Episode 22 – Eliminating Shame, Stigma & Sexism from Health Experiences: Medical Herstory

“Serving Humanity with Medicine”

– Leah Sarah Peer

On this episode of Peer Med, we welcome Medical Herstory, Tori Ford, Kainaz Gandhi & Ezy to speak about their award-winning youth-led not-for-profit organization, their activities and the importance of eliminating shame, stigma and sexism from health experiences. Committed to fighting for gender health equity, Medical Herstory though storytelling, medical education, and patient advocacy serves as a call to action for more compassionate and comprehensive medical care. Ever since writing publicly about her experiences, Tori removed the burden of shame she had been carrying and allowed herself greater healing. Soon she learnt she wasn’t the only one and ever since has inspired others’ stories which motivated her to launch this platform, movement and greater change for gender health equity!

Introducing Medical Herstory

Our bodies, Our voices, Our resilience

Medical Herstory is an award-winning, youth-led, international not-for-profit organization advancing gender health equity through storytelling, patient advocacy, medical education, and undoing stigma​.

Medical Herstory Portfolios

Meet the Guest Speakers!

Tori Ford is the founder and Executive Director of Medical Herstory, an international award-winning youth-led non-profit on a mission to eliminate sexism, shame, and stigma from health experiences. Tori is an outspoken sexual health advocate whose work has been featured by UNWomen, CBC, and CanWaCH. She holds a BA from McGill University in Gender Studies, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in Health, Medicine, and Society, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Primary Health Care at the University of Oxford. Her work on advancing gender health equity has been recognized by the McGill Scarlet Key Award and the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award. 

Kainaz Gandhi is the Director of Operations for Medical Herstory, in which capacity she has helped grow the organization to over 100 volunteers. She manages communications, human resources, logistics, and legal for the organization. Kainaz is a third year student at McGill, majoring in Anatomy and Cell Biology and minoring in Political Science. She is involved in Model UN as the current Chargee d’Affaires for McMUN 2022, and works part time as a Healthcare Assistant. Kainaz is very passionate about gender inequities and racial disparities, and the ways in which these intersect to impact healthcare experiences. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading, and growing her plant family.

Ezy is a second year student at Western University in the medical sciences program and the Director of Workshops at Medical Herstory! She’s in charge of overseeing the development of workshops across all of their 3 portfolios, that cover topics such as gender bias in medicine, patient advocacy and the struggles patients face in healthcare, and effective storytelling to reclaim your narrative. She’s only been on the team for about 5 months now, and this is definitely one of the most empowering projects she’s ever been apart of. As a science student, it’s so important to be aware of the inequities in healthcare so we can be the best practitioners in any career we pursue within the realm.

Read Tori’s Story!

“Too often we are discouraged from discussing the taboos surrounding our bodies; the parts of us that are messy, leaky, and in pain. These topics are thought to be reserved for closeted discussions between patients and doctors. Medical Herstory seeks to make such stories public by empowering women and femmes to speak shamelessly about their bodies and health outside of the doctors’ office.

Despite popular beliefs that medicine is value-neutral and objective, gender bias infiltrate medical care and harm women and femmes. Although women are 2x more likely to suffer from chronic pain than men, their pain is more likely to be dismissed due to stereotypes that women are overly dramatic, emotional, or hysterical. These injustices are further exacerbated for low-income, disabled, trans, and racialized women and non-binary femmes. As a result, many women and girls struggle in silence with medical conditions due to being ignored or shamed. These presumptions have dangerous consequences, from lost hope and lost access to lost lives.”

– Tori Ford

For More from Medical Herstory or to register your interest to volunteer check out their website.

Published by peermedfoundation

The Peer Med Foundation strives to advocate for marginalized, and vulnerable patient populations. We aim to provide healthcare resources as well as information that is culturally-sensitive, anti-oppressive, and multilingually available to patients in order to address healthcare disparities.

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