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Talk will examine why society continues to stigmatise certain people

Professor Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead of University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) has made stigma the focal point of her academic research, and, in a talk on Wednesday, April 19 at 1pm, entitled From Leprosy to Ebola: The Impact of Stigma in Medicine, Health and Social Care, she will explore the ways in which stigma affects the outcome and delivery of health services.

Professor Mason-Whiteheads says: “For all of us, as members of humankind, stigma is ever present. Stigma remains one of the most distressing experiences to endure and one of the most challenging behaviours to overcome. Within the disciplines of medicine and health, leprosy has become a condition associated with shame and enforced isolation. Curiously, leprosy is not a particularly infectious disease, yet it remains one of the most stigmatising world diseases, as myths and acts of discrimination have created an image and identity greater than the disease itself. Similarly, Ebola has become a modern-day ‘bogeyman’ disease, despite the fact that contact with the bodily fluids of patients is necessary for infection.”

Professor Mason-Whitehead will examine how, despite our increasing knowledge, we have made limited progress in containing negative public reaction. Overcoming stigma can appear to be an impossible mountain to climb, yet, Professor Mason-Whitehead will argue, any progress will be worth the effort, as stigma disproportionately affects those people in society with the quietest voice and greatest vulnerability.

UCS’s parent body, the University of Chester, is a communications partner for The Leprosy Mission.

The talk will take place in room SGH026 at the main UCS teaching centre, Guildhall, at Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ. The talk is open to all and is free, but booking is essential. To book a place, email [email protected] or call 01743 297554.

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