Education and Professional Standing
- PhD, Molecular Immunology, Virology & Inflammation Program, McMaster University, 2003
- MEd, Curriculum Studies, University of Western Ontario, 2015
My current scholarship is focussed in 2 principal areas:
- Complexities of addressing sex/gender in biomedical research. In the last 40 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of the term ‘gender’ in the biomedical literature, though a closer analysis shows that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are typically used as synonyms in this domain. In contrast, ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are used quite differently by scholars in feminist philosophy. At the same time, those with expertise in theoretical aspects of sex/gender often do not have first-hand experience with biomedical science and laboratory research, and thus may not apprehend the conceptual and practical issues that arise when trying to address sex/gender issues in these disciplines. My work on this problem is in conceptualizing sex and gender in ways that draw on the nuanced and sophisticated theorizing of feminist scholars in sex/gender, while remaining legible in the discourses of biomedical science and accounting for the material practices in laboratory research. Particularly with regard to in vitro work with cells and in vivo work in experimental animal models, translating the complexity of constructs of sex/gender into experimental work is challenging and fraught with complication. I attempt to examine the impacts of literally ‘inserting’ sex/gender into experimental work, and develop tools and frameworks to assist experimental researchers in thinking carefully about sex/gender, designing experiments that account for sex/gender without falling into conceptual traps like essentialism and determinism, and critical interpretation of data derived from experiments that account for sex/gender.
- Critical literacy and reflexivity in medical and health education. Practices of ‘reflection’ have become prominent in many fields of health education, particularly in the health professions. In addition, many medical schools have adopted the mantle of ‘social accountability’ in which they commit to addressing the priority concerns of the communities they serve. For the last number of years, I have pursued research in scholarship in these areas, developing critical perspectives on medical education and the social accountability movement, and studying curricular approaches that can enhance student capacity for critical literacy, critical thinking, reflection, and reflexivity. In these realms, my work is informed by principles of critical pedagogy and critical discourse analysis.
As the Assistant Dean of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program, I am responsible for the educational and administrative aspects of the BHSc (Hons) Program. In addition, in Winter 2017 I am teaching a section of HTHSCI 3E03 – Advanced Inquiry on the topic of “blood”, and I participate in the supervision of MA students in the Gender Studies & Feminist Research Program.
Ritz SA. (2016) Complexities of addressing sex in in vitro cell culture research. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, in press.
Ritz SA, Beatty K, Ellaway RH. (2014) Accounting for social accountability: Developing critiques of social accountability within medical education. Education for Health 27(2):152-157.
Ritz SA, Antle D, Côté J, Deroy K, Fraleigh N, Messing K, Parent L, St-Pierre J, Vaillancourt C, Mergler D. (2014) First steps for integrating sex and gender considerations into basic experimental biomedical research. The FASEB Journal 28(1):4-13.
Ritz SA. (2010) Air pollution as a potential contributor to the ‘epidemic’ of autoimmune disease. Medical Hypotheses 74(1):110-7.
Ritz SA, Stämpfli MR, Davies DE, Holgate ST, Jordana M. (2002) On the generation of allergic airways diseases: From GM-CSF to Kyoto. Trends in Immunology