Tag Archives: women’s health

FYI …🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

UW Invite_002(1)








9:30 AM — 3:30 PM🌼🌼

This event is FREE. Registration is required.

For more information please visit umassmed.edu/women

or email: Multicultural@umassmed.edu

To register go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017MWHS

Healthy women eat right! Head to this FREE FEST at UMass Medical School!



Join us for a day-long health and wellness event!




Plantation Street

8:30 AM — 4:00 PM

Keynote Speaker:

Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA
Physician, Community Health Leader, President & CEO, The Dimock Center

Opening and Closing Speaker:

Latoyia Edwards
Emmy Award-winning Morning News Anchor, New England Cable News (NECN)

Continental Breakfast

Free Health Screenings

Healthy Lunch

Health and Wellness Presentations

Healthy Movement Exercise

Celebrate You and Your Health Gift Bags

This event is FREE!

Registration is required.

Registration opens May 1

email: Multicultural@umassmed.edu for registration information

Free Childcare

Limited Space, Regstration Required

Free Shuttle Service and Free Parking

Go, Gordon Davis, go!

Guns, abortion and the U.S. Constitution

By Gordon Davis

There are restrictions that governments have imposed on women’s bodies, especially in the constitutionally protected right of women to control their pregnancies.

I believe that a woman should have the right to decide with her doctor what is to be done – without interference from the government.

When I see the protesters at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Piedmont, in Worcester, I am not happy. I am not happy that women in our society are placed in the position of tough decisions about their health. I am working for a society that treats women and all of us in a more respectful way.

I do not believe that men have the right to kill people without government intervention and prevention.

There is no protection in the United States Constitution for our most recent massacre. The U.S. Constitution was not written to protect mass killers of any sort. The document should be amended to make this clearer.

While listening to talk radio, a caller said the same restrictions that applied to women and their health should be applied to men and their guns.  The basis for this is that almost all of the killings done by guns are done by men.

Restrictions would not be imposed on men and their guns as a public safety issue. It would be imposed as an issue of public morality.  We strive to be less of a “wild west” society and more of a country based on gun-less resolutions of problems among individuals. There is no need to justify this public morality as it is self evident.  There is no need to justify moving away from the morality of the nineteenth century to the saner morality for the Twenty First Century.

For women who are pregnant there are laws restricting Planned Parenthood and other clinics: Some clinics are required to meet the standards of a hospital for emergency admittance. There are no emergency admittances at clinics; this is just a pretext.

For men who own or want to buy guns there should be laws restricting gun stores standards of sale – including updated electronic data bases for non-eligible purchasers of guns and ammunition. There should be created a cause for civil action for harm done by any weapon sold to a purchaser who was not eligible for a purchase of guns and ammunition.

The other requirements for men should be:

1.    Mandatory safety training every two years, including watching a video of harm done by guns.

2.   Proof of proper storage capacity, including locked cabinets and trigger locks.

3.   Proof the purchaser is not a danger to himself or to others. This would be a  certificate from a doctor that the purchaser is not suffering from impulse control issues of any sort.

4.  Proof of no violent criminal activity in the last 10 years, including arrests.

5.   A waiting period consisting of the gun store verification of certificates and  proof and the local police verification of the same documents.

6.  A tax on guns and ammunition dedicated to the mitigation of harm of gun violence victims and guns safety programs, etc.

7.  Criminal penalties for the falsification of specific documents and the failure of gun shops to properly apply certificates and waiting periods.

The new gun range in Worcester should check the certificates and proof of eligibility for each gun owner using the facility.

What comes to mind is the old saying: “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” The morality of gun restriction is self evidently good for us all – except the gunmen.

Pink buckets and bacon ribbons won’t beat breast cancer

By Heather Moore

There’s nothing wrong with your vision. Everything has a pink hue because it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many companies are going overboard with pink products. Most of them mean well, of course, but some are just pinkwashing—acting like breast cancer crusaders, even though they peddle products that contribute to the disease. In early October, for example, Smithfield Foods and other businesses sponsored a bacon festival in honor of breast cancer month. The logo featured a strip of bacon in the shape of a pink ribbon—because nothing says “breast cancer awareness” like saturated fat and concentrated protein.

Companies such as Smithfield and KFC—which took heat for once selling its carcinogenic chicken in pink buckets to “support” Susan G. Komen for the Cure—aren’t just hurting animals. They’re causing people to suffer as well. If we want to ward off breast cancer and save animals and the environment, too, we must see pinkwashing efforts for what they really are—and opt for vegan foods instead of animal-based ones.

The saturated fat, excess protein, hormones and other harmful substances found in animal-based foods raise a person’s risk for breast cancer. A study involving more than 900,000 women indicates that women who eat more than one and a half servings of beef, lamb or pork a day in their 20s, 30s and 40s are twice as likely to develop breast cancer as women who eat less than three servings of meat a week.

One serving of beef is about the size of a deck of cards. Two slices of Canadian bacon or three strips of regular bacon count as one serving of pork. A serving isn’t much meat, but it’s much more than we need, and many Americans eat more than two servings—7.5 ounces of meat or more—every day.

A recently released study from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu suggests that premenopausal women who eat higher amounts of meat have higher levels of serum estrogen, a female sex hormone that boosts the risk for breast cancer.

Dairy products, which reportedly account for 60 to 80 percent of the estrogens that many women consume, also accelerate the growth of cancer cells. According to Dr. Jane A. Plant, a British scientist, cancer survivor and author of The No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program, “Undoubtedly, the best anti-cancer diet would be to go completely vegan.”

Wholesome plant-based foods are generally low in saturated fat and rich in fiber and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. The American Cancer Society not only encourages people to eat healthy plant foods but also states that soy foods can reduce your risk for breast cancer.

Anne McTiernan, a researcher with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, says that women can prevent breast cancer by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. Research shows that the average vegan is 18 percent leaner than his or her meat-eating counterpart and that vegans are 40 percent less likely to develop cancer.

Continuing to eat unhealthy foods—even if those foods do come in pretty pink packages—and hoping to beat cancer at the same time is folly. So whenever you see pink this month, consider it a reminder to “eat green.” If you want to buy something pink, opt for Pink Lady apples, pink grapefruit, pink rhubarb or other pink produce. After all, October isn’t just National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also Vegetarian Awareness Month.

War on Women

By Mary Bennett

There are only a few places in the world where women have some semblance of equality. The U.S. is one of them, thanks to the brave work of feminist scholars and researchers who helped bring about this seismic shift in our cultural understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman. Moving toward more egalitarian relationships hasn’t been an easy transformation, but the gains made have greatly enhanced the well being of American families and institutions and it has also given hope to others in the world struggling for equality.

The so-called “war on women” playing out in the media has served to heighten awareness of potential threats to women’s rights. Powerful coalitions between religious conservative groups, including Catholics, with the blessing of the Vatican, are working together over issues relating to sexuality in particular. Adding to the concern is the recent attacks on women religious in the U.S. who have been ordered to reform their statutes, programs and affiliations and conform to “the teachings and discipline of the Church.” However, before you dismiss this matter as a Catholic problem with little consequence for the rest of us, please consider that the Catholic Church has worldwide influence over the lives of women throughout the world and many of them are depending on that influence to hopefully bring some semblance of equality into their lives too!

And, what are these statutes, programs and affiliations these women religious have engaged in that have given rise to so much criticism? They are programs supporting impoverished Americans, antiwar efforts, social justice issues including abolishing the death penalty, health care for all people, etc., and, according to the Vatican, not enough on abortion, contraception and gay marriage. And, heaven forbid, some of their affiliations were in support of the ordination of women! Now that will get you in trouble with Rome!

What women religious have done is really quite extraordinary for they moved way beyond outdated patriarchal constraints, and transformed themselves into models of egalitarian non-hierarchal communities. And unlike their brothers in Rome they have applied what Vatican II encouraged 50 years ago, more collegiality and a decentralization of power.

Perhaps Rome has demonstrated something here that is worth noting, because the way in which they stepped in without regard for the sensibilities or accomplishments of these women, with such remarkable disregard for their feelings and needs, serves as a chilling example of patriarchal thinking and entitlement and how it leads to abuse.

Although the Catholic Church has never been a democratic institution, the recommendations of Vatican II for greater collegiality and shared decision-making were an invitation to at least “open the window” in that direction. It is not surprising that Rome would have problems with the idea of shared decision-making and shut the window. Believing in their own superiority, most men in the world have done the same. One of the problems with power is that it is so hard to let go of. This is the same type of resistance that occurred in so many families throughout the U.S.

Growing up in Worcester in an Italian American family, I recall my father struggling with this shift in thinking that questioned his authority as head of the family as he insisted that he had to be in charge because he reasoned someone has to make the final decision. To his credit when his three daughters questioned this logic with hands on hips insisting on shared decision making between he and our mother, he changed.

Whether you are for or against abortion, contraception or gay marriage – we need to ask why conservative religious groups place so much emphasis on matters of sexuality? Abortion and gay marriage in particular have rallied so many conservatives. Yes, these issues are part of what they believe to be true. The question is, why isn’t there the same fervor and concern for issues related to nonviolence? Jesus was all about nonviolence. Love of neighbor. Sell all you have and give it to the poor. You would think war making, economic injustice, corporate greed, climate change and its catastrophic consequences, to name a few, would get the attention of conservative religious institutions. Perhaps the focus on sexuality and “traditional family values” may have more to do with a longing to return to the past, where male dominance was the rule?

Nonviolence and equality go hand in hand. What happens to women when cultural, familial and religious values do not promote equality? Women suffer. Some of the horrors include acid in her face, beatings, coercion, and female circumcision. She can’t drive, she can’t go out, and she can’t speak. You know this list.

Inequality also harms women’s psyche. As a young woman coming out of the Worcester public school system in 66 career options were very limited for women and there were constant reminders of my inferior status. A few examples include my guidance counselor who said, “You don’t need math because you are a girl.” Getting a job meant I had to endure the humiliation of being asked if I intended to get married and if I did would I use the pill. At home it was clear that my father was in charge (it was a slow transformation for all of us) and at church a male hierarchy would not allow women to come near the altar. In so many ways, like so many women I put myself last and believed I was less. It is shocking to remember how much I believed these cultural messages. 46 years later, it is shocking to note that most women in the world probably still do.

However, the real problem IS NOT MEN! The real problem is power. Women are just as likely to abuse power and act with aggression if they have the power to do so.

We have been studying women’s anger in Worcester at UMass Medical Center. There is ample research on interpersonal violence showing that if there is aggression in a relationship it is bilateral –unfortunately, women are “manning up,” and acting tough as men has done. This is bad news for women, because men are generally more physically powerful, which means women are still suffering and dying due to male aggression. The bilateral nature of the aggression suggests that women feel more empowered in their relationships and they are also using aggression just as men have done to try and get their needs met. In other words, it seems that equality has given women an equal opportunity to be aggressive. We certainly do not want this to be the end product of women’s rights!

There is also evidence that the perpetrator suffers as much as the victim. Acting out with verbal or physical aggression will generally cause an increase in cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, stomach acid, etc. We are in fight or flight mode and this causes stress to our vital organs and we suffer psychologically. Did you know that almost 60% of men and women coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s moderate to severe PTSD! We are just beginning to catch on to the fact that the human species may not be designed to do harm!

Equality is a fundamental human need – women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, Palestinian and Israeli, Bahraini, Egyptian, Libyan, environmental justice, animal rights, etc. All beings have an intrinsic value and they have their own needs, which also means there will be conflicting needs. Power struggles are inevitable and using aggression to try and win the argument, to make others comply by force is ultimately self-defeating. Conflict resolution skills / nonviolent communication / anger management – these skills are giving men and women the tools they need to navigate conflict safely.

We can’t afford to wait for Rome, Wall Street, Corporations or the Dictator, to change. The church belongs to the people of God – that was also recognized by the Second Vatican Counsel. We the people are the 99% who own the government, not the other way around – The Occupy Wall Street Movement showed us how to remind those in power of that fact with their awe inspiring, radically egalitarian, non-hierarchal and nonviolent methods.

We have other examples in Worcester that are also showing and teaching us how. The Center for Nonviolent Solutions in Worcester is an amazing resource and Professor Michael True, who helped found it, has been one of Worcester’s most preeminent teachers of nonviolence. The Goods for Guns program founded by Dr. Michael Hirsh is another. The Quakers at Worcester Friends Meeting House, with their emphasis on the peace testimony, The SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker House, along with Scott and Claire Schaeffer-Duffy and Annette Rafferty who started Abby’s House in Worcester and Rose Tirella who had the guts to start this newspaper and keeps those in power locally accountable. That’s just a few. Worcester is an awesome place to work for peace.

Clark University students make a difference in Sierra Leone

By Ashley Millette

In early January 10 Clark University students headed to Sierra Leone, Africa, on a trip that would prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Accompanied by David Jordan, the CEO of the Seven Hills Foundation, and several of his employees, the group departed for Sierra Leone on January 7 and stayed for 11 days. While there, they partnered with Fresh Hope Ministries and volunteered at two orphanages, a women’s health clinic, and other centers designed to aid youth and women.

Sierra Leone, one of the smaller countries in Africa, also has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. One in five women will die while giving birth and one in four children will die before their fifth birthday. Fortunately, many organizations are trying to build clinics in remote villages where otherwise no health care would be available.

Amelia Angevine, one of the Clark students who travelled to Sierra Leone, described one of the remote clinics her team visited; “The clinic was two miles in the woods and had a straw thatched roof and tarp floor. It was so simple but it runs so well.” Many woman and children would go to the clinic to for malaria medication and testing. Continue reading Clark University students make a difference in Sierra Leone