The UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC) is celebrating Women’s History Month in very exciting ways.

Several events have already taken place this month, and many more are yet to come. HSC has collaborated with the Feminist Research Institute (FRI) on many of these events.

“I originally reached out to Dr. [Francisco] Galarte and the FRI after a suggestion from Dr. Amy Levi, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the HSC. That was an amazing suggestion; Dr. Galarte had several terrific ideas for programs that could really enhance our Women’s History Month celebration. As a newcomer to campus (I started in January), I was also grateful to learn more about this institute,” said Melissa Rethlefsen, the head of the UNM Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center.

Events have been, and will continue to be, virtual. Past events have included trivia, a dance party, and panels discussing important issues.

The HSC Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has made tremendous efforts to celebrate Heritage Months throughout the year.

“There was a great article giving an overview of the HSC’s...efforts to celebrate Heritage Months...I was invited to participate as a co-chair of Women’s History Month by Dr. Valerie Leggott-Romero, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the HSC. Jessica Holland, director of the Women’s Resource Center, is my co-chair. We were originally asked to plan for one event per week for Women’s History Month and quickly found that we had so many great ideas from colleagues on the committee and across the institution that four events simply weren’t enough,” said Rethlefsen.

The following events have already taken place during Women’s History Month:

●      #WHM (Women’s History Month) TRIVIA

Presented by Reina Davis and hosted by UNM Women's Resource Center

Trivia competition about women in activism, music, media, and more

●      WHM Dance Party

Hosted by UNM LGBTQ Resource Center and UNM Women's Resource Center

Virtual dance party

●      National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day

Hosted by UNM Truman Health Services and UNM Women's Resource Center

●      The Racialized History of American Motherhood & Reproductive Medicine

Presented by Dr. Shannon Withycombe and hosted by HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

This talk explored how medical developments, legal challenges, social policies, and demographic changes have shaped the meaning of motherhood in America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It described early obstetrical narratives about race and childbirth, medical attention to and neglect of enslaved Black women, state and federal bans on fertility control, and early public health prenatal programs. The history of reproduction in this country is one deeply embedded in the history of race and understanding these roots can better inform us about modern racial disparities in health and medicine.

“We just had an absolutely wonderful talk on the Racialized History of American Motherhood and Reproductive Medicine by Associate Professor Shannon Withycombe. Dr. Withycombe is faculty in the Department of History, and she was recommended as a speaker by Liz Hutchison, the previous director of the Feminist Research Institute. This talk will be made available for later viewing, too,” said Rethlefsen.

●      Cafe Q: Queering Feminism

Hosted by UNM LGBTQ Resource Center

Discussion of the relationship between queer justice and feminism

●      When You Picture a Scientist, Who Do You See?

Moderated by Laura Helmuth and featuring Dr. Jennifer Doudna, Dr. Raychelle Burks, Dr. Jane Willenbring, Dr. Eva Pietri. Sponsored by ProQuest, Scientific American, ro*co films, and FILM PLATFORM

A panel conversation on advancing diversity and inclusion in STEM

Explore more about the documentary film, Picture A Scientist. This panel discussion will focus on:

➔     the experience of each panelist as leaders in their field

➔     the journey and obstacles each overcame to get here

➔     what they identify as positive solutions that will allow for continued equity and inclusion within the scientific community and beyond.

Picture A Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

Viewing the film prior to attendance is highly recommended.

To join the session, follow this link. To view the film, follow this link.

The following are upcoming events during Women’s History Month:

●      Raíces de Partería: Roots of Midwifery in New Mexico

March 25 from 12 - 1 p.m. MST

Presented by Felina Ortiz DNP, RN, CNM & Martina Granado CNM, MSN and hosted by HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

“I am also really excited to hear Raíces de Partería: Roots of Midwifery in New Mexico, a talk by Dr. Felina Ortiz (College of Nursing), and Martina Ganado, a Certified Nurse Midwife. The Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center also licensed the documentary, Picture a Scientist, for the UNM Community. Dr. Karlett Parra, Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dr. Nancy Kanagy, Chair of Cell Biology and Physiology, and other women leaders in the School of Medicine were the drivers behind the beginning school and campus-wide conversations on the film to ensure that the sexual harassment and sexism that the film showcases for women in science doesn’t have a place here on campus,” explained Rethlefsen.

●      Transgender Health Panel

March 29 from 12 - 1 p.m. MST

Presented by Tk King, Ed Fancovic, and Dr. Cameron Crandall and hosted by HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Register for this event by following this link.

“We are currently working with Dr. Galarte on a panel related to transgender health...Dr. Galarte will be moderating, and we will have clinicians, a community member, and a student on the panel to share their knowledge, expertise, and passion. One specific area we’re hoping to highlight there are the medical students who developed a transgender care curriculum for the medical school. Tk King, who was one of the developers of this curriculum, is the student representative who will be on the panel,” explained Rethlefsen.

●      COVID & Women in the Workplace

March 31 from 1 - 2 p.m. MST

Presented by Carolyn Montoya, Joanne Fair, Jamie Silva-Steele, Alisha Parada, Eleanor Chavez, Sarah Ghiorse (moderator/framer) and hosted by UNM Health Sciences Center and UNM Women's Resource Center

Register for this event by following this link.

●      Food & Generational Healing

March 31 from 4 - 5 p.m. MST

Presented by Reina Davis and hosted by UNM Women's Resource Center

Panel discussion of how food has been revolutionary for women and our communities featuring WOC leadership from our main campus ethnic centers.

Join the session by following this link.

●      Women's History Month SHEros Awards

March 31, Time TBD

Sponsored by the HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

There are SHEros in our midst! Faculty, staff, learners step up every day. A shero steps up to lead. This might be a custodian, a medical student, resident or fellow, an Administrative Assistant, or a Dean, to name a few. A leader is defined by actions and not titles. Now is the time to tell our stories.

Examples of leadership could include:

➔     Organizing a fundraising event for a food bank

➔     Starting a conversation about equity with leadership

➔     Volunteering to help with vaccine clinics

➔     Managing and overseeing institutional PPE deployment

Four awards will be handed out and the recipients recognized as leaders this year, including:

➔     Faculty Category - including Professor and Lecturer titles

➔     Learner Category - Health Professions Students, Residents, Fellows, Graduate Students, and Post Docs

➔     Staff/Employee Category - all HSC staff/employees

➔     Community Category - community members and allies who advocate for women's issues at HSC, across UNM, and/or across the state of New Mexico

Those interested are highly encouraged to self-nominate. The deadline for submissions is March 24.

Nominate a SHEro by following this link.

The HSC has also included WMH Zoom backgrounds for students and faculty members to use during meetings. Backgrounds have been created for people using she/her pronouns, he/him pronouns, and they/them pronouns.

“Dr. Galarte is also putting together an event on forced sterilization in prisons. We don’t have an established date or time for that one yet, however!” said Rethlefsen.

All events and further information can be found listed on the HSC Women’s History Month page.