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Women’s Health

The Scientist Who Found Her Voice by Listening to Workers

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Teniope Adewumi-Gunn at a hair salon during her time at Black Women for Wellness (BWW) training and contacting hair care professionals in South Los Angeles, 2015

UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health

Growing up, Teniope Adewumi-Gunn remembered having three career options: lawyer, doctor, or engineer. “Take one of these paths and make the American dream come true,” she says, noting that this is a familiar expectation of many immigrant children. Adewumi-Gunn, who left Nigeria in elementary school and eventually settled with her parents and sister in the southern Californian suburb of Corona, made a commitment. But during her prepared program at California State University, San Bernardino, she began to shift her focus from the patients to the practitioners around her.

It wasn’t just that she didn’t like blood. Adewumi-Gunn was also interested in the topic of occupational health and safety, which she began to grapple with after switching gears to study environmental health sciences.

“It was the first time I was really taught that what you do at work affects your health,” she says. “It resonated with me. My mother is a nurse, she works long hours, she is always on her feet – and I would see how much that burdened her. The idea that there are people whose job it is to take care of these people fascinated me. “

Adewumi-Gunn – who would later join NRDC, where she focuses on the intersection of climate change and worker health – set out on a new path as an industrial hygienist, a profession that includes scientists and engineers trained to do the Identify and address problems – health and safety risks in the workplace, from poor air quality to direct exposure to disease or hazardous materials. Along the way, she made another critical course shift decision during her Masters degree at UCLA and chose to seize the opportunity to work with a community-based organization through the university’s internship program in occupational medicine.

Occupational hygiene monitoring for dust and noise pollution at a recycling plant in Oregon, 2017

Courtesy Teniope Adewumi-Gunn

In 2014, Adewumi-Gunn partnered with Black Women for Wellness (BWW), a South Los Angeles nonprofit that focuses on the health and wellbeing of Black women and girls. As part of the internship, she interviewed black salon workers who are disproportionately affected by harmful chemicals lurking in the hair products they use on clients and themselves, often without ventilation. She listened to their experiences – from managing eye and skin irritation, to suffering from breathing problems, to making decisions about wearing personal protective equipment, a decision that could worry customers – and shared her scientific knowledge about the safety of the products . Many contained endocrine disrupting chemicals such as parabens and phthalates – chemicals found in higher concentrations in black women compared to white women. Approximately 9 percent of the women surveyed by Adewumi-Gunn and her BWW colleagues reported problems related to reproductive health.

The research led to a widespread report that showed that black women’s hair products were among the most toxic on the market, containing chemicals linked to more than 100 health problems, from headaches to respiratory problems to chemical burns. Adewumi-Gunn also published her first peer-reviewed journal article on the subject.

That experience was powerful and rewarding: as a black woman who grew up in similar salons for hours, Adewumi-Gunn felt a connection with the workers and their customers. In the drawing room, a place full of laughter and the comfort of a family member’s living room, Adewumi-Gunn learned about business building, community and giving. “Working on salon security was a way to give back to a community that is so beneficial to many blacks,” she says. “They deserve greater protection and supervision over the products they use and the right to know what is in them in order to make informed decisions.”

As she spent more time with the women in salons, she began to get involved in political advocacy. During her PhD, she oversaw the BWW’s environmental justice work, including working with scientists from environmental organizations across the country (including future NRDC colleagues). Eventually, that endorsement led to the passage of a law in California to protect workers by requiring manufacturers to list ingredients on the labels of professional salon products.

Inside the Issues Interview with Alex Cohen on the Impact of Beauty Care Products on Black Women and Salon Professionals, 2019

Courtesy Teniope Adewumi-Gunn

“Teni was able to speak to the community, to researchers and scientists and to politicians and to feel equally comfortable in all of these rooms. It’s a special gift, ”says Nourbese Flint, Managing Director of the Black Women for Wellness Action Project, who worked closely with Adewumi-Gunn during her time at BWW.

Dr. Kevin Riley, one of Adewumi-Gunn’s mentors at UCLA, also highlights her deep commitment to academic integrity while working to meet the needs of the community. “She was able to combine this technical hygiene training with taking into account the everyday realities and concerns of the community,” he says, noting that she was an important bridge in finding ways to bring technical and scientific language into one like that Understand people and be able to respond to them.

Today at NRDC she is focused on the climate hazards workers face, particularly extreme heat, and develops ways to support them, including through state and federal safety standards. Extreme heat is a particularly pressing problem, according to Adewumi-Gunn, because it affects so many – everyone from farm workers to postal workers and electricians to teachers, especially among BIPOC and immigrant communities. As highlighted in a June 2020 NRDC report, On the Front Lines: Climate Change Threatens the Health of America’s Workers, conservative estimates put heat in the United States killed and nearly 780 between 1992 and 2016 Made or injured 70,000 others. The numerous illnesses they suffered from included heat stroke and heart attacks.

At the same time, Adewumi-Gunn notes that these effects can be avoided very easily. “We can resolve this pretty quickly if we have the right guidelines and if employers, lawyers and policy makers listen to workers,” she says. First and foremost, a federal, enforceable heat safety standard is essential. Critically and more generally, support for workers’ right to union formation and collective bargaining could help achieve significant protection in the workplace, an issue that Adewumi-Gunn is passionate about as the daughter of a union nurse.

Community awareness event following the Black Women for Wellness Natural Evolutions report in Los Angeles, 2016

Courtesy Teniope Adewumi-Gunn

For her part, Adewumi-Gunn has provided technical expertise on heat standards for workers in Oregon, shared recommendations with OSHA officials to strengthen their heat stress campaign documents, and introduced scientists and government on heat safety to officials and labor advocates across western Europe United States. Adewumi-Gunn also represents NRDC along with senior attorney Juanita Constible on the Heat Stress Network, a coalition focused on passing federal and state laws on work-related heat stress.

Adewumi-Gunn, who is approaching her one-year anniversary at NRDC in August, has heard the experiences of workers exposed to the heat in California, including those who spend their days in warehouses, car washes or the day-to-day laborers. She communicates closely and frequently with other advocates, researchers, and labor centers to update her research as well as any collective decision-making processes.

“One of the greatest things I’ve learned from all of my work is that you don’t really know what’s going on until you ask the people who are affected or the people on the ground,” she says. “You can come in with your preconceived ideas, but if you don’t have these conversations with people, you won’t get the nuances.”

As one of the few black women in her field of environmental expertise, Adewumi-Gunn prides itself on being in a place where she can bring together her academic background and passion for community maintenance. “For a long time I thought that as a scientist and industrial hygienist, which is very technical, I couldn’t be a lawyer. That meant I couldn’t have a voice, ”she says. “But you can’t just have science. You can’t just let the community work. And you can’t just let politics do the work. Nothing we do is in a silo. Everything has to be interwoven in order to change something. “

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Women’s Health

This non-profit is closing the gap between women and fertility awareness

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Feminae Vero educates women about the truths of their reproductive health and how it relates to faith.

Mary Kate Knorr did not expect that she would stand up for the unborn child to raise awareness of the fertility of women. But the longer she worked for the cause of life, the more meaningful it made.

“I’ve seen that the pro-life movement hasn’t done enough to address the huge problem we have in our country and around the world with artificial hormonal birth control,” Knorr said in an interview with Aleteia. “That was a big gap for me – and I felt personally called to address it.”

That call led her to found Feminae Vero, a nonprofit dedicated to fertility education and other means of supporting holistic women’s health, with a particular focus on the connection between faith and health. Knorr said “Feminae Vero exists to serve, educate and evangelize girls and women about the truths of their reproductive health and their connection to our Catholic faith.”

Feminae Vero is a new company for Knorr. Her background is in politics and pro-life, and she served for many years as the executive director of Illinois Right to Life. She launched Feminae Vero in January 2021.

Women will find a wide variety of services at Feminae Vero, including the following:

  • Education about fertility
  • Doula services
  • Healing retreats
  • Representation of interests with elected officials and medical professionals

So far, the backbone of their work has been fertility education and it seems that this is the area where the organization can make the greatest impact.

Two projects that are currently in progress are particularly exciting. One of these projects is the creation of a curriculum for middle and high school girls to learn more about their reproductive health and its importance in Catholic education. This curriculum has the potential to be wonderful empowerment and usefulness for girls at an important stage of development.

As Catholics, we know that faith and honest science go hand in hand. ” said Knorr. “It is one facet of our philosophy to go ahead with science to teach girls and women about their bodies and then move on with the truths of faith to ultimately attain evangelization.”

It might seem strange to think that fertility education would lead to evangelization, but Knorr saw a real connection between the two. During her time in the pro-life movement, she made one key observation: “Most of my colleagues who have previously made an election have had a spiritual conversion in addition to their ideological one.” She said.

As they stood up for life, they also became Christians and, in many cases, Catholic. “Abortion is not entirely a logical problem,” said Knorr. “It’s a heart problem too.”

The second project is a curriculum for seminarians and clergy. “A future goal is to develop a program for seminarians and clergy that enables them to better support girls and women from a ministerial point of view”, said Knorr. This project sounds like a critical force for good: sometimes there is a discrepancy between what the church teaches about women’s health and what local clergy understand about that teaching, so this project will help bridge that gap to bridge.

There are many things in the life of modern women that are physically and spiritually toxic. Knorr hopes Feminae Vero will be a refreshingly holistic and positive resource.

“One of my main goals in founding Feminae Vero was to offer women a healing hand.” She said.

There are so many voices in society today who have deeply hurt women by lying to them about their origins and God’s plan for their bodies. Through our healing retreats and the service and education we want to offer women, our goal is to take women by the hand and initiate them into a healing process.

Ultimately, that healing comes from Christ. “It is the Lord who does the healing,” she explains.

That is why we place so much emphasis on evangelization as the primary goal. We believe that when shared with prayer and compassion, the truth leads women to Jesus Christ – and once they meet the Lord, their healing will be inevitable.

Knorr wants women to know that God created them with profound purpose and purpose. “The objectification and abuse of women in our culture is a result of human decline,” she explains, “but the theology of the body of John Paul II tells us that we are meant for more.”

Her goal for Feminae Vero is to help women discover that purpose and intention. She says, “Women can find such immense healing in the arms of Jesus Christ.”

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Women’s Health

Task force tackles problems that slow women’s success in workforce | Business News

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Cora Faith Walker, Chief Policy Officer of St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page, speaking at a community meeting on Tuesday. September 14, 2021. She leads the advancement of the District Board’s political priorities by providing an integrated approach to policy development and external engagement.



Childcare. Wage gaps. Education. Health care.

These topics were included during a town hall in Florissant on Tuesday, September 14th, to gather input from local women on topics and factors preventing them from fully participating, moving forward, or being successful among the workforce.

The lunchtime event was organized by United Women’s Empowerment (United WE) and the Missouri Women’s Economic Development Task Force at the city’s Civic Center.

Wendy Doyle, United WE CEO, said the organization is hosting a number of these town halls across the state to provide policy recommendations to leaders and lawmakers that will be sent to them in late 2021.

She said her organization’s goal is to collect the qualitative data from women to link it to quantitative research on working women in Missouri. Some of this data includes statistics such as that 44% of all Missouri counties have no recognized childcare facilities and that of the total Missouri women population, 15.4% are below the poverty line, compared with 12.9% of men. The organization also found that 18% of Missourians living in poverty were under 18 years of age.

Wendy Doyle, United WE CEO, said

“Above all, we wanted to have informed conversations as we approach the pandemic recovery because we know women have been severely affected.” Wendy Doyle, CEO of United WE, called. “And we just want to hear their stories.”

Dawn Gipson, Diversity Director at Centene, spoke during the small group sessions about how the pandemic is doing for their truly enlarged women lifting heavy loads both outside and inside the home. She also noted that people may be scared of going back to work after working from home for over a year.

“So there is this fear of going back to the office, but the focus is on ‘We need to get back to normal,'” she said, noting that women and people of color may not want to interact on a daily basis with people who are not tolerant or respectful of people’s identity.

Cora Faith-Walker lives in Ferguson and is Chief Policy Officer of the St. Louis County Executive’s Office. She agreed with Gipson and said the shutdown was so much more than just a shutdown.

“People think we can just snap our fingers and go back to 2019,” she said, adding that she almost felt like she forgot how to small talk while working remotely Office involved.



Dawn Gipson

Dawn Gipson



Finally, the small groups ended their conversation for a full group discussion that addressed the main barriers encountered during the small discussions: access to affordable childcare; same salary; Access to adequate health care; Access to equity; Teach children at home or help with their virtual education; and try to keep the household together even when working outside the home.

“Above all, we wanted to have informed conversations as we approach the pandemic recovery because we know women have been severely affected,” said Wendy Doyle, CEO of United WE. “And we just want to hear their stories.”

United WE’s November report said that due to the decline in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri could potentially lose 48% of its childcare offering, meaning there is only one place available in a licensed daycare for six children.

Faith-Walker later addressed the challenges faced by the county executive in obtaining pandemic aid to childcare providers.

“Another type of challenge we had with vendors was probably the amount of technical support that was sometimes required to take advantage of opportunities like the PSA programs,” she said.

The organization held two talks before Tuesday – one in Joplin and one in Sedalia. Several others are planned, including October 6 in Kansas City; October 14 in Kirksville; and October 28th, held virtually, and will highlight the needs of women of color.

For more information or to register, visit united-we.org/mo-town-halls.

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Women’s Health

Notts dad created emotion posters and wrote book after son suffered mental health problems during pandemic

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A father of three from Nottingham has set a goal of raising £ 10,000 this year to buy Christmas gifts for cared children.

David Rogers, 50, first started his charity mission when his son suffered from mental symptoms during the pandemic and felt he wanted to do something to help other children who have no one to talk to.

The designer, who lives near Newark and owns a shop in Nottingham city center, first set out to create emotional posters to help young people open up.

David Rogers has his own children’s book “Have You Heard of Jelly Bean Juice? to raise money for children in care

“During the pandemic, our son Milo, who is 10 years old, had some mental health problems,” explains David.

“He was able to open up to me and we got support, but I thought of other children who may not be able to speak easily, or their parents who, through no fault of their own, are not.” sure how to communicate about these things.

“We set out to research and design posters that would help children point to the faces that are sad or angry, that most reflect their feelings, just to start a conversation.

“We sold them to raise some money for charity, but we also gave them away to schools, parents, teachers and children.

“They have had a storm and we have had really great feedback on how they have helped kids get into conversation, even if it’s the smallest kind, it’s a start and hopefully it will make a difference.

“We have now also made posters for teenagers.”

David and his company created posters to help children identify their emotions and speak

David and his company created posters to help children identify their emotions and speak

David’s charity efforts began a few years ago when he decided to raise money for children in social institutions on Christmas Day. He would get their Christmas lists and go to work raising the money to fulfill them.

Last year he was able to help three homes, but this year he has bigger ambitions and has published his own children’s book to pay for Christmas gifts in 10 different children’s homes.

“For the past 4 years I have tried to give children a wonderful Christmas Day in social institutions. They are asked to give me a list of how lucky most children are, and then I use the money to buy gifts. We also use whatever is left to help blackboards, women’s shelters and gifts, toiletries and groceries in the run up to Christmas.

“I helped a children’s home for the first three years, last year I managed to help three, but this year my dream is to help ten.”

To achieve his goal, David needed a plan – and then he remembered a children’s story he had written that languished on his laptop.

“I wrote the story for my son for fun, but I’m a designer, not a writer, so I’ve never done anything with it,” says David, who is also the father of Lewis, 16, and Charlie, 6.

“But when I was thinking about how to raise money, the book seemed like a good idea because I knew I could have it designed and printed through my business, keep everything local, and not pass these costs on.

“It has been produced to a really high standard, is beautifully illustrated and printed in Nottingham, and every single penny that is raised goes straight to the charity campaign.”

The book, Have You Heard of Jelly Bean Juice? was inspired by bath times with his son when they mixed up different hand washes, resulting in strange and wonderful colors and a mixture that smelled like jelly beans.

Ever heard of Jelly Bean Juice?  Is for sale to raise money for cared children this Christmas

Ever heard of Jelly Bean Juice? Is for sale to raise money for cared children this Christmas

“It’s a bit of fun with a group of animal lovers at the center of a party, including a Siberian moose named Bartholomew. At one point an accident happens and jelly bean juice is spilled all over the place. Then jelly bean juice is created and one of the guests decides Mindy, whose father’s name is Mr Big Shot, that they can market and sell it. “

David and his wife Annabelle have been selling the books through word of mouth and their Instagram accounts for two months and have already raised £ 6,500.

But David wants to hit his £ 10,000 goal by the end of November.

“I firmly believe that these children can have the same experiences at Christmas as other children and I want to help more,” he says, a crucial time for women fleeing their homes with children. We will also support boards and, if possible, charities for the homeless. “

David’s wife Annabelle, who is also a designer, has supported him with all aspects of publishing and selling the book through her popular Instagram account @designermumetc and David himself can be found at @shopperdave_.

The book costs 8 pounds including postage and packaging and is already on its way all over the world.

“We got two orders from Florida, that’s great, and we’ve now sold around 300 books in total.

“It was very important to me to create something good quality so that for a charity donation people would get a really nice product and so far the buyers seem to love the book which is a good feeling.

“But it will feel better when I reach my goal and can give these children a Merry Christmas in 10 social institutions. That is the most important thing.”

As part of their charity work, David and his company also produce luxury tea towels with maps of popular UK vacation destinations such as North Norfolk, and they also sell the Emotions posters for children and teenagers.

Have you heard of Jelly Bean Juice? Go to Instagram and send a message to @designermumetc or @shopperdave_

Or send an email to david@wearepure.net

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