I blog to improve the quality of content on the Internet.

When my children were born extremely prematurely I was deposited squarely on the other side of the stethoscope. As I began to research my children’s medical conditions I was appalled at a lot of the content I read on-line. Information twisted and distorted by bias (the reporter’s bias, the blogger’s bias, or even the investigator’s bias). The influence of Big Pharma and advocacy groups (some who have an agenda that may not be entirely aligned with their purported mission). The fact that a lot was just out of date (if the New York Times reports on a fascinating study in 2003 and then that study is later disproven in 2010, no one at the Times is removing or retracting that old content, it’s archived and will eternally show up somewhere in a search). And that’s just for starters.

But I had an advantage. As a doctor I could dismiss a lot of bad content immediately. But given my slightly obsessive research tendencies and my ability to remember pretty much everything I read, I found I could sort through the information quagmire and come up with the best evidenced based medicine.

And then I wondered, how does everyone else do it? What if you don’t know about bias, or how to track down a research paper never mind decide if it has any merit?

And that’s when I decided to write my first book, The Preemie Primer, to give parents the repository of information that I used to help my children thrive. And because publishers only allow you so many pages, I decided to add additional content and do my bit to build a better medical Internet.

Along the way I found myself wanting to blog about more than prematurity, so I started this blog. Because women’s health is important to me.

Because I know from experience that you can only be empowered if you are informed.

And evidence based medicine is the best way to be informed.

I blog to build a better medical Internet.


25 thoughts on “Why

  1. Nice post on the Oprah exit. Great points. Loved the sarcasm. You have a gift with that.


    Posted by Douglas Farrago MD | May 28, 2011, 11:22 am
  2. And we are glad you blog. Thanks for making medical and overall internet content that much better.

    Posted by tommy riles | August 14, 2011, 11:09 pm
  3. I haven’t read much of your content (yet), however I am thrilled that I have come across your page. I’m a student at the University of Calgary hoping to one day become a doctor. Your attitude regarding medicine is inspiring and I will be following your posts!

    Posted by Kal | February 12, 2012, 5:14 pm
  4. I love it! Thanks for adding worthwhile content tot he blogosphere 🙂

    Posted by The Nerdy Nurse | February 21, 2012, 6:28 pm
  5. I just found your blog while researching on IUD. I also greatly believe in your evidence-based approach toward medicine.

    Posted by yen k. | April 25, 2012, 10:59 pm
  6. Dr Jen, I recently read your blog on comparing Guns to Cars. WOW. I have never seen anything so succinct and so obvious. I’m almost ashamed to think I never thought of this analogy and I am happy you raised the topic. I did take the liberty of sending the link to that article to my Congressman James McGovern, D-MA. I hope that is ok and that you continue my enlightnment.

    Phil Raffa

    Posted by Phil Raffa | February 4, 2013, 12:37 pm
  7. Dr. Jennifer, I just found out about you last night. It makes me feel great that you investigate everything you read; now, I am going to suggest to you to take a look at my work. The title of my “piece” book is: The Human Mold-prevention from origin. It is about the origin of Pain, or, I shall say…the foundation of it. You may Google my name and find more information about me. Would, indeed, love to hear from you. Thank you

    Posted by Jose A Jarimba | February 22, 2013, 8:38 pm
  8. Great blog! Reading your articles, and especially reading about why you write, really got me interested in starting my own (see http://www.autoinflammatorydiseases.org). However, I’ve been having difficulties in defining my audience. Is it patients? Medical providers? Also, how do you find the right balance of providing enough information to make the article interesting, without using too much jargon?

    Posted by Jonathan Hausmann | February 24, 2014, 7:35 pm
    • My audience is everyone. Some days patients/general public, some days providers, some days just myself. I think that it’s ok to include jargon (although not like an article) because everyone likes to learn. For me a lot depends on my mood and the subject matter. So, some days I feel jargony and other days not so much. I think the variety is good. That’s just me! Best of luck.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | February 28, 2014, 8:39 pm
  9. Hi, Jennifer.

    I’m Ron Smith. I’ll soon start my 32nd year in Pediatrics. I was trained at Oklahoma University of Medicine, Tulsa Medical College, Dept of Pediatrics. That’s when stipends were about $16K and the only source of extra income for residents was working extra in the EOPC, the Eastern Oklahoma Perinatal Center. The infant mortality rate there was 30% as it was before surfactant and the EOPC was a referral center for both Missouri and Arkansas.

    After I started solo practice in south Arkansas in 1986 I continued to do level III NICU in our town of 25,000. I did that for 6 1/2 years as we were two hours from every referral center in all directions. Our hospital and all the local Peds there (about 5 of us) were one of a couple of places in Arkansas that participated in the final clinical studies of Exosurf, the first artifical surfactant. During that time, my smallest baby, a pound and thirteen ounces, got Exosurf, went home in three months, and did amazingly well as a result.

    My youngest daughter, Laura (Forever And A Day For Laura Michelle free on iTunes), suffered from fetal isotretinoin embyopathy. I too know all the sides of premie and sick neonate issues.

    I saw your post about Bob Sears and his misguided vaccine recommendations, with which I agree.

    The reason that I’m writing this is that you are puzzling to me? I understood that you are pro-abortion? Your comments on the vaccine issue, your medical training and field of choice along with the personal medical heartaches of premature babies seems incongruous with that?

    Certainly I respect your personal experience and you as a peer, but how do you square that all I wonder? I mean how can anyone really care about children if they don’t care about ALL of them born or unborn? Please believe me that this is not a personal attack, but a sincere question. You really do puzzle me.

    Warmest regards,

    Ron Smith, MD
    McDonough, Georgia

    Posted by Ron Smith, MD | June 10, 2014, 4:18 am
  10. Hi Dr. Jen. I found your blog when a British friend shared your post about the NHS on Facebook. I am an American married to a Brit–we met in Japan–and my sister is an internist. I must admit I have certain prejudices about the NHS too, because my mother-in-law has not received very good care through the system. Part of it might be her own stubbornness and refusal to be honest and assertive with her doctors, too, but she’s had to go private to get better service. I believe in socialized medicine, but it’s not perfect!

    I wanted to reach out to you because I too had a preemie. My oldest son, Chris, was born at 24 weeks in 1996. He’s turning 18 this month! He also had ROP and wears glasses. He’s doing great–we are very lucky!–but it was a really horrible ride. 117 days in the NICU. I’ve written a lot about our journey with prematurity on my blog, including “10 things I wish I didn’t know about prematurity”: http://marie-everydaymiracle.blogspot.com/2013/09/10-things-i-wish-i-didnt-know-about.html

    So glad your son is okay!

    Marie G-G

    Posted by Marie | August 14, 2014, 10:20 am
  11. This is an amazing reason to start a blog of this kind! Please continue writing and knowing you have a infinite support for what you are doing!!

    Posted by Jenny C | November 19, 2014, 12:45 pm
  12. Anyway I could interest you in the topic of cytolytic vaginosis? There is not a lot of info out there and it is pretty frustrating to deal with!

    Posted by Helena | January 30, 2015, 9:42 am
  13. Just a suggestion for the blog: You might want to increase the size of the fonts. Its too small.

    Posted by anoopbal | February 17, 2015, 4:45 am
  14. When I read this I immediately thought of Dr Jen…. *sigh* the misinformation in this just… burns.


    Posted by Kat | July 5, 2015, 12:24 pm
  15. Hello Dr. Gunter, I’m interested in what you have to say about the following article and how it seems to be more misinformation spreading to mothers looking to provide vitamins to their children. The mother that posted it is using an alternative vitamin and I’m wondering what nonsense could be spun around that supplement to make it seem just as terrible as the good ol’ Flinstones chewable.

    Flinstone Article: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/1-childrens-vitamin-in-us-contains-aspartame-gmos-and-hazardous-chemicals.html

    Alternative Vitamin: http://www.doterratools.com/documents/A2Z_Chewable_Product_Information_Page.pdf

    If you have a moment and could review these two vitamins for mother’s looking to provide supplements to their children that would be awesome. Have a great week!

    Posted by ShellofaGirl | July 7, 2015, 7:54 am
  16. Do you have a post about vaccines? I know it is very contraversial and would like to read what you have to say.

    Posted by Dorothy | April 25, 2016, 12:47 am
  17. To study health through any lens i.e. preference (age, sex, race, education, etc) introduces bias. To study health with a biological ideal in mind (as achievement of the asymptomatic state for example) also introduces bias. There is also a bias at work that, as we find ourselves, we have the capacity to understand what is objective or “good”. “Good” generally equated in medicine with being freed of feeling the effects of the consequences (symptoms) of my own actions, inner and outer. This reduces what is “good” or “healthy” to what is free of symptoms…

    But if I never had the symptom, I would never find the motivation to know what I was doing to force the body into imbalance, requiring the adaptation called “symptom”! Are symptoms therefore unhealthy? Doctors don’t seem to want to consider this. They go right after eliminating the symptom. To the point that, to this day, we have entire organizations dedicated to run, march, fight, bike, hike, i.e. going to war against symptoms, commonly called “disease”.

    While looking at health through the lens of our education, how able are we to know what is objective? Especially when we take what is healthy or normal to be what is ideal? Ideals as we know are illusions therefore the basis of what we take to be objective is also an illusion. But this will not stop us from holding up the pretence that, as we find ourselves, we are unquestionably unbiased, objective, and scientific. When entire communities are infected with this kind of thinking (bias), statistics begin to replace perceptions as the basis for action.

    Posted by AJ | October 19, 2016, 9:37 pm
  18. Here’s one more kudos to add: The promise of a future of fact-based and evidence-based blogs and social media is one step closer, thanks to your work and others like you. This editor of a small-town paper and regular attender of our public hospital board of trustee meetings is following, along with another good rural doctor thinker and her KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog. Keep up the good work.

    Posted by keebslac1234 | March 17, 2017, 8:40 pm


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