Einstein’s SNMA Teams with Physicians Group on Feminine Hygiene Initiative
Every month, women, girls, and other menstruators of a certain age must contend with the various effects of their “cycle,” which requires having access to an assortment of feminine hygiene products. Over the past year, COVID-19 has compounded the difficulties that some of these individuals face, particularly where limited resources can mean choosing between these monthly necessities and feeding one’s family.
“When you’re homeless and living in a shelter, these products are still necessary but they are extremely hard to come by,” said Tracey Straker, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at Einstein and director of general anesthesia and of the Advanced Airway Fellowship and Rotation at Montefiore. “That’s why our chapter of the Westchester Bronx Society of Black Physicians reached out to the Einstein Student National Medical Association chapter to team up with us on an initiative to provide these important feminine hygiene products to women and others who need them.”
WBSBP is part of the National Medical Association, the same organization through which the SNMA has its chapter. Throughout February, the two groups will be collecting feminine hygiene products—maxi pads, tampons, and feminine wipes—as part of their Feminine Hygiene Initiative, during our observation of Black History Month.
“The initiative is in line with our mission to provide for those in underserved communities,” said Cory Ransom, president of Einstein SNMA and one of the students spearheading the effort. “Our aim is to provide an ample supply of maxi pads, tampons, and feminine wipes to the Living Room, Women in Need, and our student-run ECHO Clinic, so that women, girls, and transgender men who still menstruate can face their monthly cycle more comfortably and with dignity,”
Often, when living in a shelter or with limited income, there is no access to these products. “When it’s that time of the month, they instead must use whatever is at hand, like sheets,” noted Dr. Straker. “That can be humiliating and uncomfortable on its own. When you add in the stigma often associated with this very natural aspect of biology, it’s that much more difficult and demoralizing. We want to remove that component for these individuals.”
Source of Inspiration
The idea for the initiative was sparked by a conversation that Dr. Straker had with Miyoshi Days, a young entrepreneur in Brooklyn who is launching HatetheDot.com, a subscription website aimed at addressing the various issues and concerns that women, girls, and other menstruators face each and every month from the time they first get their periods.
“It’s a subject no one really wants to talk about in polite society, but it’s something every female endures throughout a substantial period of their life,” said Ms. Day. “Yet so many of us could benefit from having helpful information about it. That’s why I established Hate the Dot.”
The website offers subscribers access to presentations and Q&As featuring experts in gynecology, women’s health, nutrition, and other related fields, as well as access to helpful resources. In addition to inspiring the initiative following a conversation with Dr. Straker, Ms. Day is donating 50 boxes of tampons to Einstein’s Feminine Hygiene Initiative. She also plans to make providing such resources to those in need a regular component of her business model.
Ways to Contribute
Those wishing to make donations to the Feminine Hygiene Initiative can do so on Einstein’s Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus, using the bins located in the Forchheimer lobby or at 1925/1935 Eastchester in the housing complex, and on Montefiore’s Moses Campus, using the bin located outside of the Moses Cafeteria and on its Einstein Campus, on the Maternal Health/ Child Health Floor of Weiler Hospital. The Einstein SNMA also will be setting up a way for volunteers to help assemble bags of the donated hygiene products. You can learn how you can take part by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For information about the initiative at Montefiore, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations will be collected through February 28. You can help make sure that having one’s period doesn’t sentence one to shame, discomfort, or an inability to take care of one’s basic healthcare needs.
Other Black History Month Events
During Black History Month, Einstein SNMA is hosting several other events toward continuing its commitment to community service; highlighting past, present, and future Black Excellence; and celebrating and supporting minority medical students on campus. These include:
- a canned food drive, through February 28, to support Project BRAVO, a Bronx-based food distribution center located at Montefiore;
- a Black History Month raffle, held throughout February, to raise funds for the Movement for Black Lives COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund;
- a Zoom screening of the film “Something the Lord Made,” on Friday, February 12, at 5 p.m., with Grab & Go theater snacks available for pick up beforehand; and
- “Career Opportunities and Challenges for Black Physicians and Scientists,” a virtual panel featuring five Einstein alumni (panelists and discussion moderator), on Thursday, February 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration is free but required, and you may submit questions for the panelists in advance, by emailing EinsteinAlumni@einsteinmed.org by Tuesday, February 16.
Posted on: Friday, February 12, 2021