Talk to Them: NC’s Experts on Women’s Health

Pregnant womanThis September Women AdvaNCe is just bubbling over with excitement over our upcoming North Carolina Women’s Summit. We’ve all even picked out our summit outfits and have researched our routes to Raleigh. But just in case you aren’t quite as giddy as we are, we’re spending Wednesdays this month telling you more about our second-ever statewide gathering of the state’s smartest women who just happen to be our best leaders, academics, and doers.

Today we are focusing on the Summit’s first panel discussion—an exploration into the state of health for women in NC. Without a healthy body and a system in place to keep it that way, what chance does any woman have at economic freedom, happiness, or peace? Knowing you can get care when you need it is essential to a good life. And for many North Carolina women, care they can afford and reach just isn’t there.

North Carolina is home to some of the country’s smartest women. And we are thrilled that seven of them have agreed to discuss health policy and realities on our panel.

  • Tamara Jeffries is an assistant professor at Bennett College, an all-women’s college in Greensboro, and she joins the panel as an authoritative voice on mental health, particularly among African-American women. She’s concerned about recent developments in the state that impede teens’ access to mental health, including a law that requires parental permission for mental health and substance abuse care.
  • Dr. Amy Tiemann is one of our state’s strongest voices in support of women’s health. She led a task force on sexual assault at UNC-Chapel Hill and has written on the importance of good mental health for new mothers in her award-winning book, Mojo Mom: Nurturing Yourself While Raising a Family. Tiemann also serves on the Women AdvaNCe board of the directors, and was instrumental to the organization’s founding.
  • Stephanie Baker, a professor and assistant director from UNC-Greensboro’s School of Public Health, has spent years researching the intersection of race and health. For her dissertation, she studied the effects of racial disparities on teen sedentary behavior. She joins our panel with a focus on speaking to how health inequities are formed, specifically in racialized contexts.
  • Sarah Verbiest, Executive Director for Maternal and Infant Health at the UNC-Gillings School of Public Health, thinks about health daily. The Center provides resources to families and health practitioners, and advocates for change that increases healthy outcomes. Verbiest  has published many papers on maternal and child health, and has won numerous awards for her work.
  • Jen Ferris (that’s me!) is the co-editorial director of Women AdvaNCe and a strong advocate for reproductive health. She has worked as a Communications Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina as well as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Carolina Abortion Fund.
  • Dr. Lisa Levenstein, an Associate Professor of History at UNC-Greensboro, will serve as our moderator. This is Levenstein’s second year at the NC Women’s Summit, and she brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the role women’s health has played in the struggle for equal rights.

The six panelists listed above will discuss recent changes in statewide health policy and impediments to healthy women, such as the state’s rejection of Medicaid funds that would have given 250,000 more North Carolinians access to health insurance. We’ll also cover how to protect women in all their reproductive choices—whether it’s maintaining access to birth control, providing a safe delivery and breastfeeding advice, and ensuring that women and girls receive accurate and comprehensive health information.

Will you join us for the health panel? Is there anything you’d like moderator Lisa Levenstein to ask the panelists? Email me, answer our survey, or tweet us at #WomenAdvaNCe with your questions!

WHAT: NC Women’s Summit: Connecting Communities ~ Creating Change

WHEN: September 26th from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

WHERE: The Talley Center at NC State University

WHO: Jointly sponsored by Women AdvaNCe,  NC State Women’s Center and the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-CH

COST: $12, but scholarships are available




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