Jen Gunter

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Jennifer (Jen) Gunter
Jen Gunter CSICon 2018 Vaginal Snake Oil Profiteers, from Paltrow to the Patriarchy.jpg
Jennifer Gunter in 2018
ResidenceCalifornia, United States
OccupationGynecologist, obstetrician

Jennifer Gunter is a Canadian-American obstetrician-gynecologist, a specialist in women's health and pain medicine, who frequently challenges dubious health and medical claims.


Jennifer Gunter was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[1] A positive experience at the hospital when she was eleven motivated her to decide on a career in health care: declining sedation, she watched the hospital staff work on her ruptured spleen as they explained the procedure to her.[2]

She graduated from the University of Manitoba's School of Medicine in 1990 and completed her OB/GYN training in 1995 at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. She then moved to the United States for a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Kansas. She then continued her studies in pain medicine.[3]

In addition to her practice within the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group,[4][5] Gunter manages a women's health clinic.[1]


She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada[3][6] and of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists[3][7], and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pain Medicine[3][8]

Public interventions[edit]

Through social media, in media interviews and in her New York Times column, Gunter is critical of dubious health claims made by celebrities, and the careless way that media outlets report on matters such as reproductive health and vaccination.[1][9] The blog she has been writing since 2011 has reached 15 million views and some of her criticism created controversies in mainstream media.[10][2]

My ire has been directed squarely at the people spreading misinformation, especially if it is for profit. I blog to help women get better advice so they can be more empowered with their health.

— Jennifer Gunter, [11]

Toronto Star coverage of the Gardasil HPV vaccine[edit]

On February 5, 2015, the Toronto Star published a front-page report about alleged health risks of the Gardasil HPV vaccine; later that day, Gunter criticized the report in her blog.[12][13][14][15][16] She said the piece used anecdotes to misrepresent the situation and misused a medical database. She gave media interviews on the topic, and subsequently published another text on the same topic on[17][14][18]

On February 6, Star columnist Heather Mallick urged readers to ignore Gunter's "overreaction"[14] as the words of "a rural doctor who uses 'wielding the lasso of truth' as a tagline".[19][20][21] After another blog post from Gunter,[22] more pressure from the medical community,[18] and a rebuke by the newspaper's public editor Kathy English,[23] the original article was taken offline on February 20, 2015 and replaced by a note from the publisher[14] saying that "our story treatment led to confusion between anecdotes and evidence."[24]

Use of fetal tissue in research[edit]

In 2016, Gunter criticized Ben Carson, then candidate for President of the United States in the Republican primaries, for his stance on the use of fetal tissue in medical research. While Carson said fetal tissue was of little use in research, Gunter found one of Carson's own research papers that used data from fetal tissue. Backlash from Carson supporters on the web was significant.[10]

Donald Trump's clean bill of health[edit]

Prior to his election as President of the United States, and during the Republican Party primaries, Donald Trump released a letter from a physician saying he was in remarkable health. Gunter heavily criticized the content of this document, calling portions of it "gibberish".[10]

Jennifer Gunter speaking at CSICon 2018 in Las Vegas

Criticism of Goop and Gwyneth Paltrow[edit]

Gunter occasionally criticizes products sold by Goop, a company owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.[11] Her sharp criticism of one of Goop's products (a jade egg meant to be inserted in one's vagina)[4] came to the attention of a wider audience when her blog post of January 17, 2017,[25] was picked up by a tabloid newspaper. Additional posts[11][26] elicited a written response from Goop directly responding to Gunter's criticism.[27][28]

This exchange provoked an intervention by Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, who supported Gunter's position. Caulfield stated that "studies have consistently found, for example, that celebrities can have a measurable and less-than-ideal impact on everything from cancer screening to smoking to the food that we eat."[29] In October 2018, Gunter and archeologist Sarah Parcak published a study to investigate whether or not jade eggs were used vaginally in ancient China, as Goop's marketing claims they were. A review of the description of 5,000 artefacts available in major databases of Chinese archeology found no mention of such an object.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Gunter is divorced,[31] and has lived in California with her family since 2005.[1] Her children, who are triplets, were born very prematurely: one was born at just 22 weeks and did not survive, and the other two were born at 26 weeks. The lack of publicly available, medically sound information about the particular needs of premature babies motivated her to write a book titled The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies — from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond.[32][10][33]

Gunter had to overcome a lifelong binge eating disorder, and is considering writing a book about weight loss.[10]

Published works[edit]

  • Gunter, Jennifer (2010). The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies—from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780738213934.

Her book on vaginal health, The Vagina Bible, will be published in 2019.[2][10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d McKnight, Zoe (July 18, 2017). "This Canadian doctor is going head-to-head with Gwyneth Paltrow over Goop". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Girvan, Chloe E. (July 13, 2018). "Debunking the scientifically inaccurate: Dr. Jen Gunter is on a mission for women's health". IPolitics. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Gunter, Jen. "About me". Wordpress. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Phillips, Kristine (January 22, 2017). "No, Gwyneth Paltrow, women should not put jade eggs in their vaginas, gynecologist says". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Jennifer Gunter, MD". My doctor online. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  6. ^ "The Royal College Directory: Jen Gunter". The Royal College.
  7. ^ "Search by name - ACOG". American Congress of obstetricians and gynecologists. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Directory". American Board of Pain Medicine. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Gunter, Jennifer (November 16, 2017). "My Vagina Is Terrific. Your Opinion About It Is Not". The new York Times. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Keshavan, Meghana (August 4, 2017). "Armed with science (and snark), a gynecologist takes on Trump, Goop, and all manner of bizarre health trends". Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Gunter, Dr Jen (2017-05-12). "Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP still want you to put a jade egg in your vagina. It's still a bad idea". Dr. Jen Gunter Wielding the lasso of truth. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  12. ^ Gunter, Jen (February 5, 2015). "Toronto Star claims HPV vaccine unsafe. Science says the Toronto Star is wrong". Dr. Jen Gunter - Wielding the lasso of truth. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Bruser, David; McLean, Jesse (February 5, 2017). "A wonder drug's dark side". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d "The Toronto Star's Gardasil controversy: A timeline". J Source. February 12, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  15. ^ Kay, Jonathan (February 12, 2015). "Dropping science: The Toronto Star's scandalously bad article on HPV vaccines illustrates a larger problem with Canadian newsrooms". The Walrus. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Gorski, David (February 16, 2015). "How not to report about vaccine safety issues, Toronto Star edition". Science-based medicine. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  17. ^ Gunter, Jen (February 10, 2015). "The Toronto Star's HPV Reporting is a Disaster". Canadaland. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Hiltzik, Michael (February 13, 2015). "How a major newspaper bungled a vaccine story, then smeared its critics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Mallick, Heather (February 6, 2017). "Vaccine debate is one we shouldn't even be having: Mallick". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  20. ^ Girardi, Stephanie (February 25, 2015). "Unpublishing". Ryerson Review of Journalism. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  21. ^ Young, Leslie (February 11, 2015). "'We failed' in presentation of HPV vaccine story, Star publisher says". Global News. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  22. ^ Gunter, Jen (February 9, 2015). "Explaining Gardasil girls and HPV vaccine safety to the Toronto Star and Heather Mallick". Dr. Jen Gunter - Wielding the lasso of truth. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  23. ^ English, Kathy (February 13, 2015). "Public editor criticizes the Star's Gardasil story". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "A note from the publisher". Toronto Star. February 20, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  25. ^ Gunter, Jen (January 17, 2017). "Dear Gwyneth Paltrow, I'm a GYN and your vaginal jade eggs are a bad idea". Dr. Jen Gunter Wielding the lasso of truth. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  26. ^ Gunter, Jen (January 20, 2017). "GOOP gaslights women re: vaginal jade eggs claiming selling them is no endorsement!". Dr. Jen Gunter Wielding the lasso of truth. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  27. ^ Shea, Courtney (July 25, 2017). "Who is Dr. Jen Gunter, and why is she on Gwyneth Paltrow's bad side?". Rogers Digital Media. Chatelaine. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  28. ^ "Uncensored: A word from our doctors". Goop. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  29. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (July 14, 2017). "Sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow. Science will always beat goopy junk". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  30. ^ Gunter, Jennifer; Parcak, Sarah (October 25, 2018). "Vaginal Jade Eggs: Ancient Chinese Practice or Modern Marketing Myth?". Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery. doi:10.1097/SPV.0000000000000643.
  31. ^ Butler, Peggy (2012). "My Interview with Dr. Jennifer Gunter". Success & Chocolate. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  32. ^ Jennifer, Gunter. "The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies--from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond". Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  33. ^ Gunter, Jennifer. "Mother of 3, parent of 2. Reflections on the saddest sorority". Retrieved September 16, 2017.