Mona Saleh, MD.
Resident in Obstetrics & Gynecology at NYU Langone

“Female Genital Mutilation:
An Analysis of Culture, Literature, and Bioethics.”

Tell us about your Rudin experience
My Rudin experience revolved around the representation of female genital mutilation (FGM) in literature as well as in bioethics. I garnered so much knowledge about this topic, which is very relevant to my field in obstetrics/gynecology, through my Rudin fellowship. I was able to read about various global representations of FGM as well as investigate what physicians, as providers of ethical care, believe regarding FGM. I found that there was not a lot of information regarding FGM in bioethical literature, which allowed me to fill in a gap by writing a manuscript regarding FGM. It was published by the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry this past year.

Who was your mentor?
Dr. Veronica Ades, MD, MPH. She is faculty in the department of obstetrics/gynecology.

What was the research experience like?
This was a new type of research experience for me, given that my prior research on FGM was strictly clinical. The humanistic research experience absolutely gave me a new perspective on this issue and taught me how to better discuss this issue with patients who are affected by it.

How did the Fellowship impact your role as a physician and a writer? 
I have always been a writer, having been an English major in college. In medical school, I had to move away from writing, mostly because of the demands of the education. The Rudin fellowship was an excellent opportunity for me to critically read and write in a way I had not done since college. It definitely grew me as a physician as well as a researcher. 

What publications and professional invitations came out of it? 
I was able to give two oral presentations at the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities annual meeting in October 2018 in Kansas City, MO; one presentation was a summary of the representation of FGM in literature, and the other was an analysis of a specific bioethical situation related to FGM. I also published a manuscript in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry entitled: “On female genital cutting: factors to consider when confronted with a request tore-infibulate.” [Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 15(4), 549-555].

What are you working on currently?
I am currently a second year resident in Obstetrics & Gynecology at NYU.
I am focusing on research related to how race affects presentation and outcomes in patients with endometrial cancer. I intend to also work on a project analyzing if there is a correlation between female genital mutilation and domestic violence in survivors.

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