June 29, 2022

Subramanian Published in Washington Post Magazine

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Studies Sushma Subramanian penned an article, She Pioneered the Sale of Breastmilk, Then Lost Everything: What the rise and fall of entrepreneur Elena Medo reveal about how we value women’s labor, which ran on May 13 in the Washington Post Magazine. 

About a week before Christmas in 2014, Elena Medo received the opening salvo against her latest breast milk company. She was at her new office in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, when she got a cease-and-desist letter. Prolacta Bioscience, the breast milk product company she founded in 1999 and then parted ways with in 2009, was instructing her new company, Medolac, to stop using its trade secrets.

Medo, then 61, was used to dealing with adversity. As the veritable founding mother of the breast milk industry, she had spent her life charting a controversial path to selling breast milk to hospitals. Medo had been accused of exploiting women to make money and of creating inequalities that hurt babies from poor families. But the products that she’d sold have also been credited with improving the outcomes for tens of thousands of premature babies in hospital neonatal intensive care units. Read more.

Sushma Subramanian Speaks About Book and Article on Podcasts

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Studies Sushma Subramanian has appeared on several podcasts to talk about her book How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch and her article, “Who Gets the Child?,” which ran in The Washington Post.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/who-gets-the-child-with-author-sushma-subramanian/id1541360422?i=1000555549830

Subramanian Article Published in Washington Post Magazine

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian penned an article for Washington Post Magazine entitled, “States are increasingly considering equal shared parenting in custody cases. This young Kentucky couple serve as a test case.”

Judge Brent Hall had some stern words of advice for the young couple seated before him at Hopkins County Family Court in Madisonville, Ky. Jordan Pyles and Ashlyn Harrell had come to make some small adjustments to a temporary custody arrangement for their 4-year-old daughter, but on this March afternoon in 2018 what preoccupied them was their upcoming trial in June. Pyles, a 25-year-old project manager at a steel manufacturing company, and Harrell, a 22-year-old full-time mom, were both hoping to win sole custody.

“I care about your child because I care about kids,” Hall said of the trial, which he would also be presiding over, “but I’m going in blind, and you are going to have a very limited period of time to tell me and try to get something to click in my mind that makes me see things your way. . . . And I’m probably not going to see it your way, either one of your ways.” Read more.

Subramanian Publishes Story in Truly Adventurous

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian wrote an article for Truly Adventurous entitled, “Queens of Kasekela.” The piece follows the life journey of Gremlin, a chimp Jane Goodall originally observed, as she rises to power in her Gombe National Park community, and is an experiment in nonfiction storytelling using animals as main characters. View on Medium.com.

Subramanian Pens New York Times Article on Psychologists Helping with Chronic Pain

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article in The New York Times entitled, “How Psychologists Can Help Treat Chronic Pain.”

Over the past two decades, as the opioid crisis has shaken the public’s view of painkillers and pharmaceutical companies have come under fire for their marketing practices, many patients are looking for alternatives. One of the leading contenders has become treating pain with talk therapy.

Psychologists, therapists and social workers have quietly become a crucial part of pain treatment programs, proving to be as effective or more so than medication. In 2018, the medical journal The Lancet went so far as to recommend education and psychological treatment as first-line interventions for chronic low back pain, before pharmacological treatment.

A spokesman for the American Psychological Association said they have only recently started tracking pain psychology and in 2021 found that nearly 40 percent of its members report their patients frequently have chronic pain. The organization is currently drafting guidelines for chronic pain treatment, a sign, according to Lynn Bufka, a Maryland psychologist and a senior director at the A.P.A., that it’s an important and growing field with science-based solutions. Read more.

Why some people are touchy-feely, while others hate it (lifestyle.livemint.com)

MARY TALKS: “How to Feel: the Science and Meaning of Touch”

Join us ONLINE for the first Mary Talk of the 2021-22 academic year!

In these times of the internet and digital communication, some say we are out of touch. Many people fear that we are trapped inside our screens, becoming less in tune with our bodies and losing our connection to the physical world. But the sense of touch has been undervalued since long before the days of digital isolation.

Because of deeply rooted beliefs that favor the cerebral over the corporeal, touch is maligned as dirty or sentimental, in contrast with other forms of communication and perception. In this Mary Talk, journalism professor Sushma Subramanian will explore the scientific, physical, emotional, and cultural aspects of touch, reconnecting us to what is arguably our most important sense.

Wednesday, September 8
7:30-9:00 p.m. (EDT)
Online (via Zoom)

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Register now.

Subramanian Pens Article on Being “Touchy-Feely”

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article entitled “Why some people are touchy-feeling, while others hate it” that ran on LiveMint.com. Subramanian recently published a book, How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch. 

I start at a place that’s highly personal for me: my fear of touching other people.

At the beginning of ‘Western Massage 1’, my teacher, Al Turner, a wiry man with glittering eyes who used to be a professional dancer, asks us to line up. He bends his knees, sinks his weight into his heels and sashays from side to side, a movement he calls “horse dance” and asks us to follow along. This is the kind of large, sweeping motion we’ll use when we’re giving a massage, he says. It gets us to engage our whole bodies, including the strong muscles of our legs and our core, so we make fluid strokes and protect the smaller, more fragile bones in our fingers when we’re massaging. Read more. 

MARY TALKS with Sushma Subramanian: “How to Feel: the Science and Meaning of Touch”

Join us ONLINE for the first Mary Talk of the 2021-22 academic year!

In these times of the internet and digital communication, some say we are out of touch. Many people fear that we are trapped inside our screens, becoming less in tune with our bodies and losing our connection to the physical world. But the sense of touch has been undervalued since long before the days of digital isolation.

Because of deeply rooted beliefs that favor the cerebral over the corporeal, touch is maligned as dirty or sentimental, in contrast with other forms of communication and perception. In this Mary Talk, journalism professor Sushma Subramanian will explore the scientific, physical, emotional, and cultural aspects of touch, reconnecting us to what is arguably our most important sense.

Wednesday, September 8
7:30-9:00 p.m. (EDT)
Online (via Zoom)

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Register Now.

Subramanian Pens Article About Extreme Heat in Inner Cities

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article in The Guardian entitled, “U.S. cities are suffocating in the heat. Now they want retribution.”

For years, an elderly man stood as a regular fixture around his East Baltimore neighborhood for the way he would wander the streets in the summer, trying to stay outside his sweltering home until nightfall.

This man, who suffers from dementia, lived in a row house that shared side walls with its neighboring homes. With windows only in the front and back, there was little air flow, which trapped the heat inside. It’s not unusual for the upper floors in such homes to be several degrees hotter than the temperature outdoors.

During a nearly two-week heat wave that swept through the city in July 2019, Cynthia Brooks, executive director of the Bea Gaddy Family Center, a local non-profit that provides food and other services for the poor and homeless, noticed she hadn’t seen the man for a while. Finally, on one of the “code red” days – when the forecasted heat index is expected to be at 105F (40.56C) or higher – he stumbled out of his house, looking disoriented. No one knows how long he had been sitting inside, alone, without a fan or air conditioning.

This man had no one to call – no family was around, and alerting emergency responders could have led to a hefty medical bill. Brooks dropped everything and took him to nearby Johns Hopkins hospital, where he was diagnosed with heatstroke and given treatment. After that incident, Brooks became his legal custodian. He currently lives in a senior home nearby, and she makes his treatment decisions.

This man represents the population in Baltimore most likely to face the personal impacts of the climate crisis. Around the country, global heating is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of summer heat waves. The recent triple-digit temperatures across the Pacific north-west, where air conditioning in homes isn’t common, highlight the real-world hardships caused by extreme heat exposure and how the elderly and homeless suffer disproportionately from physical discomfort and worse health outcomes. Read more.