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Dr. Ameenah Shakir, "Birthing Liberation: Dr. Helen Dickens, Race, Rights and Health Activism"

Birthing Liberation: Dr. Helen Dickens, Race, Rights and Health Activism

Dr. Ameenah N. Shakir


This lecture will examine Dr. Helen Dickens leadership of the Pan American Medical Women's Alliance (PAMWA), which was comprised of doctors from Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the United States. Dickens served as PAMWA president from 1968-1973. Under her leadership, PAMWA included a sustained effort to increase membership of women of African descent. Specifically, the paper questions how differing notions of race and ethnicity informed women's medical professional organizations across transnational boundaries. It will conclude with the effects of PAMWA on women's minority medical school enrollment.

Ameenah Shakir
Ameenah Shakir is an Assistant Professor of African American History at Florida A&M University.  Her research explores the intersection of race, health and gender.  Her book project Rattling the Collective Consciousness:  Dr. Helen Dickens and Health Activism in post war America argues that black physicians used medical professionalization as a space and place for activism during the Jim Crow and post Civil Rights eras.  In 2016-2017, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.  She has presented at several academic conferences, served as a panelist and was recently feature on the C-SPAN Lectures in History Series.

This lecture is sponsored by WVU Department of History, Eberly College, ASP, DDEI (Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), LGBTQ+ Center, CBCR (Center for Black Culture and Research), WGS (Center for Women and Gender Studies), WVU Humanities Center