The inspiration for this essay came from my own experiences as a patient as well as my observations made while volunteering in the emergency department of a hospital. I noticed that physicians seemed to be more skeptical of the symptoms female patients reported than those that male patients reported. I wondered how this apparent gender bias affected the tests and treatments physicians administered. Cardiovascular disease proved to be the best illness with which to expound upon my ideas because it is so closely associated with men despite being the leading cause of death in women. Through careful, balanced analysis of statistics surrounding cardiovascular disease as well as the personal stories of female patients with the disease, I was able to explore what it means to be a woman navigating the healthcare system.

MEGHAN ROBBINS is a rising junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, studying human physiology. She is from a suburb just outside of Boston and hopes to become a physician to be able to give back to the community. She would like to thank her high school English teachers for encouraging her to continue to write regardless of her field of study. She would also like to thank Professor Sarah Madsen Hardy and her friends for their support and guidance during the writing process.