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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fowler

Mitigating Challenges in Women’s Health: A Multi-Regional Project


Arrival at the Eastern Iowa Airport.

From April 11th to 13th, we hosted a multi-regional delegation in eastern Iowa for an IVLP program titled “Mitigating Challenges in Women’s Health.” This group was comprised of medical and health specialists from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, and the United Republic of Tanzania. Their time in Iowa aimed to inform them about university-provided family health services and increasing diversity and health equity through outreach and advocacy.

Volunteer Eddy Djagou greeted the delegation at the airport upon their arrival and guided them to find their luggage and shuttle.

The next morning, volunteer Ann Marie Drop accompanied them to their first professional meeting with the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. The visitors met with Lastascia Coleman, who is a Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Carver College of Medicine. She discussed the hospital’s personalized, preventive care for women and family-centered care, well-women services and the importance of specialty departments for women’s health. Additionally, the visitors learned about how the hospitals encourage cross-cultural communication through translation services.

Their next and final meeting was at Planned Parenthood in Cedar Rapids, accompanied by volunteer Amanda Potterfield and Executive Director Amy Alice Chastain. There, Advocacy Strategist Abby Michael, Health Educator Beth Mensing, Advocacy Manager Gabriela Fuentes, and Health Educator Lauren Shavel taught the delegation about their operations on both local and state levels. Particularly, they discussed how Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa educates and lobbies to build a powerful movement of strong, healthy communities, and works to elect candidates who support the full range of sexual and reproductive health care.

The delegation left the next morning after a short, yet fruitful visit to eastern Iowa.

Thank you to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and to Planned Parenthood in Cedar Rapids for acting as our professional resources in this program. Our visitors learned so much from your valuable visits. Thank you also to Eddy Djagou, Ann Marie Drop, Amanda Potterfield, and Amy Alice Chastain for volunteering your time with this delegation! We owe our success to you and your passion for citizen diplomacy.

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