Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

In the current era of debate about health-care costs, last week’s Newsmix item on kidney transplants sounded an alarm here at WVFC. One reader, Rita Prangle, asked the question on many minds:

The study authors’ belief that doctors consider women frailer than their male counterparts doesn’t make sense. We’re all aware that women live longer than men. I wonder if there isn’t another reason, that women, especially older women, just aren’t valued in our culture. The cultural perception seems to be that women over 55 wouldn’t have much to live for anyway. Am I paranoid?
We at Women’s Voices for Change exist to explore this misconception about the value of women over 40 (which does include women over 55).  We write in response to news like the piece that drew your attention:  the reason that older women may be considered too frail for kidney transplants or other medical treatments.

We are grateful for your comments and interest in the subject of how women are described in the media and how health care decisions are made based on outdated concepts of our demographic.  We must be vigilant in this time of diminishing financial support for health care in general, combined with the unimaginable need to provide access to health care for the millions of uninsured with dwindling dollars at the same time.  We are now using limited financial  resources to treat SICK BANKS instead of SICK PEOPLE. Our current administration came into office with a mandate to provide health coverage to many more people, now with much less money.

If women are not part of the conversation, the public dialogue, and are not actively involved in monitoring the decisions made at state and federal levels concerning who and what will be covered by some sort of insurance program, we could find ourselves triaged out of important services and care.  Our voices and our votes must be heard and must be valued.

— Patricia Yarberry Allen

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  • Larysa Bemko March 6, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Hi Dr. Pat,
    I love the website – it’s filled with so much information and has interesting articles. I have a question about your thoughts on the best way is to prepare for a doctor’s visit. Going to the doctor is a pretty stressful – how do I get the most out of my visit? Are there 5 or 10 key things I should be asking and/or sharing with the doctor?
    Thanks in advance,

  • [email protected] February 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Cultural perceptions are a huge issue for women. I publish, an internet magazine for women over 50, and one of our goals is to work on changing those negative perceptions.