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Wilson, Yolonda, et al.. Intersectionality in Clinical Medicine: The Need for a Conceptual Framework
2019, The American Journal of Bioethics. 19(2): 8–19.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner
Abstract: Intersectionality has become a significant intellectual approach for those thinking about the ways that race, gender, and other social identities converge in order to create unique forms of oppression. Although the initial work on intersectionality addressed the unique position of black women relative to both black men and white women, the concept has since been expanded to address a range of social identities. Here we consider how to apply some of the theoretical tools provided by intersectionality to the clinical context. We begin with a brief discussion of intersectionality and how it might be useful in a clinical context. We then discuss two clinical scenarios that highlight how we think considering intersectionality could lead to more successful patient–clinician interactions. Finally, we extrapolate general strategies for applying intersectionality to the clinical context before considering objections and replies.

Comment: Wilson et al. argue that intersectionality is an important concept in clinical practice. They clarify the concept and distinguish their call for intersectionality from nearby claims. For instance, they argue that intersectionality goes beyond mere cultural competence that healthcare providers are already trained in, at least to some degree. Their paper is anchored around two fictionalized case studies, which they use to make vivid and explain their central claims. They end by responding to objections, including the very idea of intersectionality itself.

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