Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ambar Basu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mahuya Pal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marleah Dean Kruzel, Ph.D.


health, illness, medicine, narrative, women health


As a community who voices feeling misunderstood, unheard, and uncared for by the medical system, female patients who live undiagnosed and chronically ill and their health narratives lie beyond biomedical boundaries. To examine how chronically ill and undiagnosed female patients narrate their experiences in and with the biomedical system and how these narratives resist biomedical health standards, I employ semi-structured interviews with 20 female patients living undiagnosed and chronically ill as well as engage in critical autoethnography to recount my own health experiences living a part of this community. In utilizing the culture-centered approach to health communication as a theoretical framework and an abductive thematic analysis to explore these health narratives, participants voice being pushed into and seen as outside the biomedical box, the biomedical failures and unmet community health needs, and how the interview itself fostered community. The narrated health journeys from this community not only begin to fill the discursive gaps biomedicine creates, teaches, and reinforces, but also practically aids in a new era of communicative medicine that prioritizes support over diagnosis and care over cure.

Included in

Communication Commons