The 2009 inaugural inductees represent seven countries and a wide range of health fields and disciplines. Among them: Elisabeth Bing, founder of Lamaze International; Efua Dorkenoo, an activist against female genital mutilation; Jenni Prokopy, founder and editor of ChronicBabe.com; Susan Corrado, a community parish nurse in Wisconsin; and Bene E. Madunagu, a professor of botany in Nigeria.
Two nominees were selected for special honors: Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministries, received the Audience Choice Award, and the Fair Haven (Conn.) Community Health Center Midwifery Group was selected by OBOS.
This event marks OBOS's first annual effort to spotlight the diversity of care, education and activism in communities around the world. Within five years, at least 100 people who have made significant, long-lasting contributions to women's health will be honored for their work as Our Bodies Ourselves Women's Health Heroes.
"Every day millions of people worldwide do incredible work to improve the health and well-being of women, and we want to bring attention to their efforts," said Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Judy Norsigian. "Many of our heroes accomplish so much with very few resources, particularly on the frontlines of public health, where gaps in the quality of care and healthcare access remain persistent."
After asking readers, "Who's your women's health hero?" OBOS received nearly 100 nominations from 12 countries. Video submissions and essays can be viewed here: http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/category/womens-health-heroes
Organization size was not a requirement. OBOS encouraged and received testimonials about a state senate president; a public health nurse; mothers who inspired their daughters; doulas, midwives and women advocating for safer, more comfortable births; founders of websites on chronic illness, menopause and teen sexuality; and professors who changed the way their students view the world.
"We have been so inspired by the passion, talent and generosity of the nominees, and moved by the gratitude and appreciation of those who nominated their heroes. We look forward to celebrating more heroes each year," said Norsigian.
2009 Women's Health Heroes:
* Elisabeth Bing, co-founder, Lamaze Childbirth Preparation Method;
* Marlies Bosch, photographer & journalist specializing in women's health (Netherlands);
* Lisa Copen, founder and director, Rest Ministries;
* Heather Corinna, founder & editor, Scarleteen.com;
* Susan Corrado, community parish nurse (Madison, Wisc.);
* Efua Dorkenoo, Founder of FORWARD (UK);
* Fair Haven (Conn.) Midwifery Group;
* Sheila Fawbush, Shelby County (Ky.) Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences;
* Stephanie Herold, student activist & abortion clinic counselor;
* Cheryl Holder, adolescent medicine & HIV/AIDS specialist;
* Barbara Keddy, professor emeritus, Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia);
* Helene Lefevre-Cholay, chief of party for the Maternal and Infant Health Project (Ukraine);
* Jessica LeRoy, therapist specializing in helping women;
* Bene E. Madunagu, activist & professor of botany, University of Calabar (Nigeria);
* Sabrina Matoff-Stepp, director, HRSA Office of Women's Health; Kath Mazzella, founder, Gynaecological Awareness Information Network (Australia);
* Jenni Prokopy, founder & editor, ChronicBabe.com;
* Nurit Shein, executive director, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia LGBT health center;
* Carolyn Thomas, founder, Heart Sisters;
* Jessica Yee, founder & director, Native Youth Sexual Health Network (Toronto)