Dr. Elizabeth Comen: All in Her Head

Dr. Elizabeth Comen: All in Her Head

Monday, February 19, 2024 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of All in Her Head with author Elizabeth Comen.

This event is cosponsored by the Resilient Sisterhood Project (RSP). We will also be fundraising for this wonderful organization.

Register for the event!

RSVP to let us know you're coming! Depending on the volume of responses, an RSVP may be required for entrance to the event. You will also be alerted to important details about the program, including safety requirements, cancellations, and book signing updates.

All in Her Head: The Truth and Lies Early Medicine Taught Us About Women's Bodies and Why It Matters Today

A surprising, groundbreaking, and fiercely entertaining medical history that is both a collective narrative of women’s bodies and a call to action for a new conversation around women’s health.

For as long as medicine has been a practice, women's bodies have been treated like objects to be practiced on: examined and ignored, idealized and sexualized, shamed, subjugated, mutilated, and dismissed. The history of women’s healthcare is a story in which women themselves have too often been voiceless—a narrative instead written from the perspective of men who styled themselves as authorities on the female of the species, yet uninformed by women’s own voices, thoughts, fears, pain and experiences. The result is a cultural and societal leg­acy that continues to shape the (mis)treatment and care of women.

While the modern age has seen significant advancements in the medical field, the notion that female bodies are flawed inversions of the male ideal lingers on—as do the pervasive societal stigmas and lingering ignorance that shape women’s health and relationships with their own bodies.

Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist and medical historian Dr. Elizabeth Comen draws back the curtain on the collective medical history of women to reintroduce us to our whole bodies—how they work, the actual doctors and patients whose perspectives and experiences laid the foundation for today’s medical thought, and the many oversights that still remain unaddressed. With a physician’s knowledge and empathy, Dr. Comen follows the road map of the eleven organ systems to share unique and untold stories, drawing upon medical texts and journals, interviews with expert physicians, as well as her own experience treating thousands of women.

Empowering women to better understand ourselves and advocate for care that prioritizes healthy and joyful lives— for us and generations to come—All in Her Head is written with humor, wisdom, and deep scientific and cultural insight. Eye-opening, sometimes enraging, yet always captivating, this shared memoir of women’s medical history is an essential contribution to a holistic understanding and much-needed reclaiming of women’s history and bodies.

Elizabeth Comen, MD, has dedicated her medical career to saving the lives of women. An award-winning, internationally sought-af­ter clinician and physician-scientist, Dr. Comen works as a medical oncologist with a specialty in breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and is an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She earned her BA in the history of science from Harvard College and her MD from Harvard Medical School, then completed her resi­dency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and her fellowship in oncology at Memorial Sloan Ketter­ing Cancer Center. She lives in New York City with her family.

The Resilient Sisterhood Project (RSP) is a Boston-based nonprofit founded in 2012 to raise awareness of diseases of the female reproductive system and empower women and other people of African descent affected by them. We approach these diseases and associated issues through a cultural and social justice lens–as we believe that poor knowledge of reproductive health is primarily related to health, racial, and socioeconomic disparities. In the past twelve years, RSP has taken a unique intersectional approach to rethink, reframe, and reclaim the discourse regarding Black women’s reproductive health and rights. Our work has had a broad reach and impact in providing comprehensive and holistic knowledge that respects the dignity and humanity of affected women.

RSP works in partnership with—rather than on behalf of—black women and young adults in our communities. We address deeply rooted historical and structural racism, health and medical inequities, oppressive cultural and gender norms, environmental and food injustices, and other social determinants of health. RSP works locally and nationally with community partners, ranging from grassroots organizations to academic, medical, scientific, and environmental institutions. We serve a demographic between 15 and 99+ years old. Though we work with people from all socioeconomic levels, we place a special emphasis on disenfranchised communities.


This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at tickets@brooklinebooksmith.com as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!