Department of the History of Medicine, Medical School
MnDRIVE Area: Brain Conditions
MnDRIVE Human in the Data Fellow, Summer 2021
CTE and Historically Informed Care: Advocating for Equity in Trauma-Related Brain Disease Research
My work focuses on the history of 20th-century traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and how our received frameworks of biomedical research, treatment, and diagnosis contribute to widespread health inequities in the present regarding patients suffering from suspected TBI-related disease. Through the support of the Human in the Data fellowship, I will spend the summer investigating the web of relationships regarding data sets produced by medical and research institutions, the healthcare providers that rely on that data, and patients that require a diagnosis through a clinical encounter to access necessary healthcare resources and information. Historically, diseases like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES) are most commonly researched and treated in hyper-masculine, athletic, and often racialized spaces. Too great an emphasis on these spaces and populations has resulted in a regime of medical knowledge production that overlooks crucial socio-historical factors necessary for furthering our ability to understand, treat, and prevent TBI-linked diseases. Understanding how and why medical data, information, and knowledge is produced is critical for creating care paradigms that seek to address existing health inequities in the present while also developing a framework that supports marginalized groups moving forward.