10th Annual Barbara Seaman Awards
Thank you for joining the Network on Monday, June 12, 2017, as we celebrated the 10th Annual Barbara Seaman Awards for Activism in Women’s Health. We were pleased to present awards to our 2017 Lifetime Honoree, Susan F. Wood, the Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health and an Associate Professor of Health Policy and of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University, and our Emerging Activist Honoree, Renee Bracey Sherman, Senior Public Affairs Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds. Our guest speaker for the event was Monica Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
The Barbara Seaman Awards for Activism in Women’s Health were established in honor of Barbara Seaman, a Network founding member, after her untimely death in 2008. The Awards recognize work that exemplifies the spirit and approach of Barbara, including her unwavering insistence on listening to women, her dogged determination to see abuses corrected and her bridge building between generations.
Lifetime Award Honoree
Susan F. Wood
Susan F. Wood, the Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health where her work and public advocacy focuses on the use of scientific knowledge in public policy. She’s also an Associate Professor of Health Policy and of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University. She previously was Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health at the FDA, and directed the FDA Office of Women’s Health from 2000-2005 when she resigned on principle over continued delay of approval of emergency contraception over-the-counter. Prior to her time at FDA, Dr. Wood was Director of Policy and Program Development at the US Dept of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. From 1990-1995, Dr. Wood worked on Capitol Hill as professional staff for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues Initially as Science Advisor and later as Deputy Director to the Caucus, Dr. Wood helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act, and was directly involved with many policy initiatives and legislative proposals which would advance biomedical research, women’s health, family planning, and health care reform. Previously, Dr. Wood was a research scientist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine; she received her PhD in biology from Boston University. She has published a number of research articles in scientific journals, as well as articles on health policy.
Emerging Activist Honoree
Renee Bracey Sherman
Renee Bracey Sherman is a reproductive justice activist committed to the visibility and representation of people who have had abortions in media and pop culture. Renee is a member of Echoing Ida, a Black women’s writing collective and project of Forward Together, and an expert on personal abortion storytelling. Her work has been featured on BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, TIME, and many others. In 2014, Renee authored Saying Abortion Aloud, a guide to abortion storytelling, and in 2015 she co-authored Speak Up & Stay Safe(r), a multilingual digital guide on handling online harassment. In 2015, she was named one of Planned Parenthood’s 99 Dream Keepers in honor of Black History Month, and last year Colorlines named her one of 16 women of color who made history in 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and a Master’s degree in public administration from Cornell University. Currently, Renee is the Senior Public Affairs Manager at the National Network of Abortion Funds where she runs We Testify, an abortion storyteller leadership program that supports people who’ve had abortions in sharing their stories at the intersections of race, class, and gender. Renee also sits on the board of directors for NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Monica Raye Simpson is the Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Monica has organized extensively against human rights violations, reproductive oppression, the prison industrial complex, racism and intolerance, and the systematic physical and emotional violence inflicted upon African-American women and the African American LBGTQ community in the South. She is also a singer, full circle Doula and was recently named a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine.