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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Power, culture and HPV vaccine policymaking topic of December CHEPA seminar

06 Dec 2016

Gender, politics and health-care policy influence Ontario’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine policy in ways that will be noted in a Dec. 14 seminar titled The co-production of power and culture in Ontario HPV vaccine policymaking, to be presented by Michelle Wyndham-West.

Wyndham-West is an adjunct faculty member at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University, where she earned her PhD and completed a post-doctoral fellowship researching emerging medical technologies and health policy. She also teaches in the graduate Design for Health program at OCADU.

Wyndham-West is a medical anthropologist whose research draws upon social science approaches to risk, policy process theory, post-structuralism, science and technology studies and feminist praxis.

For her PhD dissertation, Wyndham-West explored, through an ethnography, Ontario women’s negotiations of gender and risk vis-à-vis HPV vaccine decision-making with three cohorts of women. In doing so she illuminated how women from heterogeneous perspectives -- mothers with daughters at the grade eight vaccination age, university-aged women and women in their 30s and 40s who had experienced pre-cancer cervical dysplasia -- navigate governance techniques associated with risk and gender, which are infused in HPV vaccine immunization program messaging. The research illuminates how, through ontological frames, women reached vaccination decisions they were comfortable with.

For her postdoctoral research Wyndham-West investigated emerging medical technology policymaking in Ontario and national stakeholder involvement in this policymaking process. This research examines the role of power and culture in policy decision-making, particularly when policymakers are faced with developing, inconsistent and conflicting evidence bases. It is within this ambiguous space that policymakers must make decisions and determine what counts as evidence and what does not.

She has published in international journals, such as Health, Risk & Society, and is preparing a book manuscript under the working title Making Gender: Big Pharma, the HPV Vaccine and Women’s Ontological Decision-Making for McGill Queen’s Press. 

The seminar will be held on Weds. Dec.  14 in CRL-B119, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.  All are welcome to attend.

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