News Global Health Center

Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter works to advance gender equity and illuminate women in global health

Written by Jeanie Bryant, coordinator for the Global Health Center

The first cohort of WGH – Midwest Chapter

Speaker Series features empowered women:

The Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter has concluded their dynamic speaker series for 2022, featuring three global health experts. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, MD, MPH, kicked off the series with Leadership During the Pandemic. As the director of health for the City of St. Louis, Hlatshwayo Davis shared the historical context of why black and brown communities cannot easily overcome social determinants of health (like lack of employment or affordable housing, and access to healthcare), which then set the stage during the pandemic for lower vaccination rates in these communities. She said the path forward should be about engaging trusted messengers and resources, sharing evidence-based data, working with informed policy, and appropriate funding.

Lori DiPrete Brown, MSPH, MTS, discussed Centering Equity and Inclusion: Gender, Health and SDG 360 Thinking. DiPrete Brown presented the pillars of sustainability and the concept that the SDGs can be realized globally as well as locally, by telling stories that are place-based in order to establish relevance, urgency and consensus. She included examples of how U.S. communities can address equity and center the lived experiences of marginalized groups (historically and currently).

The speaker series concluded with a presentation by Juliet Iwelunmor, PhD, called Heart to Heart: Sustaining Global Health Research. Iwelunmor shared ways to map a sustainable global health journey, and to embrace the “dip,” including rejected/accepted papers, unsuccessful job searches, failed grants, etc. “If it’s worth doing, there is probably a dip,” she said.

Iwelunmor cited Decolonising the Mind by Kenyan novelist and post-colonial theorist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. His book calls for “the rediscovery of the real language of humankind: the language of struggle. It is the universal language underlying all speech and words of our history.”

New Partnerships

The Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter recently announced a new collaboration with Health Righters, a multidisciplinary publication exploring global issues at the intersection of health care and human rights. Spread over 12 universities across the world, Health Righters hopes to inspire readers through articles that highlight personal stories, expert opinions and a consolidation of existing research. Chapter members are welcome to contribute independent articles on mental health, or take on a collaborative assignment with a Health Righters team member to write about existing research.

On June 9, at 4:30 p.m. CDT, the chapter will host the event, “Reaching for Gender Equity in Global Health: It’s Everyone’s Business”. Members from several Midwestern universities will share their highlights and collaborative efforts in advancing gender equity and the role of women in global health. Register for the event.

Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter team:

Caline Mattar, MD, chapter co-founder and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD, chapter co-founder and manager of the Global Health Center at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health; Jeanie Bryant, coordinator of the Global Health Center; Chandani Desai, chapter project coordinator and staff scientist in the laboratory of Jeffrey Gordon, MD, at Washington University’s Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology; Maya Kovacevic, chapter advocacy coordinator and a WashU undergraduate student in Global Health; Jean Kanaparti, chapter project coordinator and undergraduate student in Health Administration & Policy and Medical Anthropology at Creighton University; and, Cassandre Krier, chapter membership & social media coordinator and medical student at Medical College of Wisconsin.

Apply to become a member.

Women in Global Health (WGH) is an international network aiming to achieve gender equality in Global Health leadership through advocating for gender transformative leadership. With support from then Provost Holden Thorp and William G. Powderly, MD, the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health, the Midwest Chapter of WGH was launched on December 6, 2018.