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By: Samantha Metlitz

Period, menstruation, time of the month, crimson tide, whatever you call it, most of us know something about periods and fifty percent of the world’s population have firsthand experience with it. Women get it once a month for the majority of their lives, yet all around the world periods are a taboo subject. People become uncomfortable talking about periods and women feel the need to hide when they get theirs like it’s something embarrassing and shameful to have. While in high school, I would try to hide tampons and pads in pockets or sleeves or bring my whole backpack to the bathroom. I felt the need to hide the fact that I was on my period as if it was shameful in some way. In other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and menstrual hygiene causes bigger issues. In some places, women are isolated during their periods or are forced to leave schools because of lack of proper sanitation and access to sanitary products. According to a World Bank blog post, girls in Sub-Saharan Africa miss 20% of a school year because of menstruation (Lusk-Stover, 2016). Lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products, water, and sanitation is a major issue for women. A study on this issue found that menstrual hygiene in refugee camps was not being properly addressed because the emergency response workers were uncomfortably about the subject, causing them not to properly address the issue (Schmitt et al., 2017). Menstrual hygiene and menstruation need to become normalized so that they’re no longer taboo.

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By: Sophie Mazur

Likely, you have all heard of malaria and its association to high mortality rates. However, most people have not heard of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) although it is the second most prevalent cause of death during infancy (RSViNetwork, n.d.). Unlike malaria, there is no effective treatment for RSV. Similar to many global health problems, the likelihood of serious disease and death due to this virus is compounded due to poverty, lack of access to proper treatment and care, and lack of awareness. As this virus continues to infect children globally at an alarming rate, we must direct attention towards educating families and health practitioners to identify the infection. As well as, prioritize efforts to cerate an effective and affordable vaccine and treatment.

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By: Stephanie Martinez

Last summer I travelled to Europe for the first time and spent my time in Italy. I had created an image of a beautiful, seemingly perfect country in my mind because of stories heard through friends, or as seen on movies and television. Indeed, the landscape and the architecture surpassed my expectations, but the many migrants I saw begging or sleeping under crippling buildings took me by surprise. I had heard about the growing humanitarian crisis in Europe but seeing it firsthand helped me understand the concerns as highlighted in the news. I have visited Developing countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in the past but had not encountered these same circumstances there. It was alarming to see how much more attention was given to ancient monuments and not the present existence of migrants who were suffering. I stayed in a quiet street outside of downtown Rome and only ten minutes away, there were migrants living in what can only be described as slums. At night, tents or cardboard materials were used as beds just outside the train station.

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By Antonella Marcon

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stuck an unwrapped piece of candy in his mouth during his speech. He was addressing overseas foreign workers from Kuwait who were able to return home to the Philippines, a luxury only afforded to them after Duterte called for a halt on OFWs to Kuwait after a string of abuse cases and murders. However, sticking unwrapped candy in his mouth was not a blunder. He was trying to illustrate what it was like to use a condom.

At 1:41 in this video, Duterte says that women should opt for other methods of birth control so as not to limit their sexual abilities. While these actions are unsurprising from the candid Philippine president, they are unsettling when understanding the context of his mocking of condom use.

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By: Fatima Maiga

Before college, I had never been treated by a white physician. I was delivered by a Hispanic OBGYN, my pediatrician was Black, my current primary care physician is Black and my OBGYN is Black. All of my bases had been covered, but I never really thought why, until I studied the history of the intersection between medicine and African Americans. If you have ever studied the record of racism in America, you most likely know about segregated hospitals and doctor’s offices; however, history books do not always chronicle Mississippi Appendectomies, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study or Henrietta Lacks.

The Mississippi Appendectomy was a term used to categorize the involuntary sterilizations of women of color during the 1920s and 30s. These procedures were performed without informed consent, and/or through coercion: some of the women who signed agreements could not read or write and others were threatened that their social insurance would be revoked if they did not participate. While white women, especially those within the upper and middle classes, were denied or delayed voluntary sterilization, Black and poor women were forced into it.

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By: Julian Libin

Back in 2013 there was a motion in the Australia High Court on whether isolated parts of the human gene sequence were patentable. In 2014 the motion went through as ruling that they were. The implications of this allow snippets of the unmodified human genome to be priced and traded through a myriad of private entities such as different hedge funds, insurance, or sovereign wealth funds. There has been significant backlash regarding this new law, both before and after it was passed. Many voices exclaim the dangers that come along with patenting genetic code. It can slow or even prevent important research concerning anything related to the human body and its inputs or outputs. One real life example would be the patenting of BRCA1, a gene which if mutated is associated with inherited ovarian and breast cancer. Cancer Voices Australia was outraged, but their cries went unheard. This is now an area of cancer research with sticky red tape.

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By: Pei-Hsuan Li

Kari Whitehead started to gradually notice something different about her daughter, Emily. Not long after seeing purple bruises on her legs, bleeding gums, bloody noses, and severe leg pains, Emily was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) on May 28, 2010 when she was only five years old.

Emily received the standard treatment for ALL but relapsed after 16 months. Fortunately for the Whitehead’s, news appeared of a new and innovative drug called Kymriah. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the opening of the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell trial early. Emily became Patient 1 of the Phase 1 trial. Now she is 12 years old, and she has remained in complete remission since her seventh birthday. Last year, oFollowing Kymriah, on October 18, 2017, Yescarta, a treatment for adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma developed by Kite Pharma, was approved as the second FDA-approved gene therapy. Price listed: $373,000.

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