Bioethics Blogs

Imposter Syndrome

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

As a junior scholar, Imposter Syndrome is as a part of my daily life as some people’s morning coffee is a part of their morning routine. Despite considering myself to be a very confident person, Imposter Syndrome is an omnipresent force in my life. Imposter Syndrome is the belief that you are not qualified for a task, job, or promotion despite evidence to the contrary usually in the form of experience, education, degrees, etc. It’s a feeling of phoniness, a feeling that you do not deserve the accolades you have received coupled with the fear that everyone knows you’re a fake. It’s a topic that is frequently written about in popular media such as the New York Times, which leads me to believe that I am not the sole experiencer of Imposter Syndrome. I know that many other people experience Imposter Syndrome. I know that because of various social and cultural reasons some groups of people are more prone to feeling like an imposter, including women, racial minorities, and people new to their chosen profession.

This semester I am scheduled to teach my first bioethics/medical humanities course on African Americans and their relationship with (access to and delivery of) health care. I plan to use non-fictional accounts of African Americans’ interactions with medical practitioners and their stories of illness to discuss issues of race and class. This course, for medical students, was born out of my personal experiences and the experiences of my family and friends with medical racism and dismissive, prejudiced practitioners.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.