Whether it’s translating the language of risk and risk factors into normal language or explaining the background, history, and metaphors that go into our understanding of medicine, her work demystifies the often confusing, sometimes conflicting, and increasingly authoritative barrage of health information all around us. In the (delightfully flattering) words of a student, she’s like a “quirky encyclopedia” of medicine.
Curiosity and the desire to better understand how disparate ideas evolve into what we think of as “facts” has always been the cornerstone of Susan’s work. She began her somewhat unorthodox career with a brief stint as a stand-up comic (as part of a duo, Idiot Proof); later she worked as a taxi driver, substitute teacher and then began writing professionally, initially as a comedy writer, then TV scripts, eventually moving to print where she’s more or less stayed ever since. She has authored (and ghosted) many books; her latest was The Estrogen Errors; Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health (Praeger, 2009), she invited Vancouver endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior to co-author.
Susan’s has a PhD in interdisciplinary studies and a BA in Psychology. She is a reviewer for CMAJ and CMAJ Open and was Scholar-in-residence, Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars. She teaches on and off at the Faculty of Health Science at SFU. Her blog covers current health and medical issues and reflects her cranky perspective(s).
Her eclectic past experiences as a working writer – from a 4 a.m. jaunt on a Greenpeace dinghy to hanging out backstage with the Winnipeg Ballet’s Evelyn Hart – provide insights and anecdotes that provide real world context and make her writing and teaching more accessible to the lay person. As such she’s able to get past the “magic” of medicine to delve into the messy realities of patient care. Her doctoral research Medicine, Metaphors and Metaphysics (now published by Scholar’s Press) is an analysis of reference-based pricing and the relationship between policy and practice.
Susan Baxter lives in Vancouver, Canada.