Our Bodies Ourselves


May 11, 2009 – CAMBRIDGE, MASS    The iconic women’s health collective Our Bodies Ourselves today inducted 20 Women’s Health Heroes, honoring the work of women’s health advocates worldwide “who make significant contributions to the health and well-being of women.”

The 2009 inaugural inductees represent seven countries and a wide range of health fields and disciplines. Among them: Elisabeth Bing, founder of Lamaze International; Efua Dorkenoo, an activist against female genital mutilation; Jenni Prokopy, founder and editor of ChronicBabe.com; and Bene E. Madunagu, a professor of botany in Nigeria.

CAROLYN THOMAS of Victoria, British Columbia  is among those women honored this year for her community activism – specifically, in promoting women’s heart health since surviving her own heart attack in 2008. After being trained at the 2008 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium for Women With Heart Disease at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (the first Canadian ever invited to attend), Carolyn began a free public speaking campaign, reaching both health care professionals and the general public to help share what she had learned at the Mayo Women’s Heart Clinic about women’s #1 killer.  She also launched her website Heart Sisters, which has helped to educate thousands more women online about their heart health.

DR. BARBARA KEDDY, BSc.N., M.A., Ph.D, Professor Emerita, School of Nursing at Dalhouse University in Halifax, Nova Scotia is the other Canadian inductee publicly honored by Our Bodies Ourselves for her tireless work in supporting and educating others about fibromyalgia, which she has lived with herself for over 40 years. She is the founder of the blog Women and Fibromyalgia.

She is also the author of the books Women and Fibromyalgia:  Living With an Invisible Dis-Ease and Fibromyalgia: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Dis-ease .  

These awards mark the first annual effort of OBOS to spotlight the diversity of care, education and activism in communities around the world.

“Every day millions of people worldwide do incredible work to improve the health and well-being of women, and we want to bring attention to their efforts,” said Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Judy Norsigian. “Many of our heroes accomplish so much with very few resources, particularly on the frontlines of public health, where gaps in the quality of care and healthcare access remain persistent. We have been so inspired by the passion, talent and generosity of the nominees, and moved by the gratitude and appreciation of those who nominated their heroes.”

This inaugural group represents seven countries: United States (13), Canada (2), Australia, The Netherlands, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

Our Bodies Ourselves is a public interest women’s health education, advocacy and consulting organization. Based in Cambridge, Mass., OBOS collaborates with organizations leading the way for better health care coverage and evidenced-based care.

Founded in 1969, OBOS (also known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective) published the first edition of the landmark book Our Bodies, Ourselves in 1970. The eighth edition (Simon & Schuster 2005), and numerous other publications and online resources, continue to provide accurate, non-commercial information about women’s health and sexuality.