Pritzker M1s Speak Out in Published Op-Eds

First-Year students at the Pritzker School of Medicine are once again making their voices heard as advocates in a new series of op-eds published locally and nationally, covering a range of issues including gender equity, reproductive rights, and child care. 

The strong showing of op-eds comes after the first-year course American Healthcare System, led by Dr. V. Ram Krishnamoorthi and Dr. Greg W. Ruhnke, offered an op-ed workshop and the opportunity to submit an op-ed as the final written assignment in the course. Dr. Shikha Jain from the University of Illinois at Chicago led the workshop, which was first introduced in 2022, and students worked with Krishnamoorthi and others to polish their pieces before submitting them for publication.

A pair of op-eds written by Shreya Sridhara and Taytum Kahl brought attention to gender equity, which is also the focus of an ongoing lecture series from the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Sridhara's op-ed titled "Protecting reproductive rights: the importance of abortion training for medical trainees" ran on in January and highlighted a critical medical education issue in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Dobbs V. Jackson Women's Health case in last year. 

"All medical schools must teach their students about essential health care, and training in abortion, especially now, is certainly essential," Sridhara wrote, advocating for the protection of abortion education in medical school and residency training. 

Kahl's op-ed titled "Menstruation Is an Afterthought in Research. Here’s Why That Needs To Change" ran in Ms. Magazine and focused on the need for clinical trials research to be more of inclusive of menstruation in order to better understand the impact new treatments may have on the health of people who menstruate.

"It’s time to stop viewing female bodies, including the menstrual cycle, as an inconvenience, a confounding variable and a problem in clinical research," Kahl wrote.

In The Chicago Tribune, Lahari Vuppaladhadiam advocated for reform to child care in the U.S. in the context of hospitals being overwhelmed this winter by cases of RSV, COVID-19, and the flu. Her piece, titled "'Tripledemic' reveals a broken child care system," makes a case for action at the state and federal levels, including the restoration of federally funded child care.

"We need to address this public health concern by restoring accessible child care in the United States and, in the meantime, by investing more time, money and resources to support parents and guardians," Vuppaladhadiam wrote.

Also on, Nitin Vidhyasagar penned a piece titled "Pediatric mental health is a growing epidemic. Here’s how Illinois is leading the way to solve that." The piece described the ongoing youth mental health crisis and offered solutions to increase support for young people battling mental health challenges while also highlighting what Illinois is already doing.

"It’s time we urge our legislators to push for more support for pediatric mental health," Vidhyasagar wrote. "We can serve as a beacon of hope for pediatric mental health. Shirking this responsibility would be harmful."

Finally, this week brought the publication of the Winter 2023 issue of the Pritzker Health Policy Review, in which nine M1s published op-eds: