10 women in health to follow on Twitter
These 10 women are doing awesome work in healthcare and related fields, from educating the public to helping change our healthcare systems for the better. Plus, each of them has a thoughtful presence on Twitter! In this post, we’ve highlighted just a few of the many ways that they inspire us.
An associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, Dr. Choo is a staunch advocate for race and gender equality in medicine, creating the twitter hashtag #thatsbias, which encourages women in medicine to speak about the sexism they face at work. She’s also rallied the online medical community by starting the #DoctorsSpeakOut campaign, encouraging physicians to speak out first about efforts to repeal the ACA, and later, to advocate for gun sense laws. This year, she co-founded Equity Quotient, which helps healthcare organizations create equitable work environments.
As co-chair of the the largest private foundation in the United States, Melinda Gates has overseen over $46 billion in grants since 2000. Much of that has gone towards the Gates Foundation’s numerous global health initiatives, ranging from promoting new vaccination technologies to working to eliminate malaria. Gates has also been a crucial voice in pushing the foundation to invest more heavily in increasing access to family planning to empower women and girls – she’s called contraceptives “one of the greatest antipoverty innovations the world has ever seen.”
Dr. Gunter’s blog and Twitter feed will make you cry laughing, and then make you think. She’s become renowned for challenging people who make shady claims about health, ranging from detox smoothies to steaming your vagina. (Seriously.) At her day job, she’s a practicing physician at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. She has dual board certification in OBGYN and pain medicine, and specializes in helping women with chronic pelvic pain. She also writes regularly for the New York Times and is the author of the upcoming Vagina and Vulva Bible.
Dr. Herbenick has a PhD in human sexuality and has conducted over 10 national surveys about people’s sexual behaviors and experiences. Outside of her work as a professor at the University of Indiana, she’s passionate about educating the public about sexuality, and dispensing no-nonsense advice to help folks get the information they need to have pleasurable, healthy sex – including once appearing on the Tyra Banks show with a vulva puppet in tow! She’s published over 100 scientific research articles, as well as five books for a general audience.
Nina Martin has written about women and health for over 30 years, and currently covers sex and gender issues for ProPublica. Starting in 2017, she and her team spent almost two years gathering the stories of thousands of women who had died or nearly died in childbirth to shine a light on the United States’ horrific rates of maternal death. Subsequent pieces in their renowned “Lost Mothers” series have focused on how maternal healthcare can be improved to prevent future women from suffering.
A physician by training, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey went on to spend fifteen years as the President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – the first woman and the first African-American to serve in the role. Under her leadership, the foundation began an ambitious $1 billion effort to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, and made over $20 million in grants to fund outreach to help people enroll in ACA Marketplace coverage. Earlier this year, she joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as a professor of population health and health equity.
Dr. Nestle holds degrees in molecular biology and public health, and has spent over 30 years studying how our choices about what to eat are influenced by biased food industry marketing. She founded the first food studies program in the country at NYU, where she was a nutrition professor until her retirement in 2017. She’s also written seven books about food politics (including two on pet food!) and her latest, Unsavory Truth, dives into how food companies spend millions of dollars to manipulate nutrition research. Important to note: she’s not related to the Nestlé food company!
Dr. Smith is an expert on infectious diseases and an epidemiology professor at Kent State University, where she studies how antibiotic-resistant diseases move between humans and animals. She’s blogged about science for more than ten years, and writes a regular column for SELF.com to educate the public about everything from food poisoning to why it’s important to get your flu shot. She’s also on the advisory board of the Zombie Research Society. (Yes, that’s a real thing, and it’s awesome.)
Natalie Weaver’s efforts to protect access to health care and fight discrimination against folks with disabilities are deeply personal. Her 10-year-old daughter, Sophia, was born with multiple disabilities that require intensive medical care, and facial deformities that have attracted cruel discrimination. Weaver has been a strong voice in the fight to preserve the ACA and Medicaid, and founded Sophia’s Voice, a nonprofit which provides financial and other support to people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Filling Cecile Richards’ shoes as the president of Planned Parenthood is no small task, but Dr. Leana Wen has made a great start. An emergency room physician by training (and the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in over 50 years) Dr. Wen previously worked as the health commissioner for Baltimore City. During her tenure, she successfully sued the federal government to restore funds for teen pregnancy prevention programs. She’s been outspoken about her experiences growing up as an immigrant and how discrimination and lack of access to quality healthcare in her community led to preventable deaths. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do with her new platform!