Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College, engaged with diverse youth groups in Berlin, Germany in January 2015 to discuss the meaning of Black History Month and how it can cultivate social change leadership, not only in the U.S. but also around the world. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Berlin, the week-long tour offered Maparyan the opportunity to deliver a lecture, “Building Cultures of Inclusion Across Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Comparing Notes Across the U.S. and Germany and Cultivating Social Change Leadership,” and engage in discussions with students and faculty of the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University; at University of Stuttgart; and at Freiburg University. Within the framework of the “womanism” praxis, Maparyan outlined non-oppositional problem-solving tools and illustrated how simple, personal acts can create amity and inclusion from the personal all the way up to the institutional level. In Bonn, Maparyan presented “A Womanist Perspective on Development” at the University of Bonn/ZEF, and “Building Cultures of Inclusion across Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Comparing Notes across the U.S. and Germany and Cultivating Social Change Leadership” at Bonn University. Her trip concluded with Black History Month: A Storytelling Evening at Jugendkirche and a community meeting at the Anne Frank Educational Centre.
Although surgical repair of fistula is associated with improvements in women’s quality of life and mental health, researchers have found even after being treated surgically to repair their fistula, many women still have difficulty engaging in family and community life. Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at WCW, traveled to Gondar, Ethiopia where she trained nurses to implement a new evidence-based depression prevention program being piloted at the University of Gondar Fistula Center. After initial planning meetings in Spring 2014, Gladstone and her team conducted onsite interviews in December with clinicians as well as patients who shared their knowledge about fistula; they talked about their current social support and coping strategies and expressed an interest in learning skills to manage their worries and feel better. After developing a protocol, Gladstone returned to Ethiopia in March 2015 and trained the clinicians (pictured below), providing follow-up support via web-based communications as the hospital team readied for implementation. This spring, data from the first two cohorts who took part in the cognitive behavioral therapy program, and from the clinicians who led the initiative at the hospital, have resulted in promising positive outcomes—depression symptom scores decreased substantially. Further program details will be included in the Fall/Winter issue of the Research & Action Report.
Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., also traveled to Santiago, Chile in April 2015 where she presented at the inaugural symposium on the Prevention and Early Interventions in Mental Health focused on “Prevention of Depression: Translating Research Into Practice.” This is the first version of a series of biennial conferences that aims to develop new and/or updated strategies and action plans, and seek to broaden the support for evidence-based prevention and promotion in mental health in Chile and Latin America; it was organized by the Child And Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chile. Gladstone presented on the CATCH-IT program which utilizes an internet-based interactive system to prevent the onset of a depressive episode in at-risk teens.
Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., founder of the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity presented at a conference on women’s studies in China and other parts of the world held at Capital Normal University in Beijing, June 26-28, 2015. This program was hosted by The Center for Studies in Chinese Women’s Culture, the Forum on Women’s Literature in Chinese, and the Women’s Literature Commission of the China World Association for Chinese Literatures. McIntosh delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the conference which focused on women’s studies.