare,” said Sibani Ram, co-President of DMEJ.

As the movement for social justice and health equality is increasing, it is especially important to evaluate how identity directly influences health. To truly care for those around us, we must take the time to examine how background determinants and characteristics influence healthcare.

For more information of Sibani Ram, she’s a premed student and rising junior majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology with minors in English and Chemistry. Outside of classes, Sibani is a health/science staff writer for the Chronicle, do anatomy research with the animal locomotion lab, and is a part of the Kenan Institute of Ethics Living Learning Community.  And DMEJ, of course.

For information about Priya Meesa, she’s a rising junior majoring in bio & Global Health.  Outside of DMEJ, she’s involved with Bass connections research on cervical cancer prevention and partners in Health engage.

To learn more about DMEJ, read edition of the journal, or join the organization, visit: dukemedicalethicsjournal.com


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