Reading Response 3-Barclay

Eliza Barclay’s article How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart captures the essence of uncertainty during this time. The article describes the necessary actions needed to be taken by citizens to “flatten the curve” but ultimately only leaves the reader confused about their role during this time. The contradiction during this time is paramount and is obviously captured in Barclay’s article. Experts’ opinions about the future of the coronavirus in the United States are littered throughout the article in an effort to gain the public’s attention and persuade them to take the necessary precautions against the virus; however, no one truly knows the outcome of this virus.

Throughout this time we see such a contradiction between abundance and scarcity as well as isolation and unity. The article shows the abundance of media representation and the overwhelming possibility of thousands of deaths. On the other hand, we see that the virus has led to the scarcity of medical supplies, hand sanitizer, ventilators, accurate test kits, and even toilet paper. During this uncertain time, people want to flock to their support groups to find comfort yet we are advised to distance ourselves. Terms such as “self-isolation” and “self-quarantining” only emphasize the feeling of loneliness. The media offers further confusion by insisting to the public that “together is the only way we will survive this,” yet many people are finding themselves alone for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, there is no correct way to navigate this time but the most responsible thing to do is to listen to the experts and to stay home, stay educated, and find ways to stay engaged with others while keeping your social distance.


Barclay, Eliza, and Dylan Scott. “How Canceled Events and Self-Quarantines Save Lives, in One Chart.” Vox, Vox, 10 Mar. 2020,

Reading Response 2- NY Times/Structural Competency

Katie Pelay

Reading Response #2


For the second reading response, I am choosing to write about the New York Times article titled “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis” by Linda Villarosa. The article serves to show the unequal distribution of maternal and infant mortality of African-Americans in the United States. Villarosa uses the experiences of Simone Landrum as a case study within the article to personify the statistics that she includes. By including both statistics (facts/figures) and personal narrative, Villarosa gives credit to Simone Landrum and others’ similar experiences of being pregnant and black in America. Too often, black mothers’ pain is not believed leading to higher cases of maternal mortality. By using data gathered by experts, Villarosa is acknowledge and giving value to the experiences of these mothers. Vice versa, the personal narrative of Simone Landrum and her two complication-ridden pregnancies provide context for what the statistics represent in daily life.

Villarosa’s article is a call to action to improve the outcomes of Black women in America. In order to accomplish this, an approach that utilizes Metzl and Hansen’s structural competency is essential. They define structural competency as going beyond the previous cultural competency approach that reduced stigma in health care. The central belief of structural competency “is that inequalities in health are related to institutions and social conditions” (Metzl and Hansen 127). Structural competency urges health care professional to consider race, class, gender, and ethnicity as factors that reduce health outcomes. Metzl and Hansen focus on the need to go beyond cultural competency and introduce structural competency into health care. Villarosa exemplifies this by using personal narrative as a cultural approach to illustrate the stigmas present in her experiences. To booster her argument, she uses facts and figures as a structural approach to show readers that experiences like Simone Landrum’s are all too common and a result of inadequate infrastructure.



Villarosa, Linda. “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2018,

Metzl, Johnathan M, and Helena Hansen. “Structural Competency: Theorizing a New Medical Engagement with Stigma and Inequality.” Social Science & Medicine , vol. 103, pp. 126–133., doi:


On Being A Cripple

Katie Pelay

Glass Grant


26 January 2020


For my first reading response, I am choosing to respond to the Nancy Mairs reading entitled On Being a Cripple. This particular reading stood out to me because of the honest tone that the author takes when describing her journey with Multiple Sclerosis. She begins the essay with a story, revealing an incident that pushed her to write about her experience as a “cripple.” It is interesting to note that she does not reveal her diagnosis until further along in her essay. I take this to mean that she does not put much importance on her diagnosis, rather taking her life into her own hands and living one day at a time. She is persistently optimistic but is not shy to discuss the realities about her disease.

The passage that struck me most was when she recalls a time where she fell in the parking lot during an outing with her friend. In this passage, I find that the complexity of illness shines bright. She recalls the incident in a humorous tone but also understands the dangers that her illness brings to her life. To me, the passage reveals how the disease can abruptly show itself with no signs—interrupting her life just as she interrupted her friend.  Overall, this essay reveals the complexity of illness with its highs and lows in a refreshingly candid nature.