Recap: Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment COE Virtual Retreat

Staying Connected and Empowered at Home

The UC Global Health Institute Center of Expertise on Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment (COE WHGE) held a virtual retreat on Friday, May 31, 2020 of which included 50 members an opportunity to reconnect, to provide updates on COE activities and programs, and to share ideas for the future direction of the Center.

In an effort to offer networking for cross campus collaboration and to connect with new COE members, small group breakout discussions were held. Members were randomized to eight groups of six and were given general discussion topics: 1) Describe your name, 2) Tell the group what campus you are from and what your research interests are, and 3) Discuss career pathways or career goals. Brief bios and email addresses of all registered retreat attendees were sent to all attendees in the case they want to reach out to any members they met at the retreat.

One small group of faculty, staff and students from UC San Diego/SDSU, UCLA, UC Davis, and UC San Francisco discussing the story behind their names.

Deborah Mindry, Anke Hemmerling, and Mara Decker led an update on the Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment online course. The next session was about the COE signature project, Campus Sexual Respect and Safety. COE Director of Community Engagement, Jennifer Wagman, and undergraduate student intern, Atreyi Mitra, gave updates on UC Speaks Up findings. COE Director of Research and Dissemination, Ushma Upadhyay, then gave updates on the international pilot grant program.

The final session included virtual breakout rooms where 2019-2020 Summer Scholars presented their respective research projects they led. The presentations included:

  1. Let's Talk About Sex [Education] - Christine Wenzel, UC San Diego
  2. Mi Cuerpo, Mi Voz., Mi Poder - Aaliyah Sade, UCLA
  3. Supporting Well-Being in Survivors of Domestic Violence - Maria Isabel Ramos, UC Irvine
  4. Youth Empowerment Institute - David Saenz, UC Santa Cruz
  5. Tackling Education and Gender Equity with Sanitary Pads in Zimbabwe - Vi Nguyen, UC Davis
Summer Scholar, David Saenz, presented his work leading the Youth Empowerment Institute, a summer camp that centers the technological, personal and professional empowerment of low-income high school students of color that consisted of workshops, panels and other hands on skill development, educational support and empowerment.

As the retreat came to a close COE Co-Director, Ndola Prata, gave a message of hope to students, “I want to say to our students that it gives me great hope when I look at your presentations, your commitment, even if your work is not specifically related to Public Health, that the world is going to be in much better hands than the one we are leaving for you. We are trying our best. It’s very difficult. But by listening to you, it gives me great hope that we are going to be okay. That my grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to be okay, because of the new leaders that you will all be in this world.”