Health

This topic focuses on the ways women negotiate their physical and emotional well-being both in their personal and family lives and in relation to the public institutions that make up our health care system. It seeks to learn about how women view, care for, and project their bodies and minds introspectively and in relation to the outside world.

Germaine Lambergs

Registered Nurse; Lactation Specialists; Member of Worcester Institute for Senior Education

So, a little mini history on breastfeeding.  Well because it used to be the norm, way back like when your grandmother might have breastfed, or her mother may have breastfed, but then mothers were taught that formula was just as good as breast milk.  And why would you want to look like a cow to have a baby--I’m just giving you a shortened version--to have a baby sucking on you when you can go out and be yourself and have someone bottle feed the baby. It also came around during the wars when mothers had to leave the children with—they didn’t really have nannies back then, but you know the nanas, and they went to work in the factories. Who’s going to feed their babies? So, Enfamil, Nestle, all of those, the pediatricians started to fuel that this is just as good. They were never trained. One of my positions at MGH [Mass General Hospital] was teaching residents how to breastfeed because it wasn’t taught in nursing or medical school. It is now, they have a two-second course, but the younger physicians now are very aware of the importance and value of a mother’s milk. To me it is a miracle fluid. I used to tell mums, “You look at that formula and it’s the same, the same, the same. It comes from a cow.  The animals feed their babies and a mother feeds her baby cow’s milk? She should be feeding her milk that’s natural.  And they would ask mothers, “Do you want to breastfeed or do you want to bottle feed?” And the pediatricians would say, “Don’t breastfeed, it takes too much time. Oh my God, just bottle feed.” So, it took me some time, to be honest with you, it took me quite a bit of time to re-educate in a gentle way because you don’t want to embarrass anyone if that’s their belief that breast milk and formula are the same. To understand the value of a mother’s milk. My youngest granddaughter is being breastfed and I just love it. Oh, she's just growing and when you understand what it does to a newborn baby, right when it's born for God sakes, it protects the kid’s gut. And it enables that baby to be bonded with the mother because having the baby in the nursery is what we used to do. They took the baby right away put it in the nursery and the mother couldn’t see the baby. Now when the baby is born, it comes out of the vagina and they put it right on the mother’s chest, naked, which is where it should be. And the mother’s breath initiates the baby to breath, the mother’s body, the antibodies she produces in that breast milk specifically for that gestational age for the baby, because it changes.

Germaine Miller Lambergs is a Canadian woman born in 1945. Germaine moved to the United States at a young age where she attended school in the Boston area now known as Newbury Street. It was here Germaine met her husband, with whom she has been with since she was a teenager. Together, they now share seven grandchildren and three children, all who live in the Northeast.  Germaine attended nursing school and worked in the nursing profession for many years.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/09/2019
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Ellen More

Professor Emeritus and Founder and Head of the Office of Medical History and Archives of the University of Massachusetts Medical School

And in 2004 I became a visiting professor at UMass Medical School in the psychiatry department. And that was because they had at the time, I’m not sure if they still do, a division which was extremely interested in medical ethics and one of the things I had done at the Institute for Medical Humanities was to teach medical humanities and medical ethics as well as history of medicine so it was a very good fit. And I was there as a visiting professor for a year and a half. I learned that although they didn’t have the medical history or medical humanities department, they had an expressed need to do two things. To create an archives; they didn’t have one. And this medical school started, well they opened in 1970. This was 2006, and they did not have an archive. And one reason they became aware of the need for an archives was that the first generation of founders were all retired, some had died. People were leaving, taking their papers with them, and the chancellor at that time, Aaron Lazar, he wanted a history of the school. So, they wanted someone to start to build an archives. They also wanted someone to write a history of the school. You can’t really do that without having an archives because what records will you use?  I negotiated with the head of the library and of the school and they created a position as head of the office of medical history and archives and in 2006 I started officially, and my faculty appointment simultaneously was professor in the department of psychiatry and I spent the next ten years launching an archives and writing a history of the medical school.

Dr. Ellen Singer More was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1946 and earned her advanced and medical degrees from University of Rochester, NY. She is Professor Emeritus and Founder and Head of the Office of Medical History and Archives of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  In 2003 she received the Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize from the History of Science Society for Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/19/2018
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Karyn Clark

First Female Director of Public Health for the City of Worcester

The biggest thing about public health is [that] it’s complicated. It’s really a huge topic. It can be anything from West Nile Virus and mosquitos that are biting people to our homeless population. There's a lot of folks that have Hepatitis A so we’re trying to vaccinate them. To flu shots, to medical marijuana dispensaries, to doing food inspections, to preparing for emergencies. So it’s very broad and it’s so interesting and all of the people that I get to work with are so committed to making sure that our residents and our community, and really the region [itself], really has the best possible public health services provided to them and their families.

Karyn Clark was born in 1974 in Lancaster, Massachusetts and later raised in Leominster, Massachusetts. She went to Framingham State College for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. She later put that career path aside after she met her mentor, Jill Dagilis, who saw a great deal of potential in her and gave her the exposure to the field of public health. She fell in love with the field as she started working in the field in 2000. With many years of hard work, she became the first female Director of Public Health for the City of Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/03/2018
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Donna Crocker

Teacher; Member of Worcester Institute for Senior Education

Be yourself. Be strong. [laughs] Be ready and don’t be too hard on yourself. I think that women are coming to a point where they can feel stronger and express that. I would say also have a sense of humor; don’t expect to be perfect. Realize that most of the time life is good and do your best.

Donna Garrison Crocker was born in San Antonio Texas in 1944.  She moved around quite a bit as a young girl growing up, as her father was in, what was referred to at the time, as Army Air Corps during World War II. She and her family ultimately settled down in Weymouth, MA where she would later meet her husband. Donna now lives in Uxbridge, MA with her husband and the two of them regularly attend WISE [Worcester Institute for Senior Education] classes at Assumption College in Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/03/2019
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Shirley Carter

First African American to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing

It was early ‘20s they had this nursing program at Georgetown University Hospital.   My father had moved to Washington D.C. and I lived with him and his fourth wife temporarily until I got my own apartment then on 2727 P Street in Georgetown.  Worked with the Georgetown University Hospital... got the heck out of Worcester.  They had this wonderful earn and learn plan where you could get your degree in nursing by going to Catholic University and then make sure your classes and your nursing assignments would blend together well.  And I got this grant at Catholic University. And the nursing arts people said, “We don’t accept colored students, you all have to go to Maryland.”  Catholic University would not accept black students in the 50s. And for me to go to Maryland and then work the job it was not possible. So my dreams were dashed.

Dr. Shirley F.B. Carter was born on October 26, 1931 and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Shirley discusses how she and her sister were the first African Americans to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing. She is a bright, lively, and well-educated woman who has an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership. Shirley reflects upon her experiences and the sexism and racism she faced as an African American woman. Shirley worked multiple jobs for almost her entire life in order to first support her family when she was just a child, and then her children as an adult.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 09/21/2017
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Linda Raffaelle-Moyen

Nutrition, Health, and Education Professional

I majored in education, specifically Family and Consumer Science Education. And I graduated in 1979. I graduated magna cum laude. I always tried to excel and be perfect at everything. I thought that would give me that “over the rainbow life,” [laughs] but of course now I realize that was not the case.  So that was my major which was interesting because you know my parents weren’t that keen on the whole thing. So in my dad’s mind I think he thought, “Oh she’s going to school to learn how to be a housewife anyways.” [laughs] But it was funny. I used to drive this old car that would break down all the time and one of those days he had to come almost all the way out to Framingham to get the car.  He stops to get lunch and the guy at the coffee shop—you know my dad was friendly and talked to people and so he was talking about what he was doing out there, going to get my car at school.  And the guy asked what I was studying and he told him kind of, and this guy went on to tell him that, “You have no idea. Do you realize the classes she has to take?” And he started telling him, she’s got to take organic chemistry and she has to take all these psychology classes and started to tell him what I was really up to.  Not learning how to cook and sew or whatever.  And it was funny because after that I could see that he had a new perspective. He actually understood more and kind of took some pride in the fact that I was working and putting myself through college and doing well and all of that.

Linda Raffaele-Moyen was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1957. She attended Leominster High School and went on to study at Framingham State, married her high school sweetheart, and had three children. She later divorced and never remarried. Although her education led her to become a teacher, she ended up opening her own business in order to better support her family.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 02/19/2017
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Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, Canines for Disabled Kids.

I [got] my first service dog April 1st 2001, I now not only live a more independent life, but I help others to do that.   Do I move through life at a different pace?  Absolutely.  But I’m moving through life.  I’m going out shopping on my own.  I’m working part time which I would have had to give up.  I’m using tools that don’t prevent people from accessing me.   If I use a cane or a walker for support, people actually treat you like either you’re made of glass so they can’t come close to you or like you’re contagious.  The service dog helps to break down those barriers by allowing me to be seen as me, and not seen as those mechanical devices.  I do the things when I want to do them, not when somebody has time to help me, and service dogs for me personally are a critical tool.  And you know, when you asked earlier about political things, that’s probably an area that I am most likely to be called into taking personal political advocacy beyond the steps I’ve already taken.  Because that’s so important to my ability to be as independent and as successful as possible.

Kristin Hartness was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1971. Although her family’s roots are in Worcester, throughout her life she lived in various parts of the country. Kristin discusses her relationship with her parents, who help to manage her multiple sclerosis. She also talks about her relationship with her service dog, which led her to her current position in Worcester as an executive director of the non-profit organization Canines for Disabled Kids.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/19/2016
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Nancy Crimmin

Senior Vice President and Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer, Becker College

I think to have a full life, just to have people around you that love you and care about you.  Work is great and I could get all these accolades and my title could change and I can have these initials after my name and get awards and I can do all that, and that’s wonderful, But my friendships and my family and those connections, that’s the most important thing I think.

Nancy Crimmin was born in Canton, Massachusetts, in 1967 and went to Fontbonne Academy in Milton. Nancy came to Worcester to start a new job at Assumption College where she worked her way up from Resident Director to the Dean before leaving in 2012 to pursue a career at Becker College.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/13/2016
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Judith Pare

Dean of Nursing, Becker College

Strength, strength. I think women are by far incredibly strong powerful forces. We don’t always do a very good job at communicating or displaying that strength, but I wouldn’t have an appreciation of that strength if I hadn’t had the journey that I had, so for that I will forever be grateful.

Judith Pare is the Dean of Nursing at Becker College. She not only has experience in teaching the art of nursing but has firsthand experience as a nurse, having worked extensively in both standard hospital settings and in Alzheimer’s clinics. Dr. Pare practiced nursing at Peter Bent Brigham as well as worked with numerous professionals in the area of Alzheimer’s, a subject on which she also wrote two books. Following her divorce from her first husband, she worked four jobs in order to pay for her two daughters to get through college.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/13/2015
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Christine Corley

Audiologist

Probably the most amazing experience I can think of was when I was at Children's [Hospital] and I was in when a CI [cochlear implant] got activated. It was a little kid. I think he was 26 months, and his CI got activated and his mom started talking and everyone in the room was crying and it was pretty amazing. 

Dr. Christine Corley was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. She grew up in Reading, Massachusetts with her parents, two sisters, and brother. Dr. Corley is affiliated with Worcester because it is where her job is located. She is employed at the Hearing and Balance Center of New England, as an audiologist. Dr. Corley received her undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts and attended graduate school at Northeastern University. It was at Northeastern University where she attained her doctoral degree of audiology. Dr.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 11/03/2015
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