Women’s Day: its impact on health care in Massachusetts

Women’s Day is a good opportunity to remember that women are an essential part of the healthcare industry and their contributions are critical to the success and effectiveness of the sector.

They have been involved in healthcare for centuries and have traditionally played an important role in caring for the sick and injured, both at home and in healthcare institutions and organizations.

They constitute an important part of the health care and caregiving workforce.

Celebrating Women’s Day

One of the most significant benefits of having women working in the healthcare industry is the diversity of perspectives and experiences they bring.

Thanks to their excellent communication skills, essential in healthcare, they connect with patients and their families in a compassionate, empathetic and effective way, ensuring that everyone feels heard, understood and valued.

Yet women are still underrepresented in leadership positions in the healthcare industry.

That is why today, on Women’s Day, we highlight and promote the participation of women who, with their professionalism and dedication, successfully contribute to this sector that impacts communities.

Women’s Day: Magnolia Contreras – Vice President, Community Health at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

With over 20 years of experience in healthcare organizations in leadership and strategic positions.

Currently in charge of evidence-based cancer early detection, screening and prevention programs to help improve cancer care outcomes for medically underserved populations.

Community-driven leadership

With close community-based leadership, along with her team, Magnolia works with city and state health departments, community partners, and Boston-based coalitions to assess and monitor residents’ cancer control needs.

Educating to reduce disparities

Its focus is community education for the purpose of:

  • Eliminate disparities in breast, colon and skin cancer.
  • Educating diverse populations about tobacco risk.
  • Preventing and screening for human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Strengthening the support system for medically underserved populations.

Magnolia is also a member of the Board of Health Resources in Action, Lynn Economic Development Industrial Corp and an ambassador for Eastern Bank Corporation.

She has been an adjunct faculty member at Salem State University Graduate School of Social Work, Simmons College and Boston College.

She has been widely honored through numerous awards and recognitions for her professional and volunteer efforts.

Women’s Day: Catalina Lopez-Ospina – Vice President at Project Bread

She is Colombian and has lived in Boston for more than 15 years.

Catalina has developed her professional career mainly in the government sector in issues related to food security programs.

She is currently part of the management team of Project Bread, one of the charitable and non-profit organizations in Massachusetts.

This organization’s mission is to connect the community to reliable sources of food.

She also advocates for policies that enable access to food to end hunger in vulnerable areas.

Fighting food insecurity

Food insecurity is the cause that has been at the center of her struggle for the past 10 years.

Along these lines, she has worked at Serving Ourselves, the Office of Homeless Services, and the Mayor’s Food Initiatives.

She launched the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) in Boston, inaugurated the Boston Food Access Council, and secured private funding to pilot two of the city’s major food access programs, one in close collaboration with Project Bread, “Boston Summer Eats.”

Women’s Day: solutions that address the root of problems

Catalina is convinced that solutions to any social problem have to come from the bottom up.

For this reason and as part of her management at Project Bread, she aims to bring people who have experienced food insecurity to design and implement solutions with their experience.

The idea is that they address the root of the problem and are best adapted to the needs of the different communities.

Community needs are at the center of planning, implementation and decision making to comprehensively address food insecurity challenges.

Catalina has a strong commitment to developing different channels that suit the cultures, race/ethnicity and traditions of the society to empower it. For her, fighting food insecurity is a personal goal.

Women’s Day: Leonor Buitrago, Diversity Outreach Manager, MA/NH Alzheimer’s Association

She has 15 years with the Alzheimer’s Association, (10 in the MA/NH Chapter), leading initiatives and raising awareness about Alzheimer and dementia.

This in order to spread the word about the services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association at no cost to families affected by the disease.

Impacting the Hispanic Community

Alzheimer or other dementia affects millions of people and approximately 13% of Hispanics age 65 and older have the disease and have only an 18% chance of being diagnosed.

This coupled with the burden this condition places on family members and caregivers, leading to poor health outcomes.

Leonor has successfully led the Association’s programs, focused primarily on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and promoting brain health to reduce the risk of dementia.

She also seeks to support caregivers with caregiving consultations, educational workshops and our 24/7 Care Line, all of which are free of charge to families.

Making the disease visible to reduce stigma

Additionally, the Association works in collaboration with other organizations and government agencies to advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

It also has projects with research centers to improve inclusion in traditional populations underrepresented in Alzheimer’s disease research.

By making visible the issues faced by people with Alzheimer’s, it raises awareness and educates the public about the importance of early detection, treatment and management of the disease.

It also promotes policy changes by facilitating care and support services, improved access to medical care and greater protection against discrimination.

At My Health Fair we believe it is essential to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women in all aspects of life.

Women are making significant contributions to their communities through their work in a wide range of fields.

This includes everything from education to healthcare, entrepreneurship and public service.

These contributions are critical to the growth and development of societies around the world.

They also help ensure that women’s voices are heard and their perspectives are represented.