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Reproductive Health Arizona (RHAZ) Celebrates Inaugural Public Event

More than one hundred people gathered on the evening of November 16, 2016, for the inaugural Reproductive Health Arizona (RHAZ) public event. Held in the courtyard of the new ASU Beus Center for Law and Society, the event combined visual and performance art with tabling organizations and an expert panel discussion.

The aim of the night was to help foster a community of people and organizations that care about reproductive health, medicine, and biology from across the sectors of government, healthcare, education, research, non-profits, industry, and philanthropy. True to that goal, attendees included community members, students, professionals and others with an interest in reproductive health within Arizona.

This year’s panel discussion topic was maternal and infant mortality. Panelists included: Mary Melcher, PhD, author of Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona and historian of women’s history in Arizona; Michael Clement, MD, retired pediatrician who currently sits on the Arizona Perinatal Trust Board; Marinah Farrell, CPM, President of the Midwives Alliance of North America; and Claire Herrick, MD, an OBGYN physician who focuses on the health impacts of climate change among vulnerable populations. The panel was moderated by Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics Director Jason Robert.

ASU Herberger Institute for the Arts faculty Forrest Solis and Sara Malan-McDonald presented visual and performance art on pregnancy. Solis' project, Creative Push, is a multimedia visual art and oral history project that pairs birth stories that have been collected from mothers with a visual artist who interprets those stories. The audio recording of the birth story and the visual art piece are presented together so that viewers can listen to a mother recounting her experience. Affiliated with Creative Push, Sara Malan-McDonald and fellow dancers performed abbreviated pieces from their larger project entitled BIRTH! The acts included four modern dance works that reflected how birth affects mothers, babies, and society.

The public event is one part of the multi-pronged RHAZ project led by post-doc Erica O’Neil and Center for Biology and Society PhD student Jovanna Anzaldua, with the help of students Grace KimClaudia Nunez-Eddy, and Lakshmee Malladi. Additional elements of RHAZ include an interactive map of Arizona organizations related to reproduction and reproductive health, as well as oral histories and articles as they relate to reproductive health across the state. The map, oral histories, and articles can be found on the RHAZ-specific area of the Embryo Project Encyclopedia website.

This event was made possible by funding from Arizona State University's Institute for Humanities ResearchLincoln Center for Applied EthicsCenter Biology and SocietyGraduate Women’s Association, and Graduate and Professional Students Association.

For more information contact RHAZ@asu.edu.