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Transcript: "Dr. Sandra Levison"

Dr. Sandra Levison, Dr. Matthew Levison

Dr. Sandra Levison: I'm Dr. Sandra Levison. I'm Professor of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. One of the first papers that I wrote was about sex and gender bias in textbooks of anatomy and physical diagnosis. In the study that we did, we examined over 4000 illustrations and we found that only 10 percent of the illustrations were of women. That means that 90 percent of the illustrations were of men and so the implication of that was that the male image is normal or the standard.

The pictures of women in textbooks were-- there were very few. They appeared mainly in the reproductive section. I think we were giving voice to many women who felt that they didn't have a voice in health care. If people don't have a voice at the table, someone has to speak for them. Having been in medicine for some time-- when I started out in medicine it was very much a male-dominated field. I rose professionally, but I was often the only woman in the room and that feeling of isolation is very difficult. I think minorities very much feel that. I can describe how they're there and not heard or there and not seen. One of my mentors was also my husband.

Dr. Matthew Levison: I encouraged her to stand up for being a woman in a previously male-dominated occupation.

Dr. Sandra Levison: He was the one who would say to me, "Don't let them talk to you that way. "Don't you understand what they're doing? "That's very unfair. "They would never talk to another man that way. "What are you going to do about it?"

Dr. Matthew Levison: Certain women's issues were not being taken care of properly, so I said, "Well, if there's a problem, you're going to have to solve it "instead of just talking about it. "Do something."

Dr. Sandra Levison: He was very much a motivational force in my going into woman's health.

Dr. Matthew Levison: She was able to solve these problems much better than I would have been able to do it.

Dr. Sandra Levison: I also think that because I was trained originally in kidney disease as a nephrologist, I was able to take this work and apply it to my own field. I think after 9/11 it became very apparent that we live in a global economy and what happens in other parts of the world impact on us. It became very clear with what the Taliban were doing in Afghanistan, how poorly women were treated there and about the impact of the lack of human rights on their health care. Well, also in this country many women go uninsured and I really think it's a responsibility of all physicians to begin to become involved in that arena.

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