Our Bodies Ourselves presents the 2009 Womens’ Health Heroes, honoring the work of women’s health advocates worldwide.

The 20 outstanding individuals and organizations inducted in May 2009 have made significant, long-lasting contributions to women’s health. Their work covers a wide range of health fields and disciplines.

Included are midwives and women advocating for safer, more comfortable births; founders of websites on chronic illness and teen sexuality; an activist against female genital mutilation; director of a LGBT health center; a public health nurse; a photographer; and many more.

This inaugural group, chosen from close to 100 nominations, represents seven countries: United States (13), Canada (2), Australia, The Netherlands, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Ukraine.

Two inductees were selected for special honors. Learn what makes all of them heroes by viewing their nominations.

fair_haven_midwives lisa_copen
OBOS Pick: Fair Haven (Conn.) Community Health Center Midwifery Group / Melissa Lonergan, Ellen Wormser, Priscilla Jencks, Sherry Rinell, Kate Mitcheom (not pictured: Laura Sundstrom) Audience Choice: Lisa Copen
Founder, & Director, Rest Ministries
Support for people living with chronic illness
Nominated by: Christine Halbig & Sita Bushan Nominated by: Kara Marks Valeri
View nomination & video View nomination

elisabeth_bing nurit_shein bene_madunagu1 jenni_prokopy
Elisabeth Bing
Co-founder, Lamaze
Childbirth Preparation
Nurit Shein
Executive Director,
Mazzoni Health Center, Philadelphia LGBT health center
Bene E. Madunagu
Professor of botany,
co-founder, Girls’ Power
and Women in
Nigeria (WIN)
Jenni Prokopy
Founder & Editor,
read more read more read more read more
helene_lefevre_cholay jessica_yee efua_dorkenoo sheila_fawbush
Helene Lefevre-Cholay
Chief of Party for the
Maternal and Infant
Health Project
in Kiev
Jessica Yee
Founder, Native Youth
Sexual Health Network
activist, contributing blogger (Toronto)
Efua Dorkenoo
Founder, FORWARD (UK)
& member of World Health
Organization Study Group
on female genital mutilation
Sheila Fawbush
Shelby County (Ky.)
Extension Agent for
Family and
Consumer Sciences
read more read more read more read more
carolyn_thomas susan_corrado sabrina_matoff_stepp stephanie_herold
Carolyn Thomas
Founder, Heart Sisters on women & heart disease
Susan Corrado
Community Parish Nurse, Madison, Wisc.
Sabrina Matoff-Stepp
Director, Office of
Women’s Health
Stephanie Herold
College student,
abortion clinic &
rape crisis counselor
read more read more read more read more
jessica_leroy barbara_keddy cheryl_holder_125 heather_corinna
Jessica LeRoy
Therapist specializing
in helping women
Barbara Keddy
Professor Emeritus,
Dalhousie University
(Nova Scotia)
Cheryl Holder, MD
Adolescent medicine &
HIV/AIDS specialist for
Jackson Health Systems
Heather Corinna
Founder & Editor,
read more read more read more read more
marlies_bosch kath_manzzella
Marlies Bosch
Photographer & journalist specializing in covering
women and healthcare (Netherlands)
Kath Mazzella
Founder, GAIN, Gynaecological Awareness Information Network (Australia)
read more read more

OBOS received nominations from 12 countries.
View all video and essay submissions

health heroes map
Mary Lou Ballweg, president & executive director, Endometriosis Association Terry Grahl, founder & president, Enchanted Makeovers (transforming women’s shelters) Tuppy Owens, sex & disability educator and founder of (UK)
Caroline Baker-Drake, adjunct professor of human sexuality, Finger Lakes Community College Michele Gregg, former abortion counselor (1960s) Agnes Pareiyo, women’s rights campaigner, activist against female genital mutilation in Kenya
Judy Bayliss, founder,, menopause email support group Stephanie Herold, student activist & abortion clinic counselor Whitney Pinger, certified nurse midwife, Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center
Rose Marie Bertrand, founder, Small Miracles Volunteer Doula Services (Madison, Wisc.) Kathryn Hinsch, founding director and board president, Women’s Bioethics Project Jeanette Preston, founder, PANTS, raising awareness of gynecological cancers (UK)
Elizabeth Bing, co-founder, Lamaze Childbirth Preparation Method Susan Hodges, president, Citizens for Midwifery – consumer group
promoting the Midwives Model of Care
Alice Prince, assistant professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Marlies Bosch, photographer & journalist specializing in women’s health (Netherlands) Toni Hoffmann, intensive care nurse (Australia) Jenni Prokopy, founder & editor,
Rev. Beverly Boyarsky, ordained minister & activist chronicling life with myositis Cheryl Holder, MD, adolescent medicine & HIV/AIDS specialist Susan Quilliam, Sex and relationships psychologist (UK)
Carol Boyd, professor of nursing & women’s studies; director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan Shelley Houchin, support program coordinator, Endometriosis Association Nanette Therese Rawlins, mother who provided direct, factual women’s health information
Karin Cadwell, breastfeeding advocate and educator Abby Howe-Heyman, assistant professor at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing & certified nurse midwife Sandy Robinson, founder, for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia & IC
Cynthia Callahan Davis, director of HIV Education and Outreach Programs, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Barbara Keddy, professor emeritus, Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia) Kate Rodhenburg, founder, Students for Choice at Northeastern University
Tiffany Campbell, South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families Tami Lynn Kent, women’s health physical therapist & author of “Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit, & Joy in the Root of the Female Body” Robin Rothrock, manager, Hope Medical Group for Women (Shreveport, La.)
Lula Christopher, president & CEO, Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative Dorrie Lane, vulvalutionary & creator of vulva puppets A.M.M.Samsad, maternal and child health advocate (Bangladesh)
Carol Cohan, executive director, Women’s Emergency Network – subsidizes abortion-related care in Greater Miami area Keleigh M. Lee, researcher, health behavior studies Nurit Shein, executive director, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia LGBT health center
Lisa Copen, founder and director,
Rest Ministries – support for living with chronic illness
Helene Lefevre-Cholay, chief of party for the Maternal and Infant Health Project (Ukraine) Sheri Skalsky, women’s health nurse practioner, Great Plains Women’s Health Center (North Dakota)
Heather Corinna, founder & editor, – providing factual information about sex & sexuality Simone Leibovitch, manager, Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic (New Brunswick) Mary Ann Sorrentino, former executive director, Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island
Susan Corrado, community parish nurse (Madison, Wisc.) Jessica LeRoy, abuse survivor & therapist specializing in helping women Elisabeth Sowecke, co-director of case management & board member, D.C. Abortion Fund
Dinah, sexologist at (UK) JoAnne Lindberg, founder & president, BirthLink, network of birth & wellness services Elizabeth G. Stewart, gynecologist specializing in vulvovaginal health & author of “The V Book”
Betty Dodson, sexuality educator,  author & artist Tito Lopes, MD, gynaecological cancer surgeon (UK) Carolyn Thomas, founder, Heart Sisters (women & heart disease)
Efua Dorkenoo, Founder of FORWARD (UK) & member of World Health Organization Study Group on female genital mutilation Clemence Lozier, one of the first female physicians Dee Troll, founder, lichen sclerosis international support group (UK)
Carolee Dunivan, certified nurse midwife, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Nikki Macfarlane, founder, Childbirth International, provides training for doula and childbirth educators all over the world (Indonesia) The Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Our Whole Lives” sexuality program
Jo Ell East, domestic violence survivor & inspirational mother Bene E. Madunagu, professor of botany, University of Calabar; co-founder, Girls’ Power
Initiative & Women in Nigeria
Kimber Wakefield McGibbon, founder, HER Foundation for hypermesis education
Carolynn Ernst, associate vice president of health center operations, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Lisa Martinez, founder & executive director, The Women’s Sexual Health Foundation Loretha Weisinger, doula working with Chicago pregnant teens
Fair Haven (Conn.) Community Health Center Midwifery Group Sabrina Matoff-Stepp, director, Office of Women’s Health at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Helen Weld, public health nurse; global medical missions include working with women with obstetric fistulas in Africa
Sheila Fawbush, Shelby County (Ky.) Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences Jeannie May, founder of and support community (Australia) Katherine Winkler, midwife, Southeast Health Center (Philadelphia), feminist website covering politics and culture Kath Mazzella, founder, Gynaecological Awareness Information Network (Australia) Jessica Yee, founder & director, Native Youth Sexual Health Network, activist, contributing blogger (Toronto)
JoAnne Fischer, executive director, Maternity Care Coalition Sonia Murdock, co-founder, Postpartum Resource Center of New York
Diana Flannery, professor in the Department of Health and Community Services at California State University, Chico Therese Murray, president, Massachusetts State Senate
Rachel Galgoul, manager, GYN specialty services, UCSF Medical Center National Advocates for Pregnant Women – protecting the rights and human dignity of all women
Ina May Gaskin, director of the Farm Midwifery Center (Tenn.) Pat Neilsen, founder, Full Bloom Pregnancy & Early Parenting Center (Athens, Ga.)
Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng, executive director, Isis Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Uganda)