MeST Seminar with Professor Janelle Taylor

You are invited to MeST seminar 4 May 14.00-15.00, room 5.0.22 at CSS. The seminar is free of charge and It is not necessary to pre-register.

Speaker: Professor Janelle Taylor, University of Toronto

Title: Admitting privileges: A construction ecology perspective on the unintended consequences of medical school admissions.


Medical-school applicants learn from many sources that they must stand out to fit in. Many construct self-presentations intended to appeal to medical-school admissions committees from the raw materials of work and volunteer experiences, in order to demonstrate that they will succeed in a demanding profession to which access is tightly controlled.

Borrowing from the field of architecture the lens of construction ecology, which considers buildings in relation to the global effects of the resources required for their construction, we reframe medical-school admissions as a social phenomenon that has far-reaching harmful unintended consequences, not just for medicine but for the broader world.

Illustrating with discussion of three common pathways to experiences that applicants widely believe will help them gain admission, we describe how the construction ecology of medical school admissions can recast privilege as merit, reinforce colonizing narratives, and lead to exploitation of people who are already disadvantaged.