Odette Alarcon '53

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1972

Odette Alarcon ’53
Sex Educator


Odette Alarcon, originally from Guatemala, is a specialist in health and sex education. After graduating from Wellesley in 1953 with a chemistry degree, she earned an M.D. from George Washington University. From there, Dr. Alarcon served as an assistant professor of medicine and physical diagnosis at the General Hospital and the University de San Carlos in Guatemala City.

Since 1961, Dr. Alarcon has been busy helping to alleviate rapid overpopulation, malnutrition, and illiteracy in her native country. She has worked as the head of the health education program at the University del Valle de Guatemala and as a consultant to the World Council of Churches, the Ecuadorian Center for Family Life Education, the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, and the Agency for International Development. She even planned the first Seminar on Human Development and Sex Education for Central America and Panama.

Dr. Alarcon came back to the United States in 1977 to complete her residency at Beth Israel Hospital and Massachusetts Mental Health Center in adult and child psychiatry. She remained at Massachusetts Mental Health Center to direct a unit to provide services for Hispanic patients in the Greater Boston area. During this time, she also taught psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

She returned to Wellesley in 1993 to work on a four-year project at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College. Her project, for which she was the director and co-investigator, studied Puerto Rican adolescents growing up on the U.S. mainland and their development of self and ethnic identity. Her work was named one of the three best projects financed by the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.

Dr. Alarcon has three children: Lorena, Mariella and Claudia.


For more information about the Alumnae Achievement Awards, please contact us by email at specialprograms@alum.wellesley.edu or call the Alumnae Association at 781-283-2331.