Saturday, April 14, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex! Conference & Tracking Your Neighbours' Bodily Functions

Two items that might be of interest to you.

First, from the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, a conference announcement:

Let's Talk About Sex! A fun, four-day conference [in Chicago, IL] for women of color to come together and create strategies for achieving reproductive and sexual rights in communities of color. Providers, educators, community activists, parents and their children are invited to join the 1200+ attendees that will push forward a holistic pro-health, pro-sex reproductive justice movement that celebrates family choices, sexuality and wellness in communities of color.

...

Attendees will gain tools and accurate, positive information about sexuality to take back to their communities. Workshops and plenaries include topics such as sexuality, microbicides, genetic engineering, LBGTQ issues, midwifery, erotica, religion, sex work, STD's, youth, militarism and more, all through a reproductive justice lens.

SisterSong will celebrate with informational sessions, spoken word, poetry, film screenings, and cultural performances. There will also be special workshops by and for young women. Dr. Joycelyn Elders will give the keynote address during the conference.


Thank you to SisterSong's Linda Freeman Walker for the pointer. [More conference information, here.]

Although I'm not familiar with SisterSong (I took a quick look at their site, and they seem a bit hippie-ish for my taste--they want to achieve complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls, and end all forms of oppression. Utopian, in my opinion.), I support any organization whose goal is to educate women of color and policy makers on reproductive and sexual health and rights, and to work towards the access of health services, information and resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Second, PT Lee, founder, alerts us to his new site, whoissick.org, a tech-savvy hypochondriac's dream come true. [Just kidding, PT Lee. Thank you for the notice.]

The site is focused on bringing health information to the public by tracking and monitoring current and local sicknesses. Essentially, it is Web2.0/User generated content meets Healthcare through a Google Maps interface. Basically, you have a runny nose, you Map it, or you have a pressing need to find out the state of runny noses in your area, you have a look at the reported cases in your neighbourhood.

My take on the site: I agree with the author of this article, in that I'm not sure exactly what the site is intended to do. Since the symptoms are self reported--without a firm diagnosis, you can't tell if there's an outbreak of food poisoning, or if a lot of lactose intolerant people happen to live in your area--I'm not clear how the user-generated reports would benefit you in your hour of need. So, for now you could use it for entertainment (let's face it, being able to Map your GI upset or monitor your neighbours' is just cool), but keep an eye on it to see what develops.

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