The Job Description (and highlights reel)

This is the spiel I’ve found myself repeating in response to the ever-prevalent post-grad prompt, “So what are you doing now exactly?”

As a woman’s health advocate at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, NC, I have two main jobs.

The Job Description (and highlights reel)

Anita Hill

One is supporting the work of a women and children’s safety coalition of local organizations including the hospital, care providers, Asheville City Schools, the YWCA, Pisgah Legal Services, Our Voice the local sexual assault organization, and Helpmate the domestic violence agency. We are working on eliminating sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse in our community in order to make Buncombe County, as my boss often puts it, “the safest place in the universe for women and children.” I know this tagline might sound like a comic-book thought bubble, more like the kind of thing a superhero says after nabbing the bad guy than a community group mission statement, but in this case it is also an earnest goal in which this group believes. And they’re (now, we’re!) doing important work to get there. More on those efforts to come in future posts… (Did I hook you yet?)

The second aim of my fellowship is to develop an advocacy portfolio of top issues affecting the health of Western North Carolina women. In addition to scouring news articles and databases (an activity in which I’m well-versed – thank you, liberal arts education), I am reaching out to professionals working in women’s health in the region, asking them about the issues they see in their work. Eventually I’ll have a top five (or so) list of issues and compelling ways to talk about them combining data and personal stories.

So that’s my mandate. Some of my most memorable experiences so far include:

The Job Description (and highlights reel)

My Turn on the Rope Swing

  • Helping Our VOICE, Asheville’s sexual assault resource center, host a lecture by Anita Hill. She’s best known for accusing Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his nomination hearings for the Supreme Court in 1991 but is also a law professor in women’s studies at Brandeis University.  If you don’t know about her or have forgotten, please google this amazing woman!!
  • Talking with the Asheville doctor who provided abortions to women for decades: whose building was bombed and threatened with package supposedly containing Anthrax, whose patients loved her (they often said, “We didn’t expect you to be so nice”), and who closed her doors in July.
  • Visiting Davidson graduate, peace-corps alum, and community activist, Monroe Gilmour who invited me to his home in Beautiful Black Mountain to talk about women’s health, to eat lunch, and to have a go on the rope-swing in his backyard.
  • Attending an HIV/AIDS conference in Winston-Salem!
  • Helping throw a fashion show in which local designers created pieces made from
    condoms (below are a few of my favorites).

Big thanks to the many people supporting Davidson Impact Fellows including, in my case, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Be sure to keep checking out this blog to see what my fellow fellows and I are up to as the year progresses.

The Job Description (and highlights reel)

Dorothy Poses

The Job Description (and highlights reel)

One of the Most Popular Dresses