Campus Event Aims to Change the Face of Medicine and STEM

Campus Event Aims to Change the Face of Medicine and STEM
Photo provided by Film Still: “Black Women in Medicine”
May 2, 2017

On May 6, Wellesley will bring together medical and health care professionals, students, and one groundbreaking filmmaker for an event that aims to increase diversity within the medicine and STEM fields. Wellesley is hosting the Massachusetts premiere of Changing the Face of Medicine: Black Women in Medicine, a landmark documentary on women of color in the medical field. The screening and the events that follow it will take place in Tishman Commons in Lulu Campus Center on Saturday, May 6, from 9 am to 2 pm. Registration is highly recommended.

Black Women in Medicine was directed by Crystal R. Emery, founder of the Changing the Face of STEM Initiative, which is part of URU The Right To Be organization. The initiative is part of a larger movement meant to increase the number of women and people of color within STEM fields in general (including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Acclaimed by health care professionals, Black Women in Medicine is the first film to shine a spotlight on Black women in the health professions, who make up a small but growing segment of the medical community from medical students to established physicians. The women featured tell their own stories of overcoming racism and sexism in order to persevere and triumph in the medical field. They ultimately come together to share their hopes for the future career possibilities for young women of color in medicine and health care.

“At Wellesley, we know the great value of the visibility of women, including women of color, in traditionally male-dominated fields,” said President Paula Johnson, “and how young women can be inspired and encouraged to reach for their dreams when they see themselves mirrored in the roles they aspire to. That idea is at the heart of why it was so important to host this film and this event.”

The Wellesley College community is excited to welcome Emery to Wellesley and is very supportive of the film’s message. “It is vitally important for all of us to have opportunities for inspiration, encouragement, and meaningful connection,” said Dr. Vanessa Britto, an internist and director of the Wellesley College Health Service. “This initiative, and the documentary in particular, are examples of those kinds of opportunities for women of color—whether you are dreaming of medicine, training in medicine, or practicing medicine. Those of us who are in these fields have an obligation to nurture and support the next generation of female physicians, leaders, researchers, and scholars in medicine and STEM as well as to encourage each other.” 

Along with the screening, there will be a conversation with Emery and breakout discussions with notable Black physicians and professional facilitators. Area physicians featured in the documentary will also be signing copies of Emery’s book Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine, a photo-essay companion to the documentary.

“Wellesley College has been inspiring some of our nation’s leading women for centuries,” said Emery. “What a fitting setting for Changing the Face of STEM, which aims to get young people to aim high and then even higher. I’m honored to have been invited and am looking forward to meeting students, joined by such accomplished doctors.”

The event is organized by the Diva Docs, a Greater Boston-based networking/social group of female physicians. Britto explained that Diva Docs is a “touchstone group that embraces, encourages, and inspires female physicians of African descent in greater Boston in their roles as professionals, women, and sisters.”

Register for free.

Story by Christine Roberts ’19