Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Faculty Scholar Seminar

Social Networks in the Access to Reproductive Health Services of Migrant Women from Zacatecas to Chicago, Illinois: A Community Intervention


Elena Gutierrez
Associate Professor, Departments of Latin American and Latino Studies and
Gender and Women's Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 2:00pm

Nationwide, Latinos receive the lowest levels of health care delivery due to financial, institutional and cultural barriers. While Latinos in general are less likely to have health insurance than Whites and African Americans, Latinos in Chicago have the highest rate of uninsured women from any racial/ethnic group. For migrant women who face exacerbating reproductive health disparities, lack of access to health care is even more severe. This research investigates the reproductive health politics of women who have migrated particularly from Zacatecas, Mexico to Chicago, Illinois, using the high level of organization of the migrants from Zacatecas to explore the needs, access, and barriers to reproductive health services that they experience in Chicago.

Elena Rebeca Gutiérrez is an Associate Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois, Chicago.  Dr. Gutiérrez earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and is a scholar of Latina/o reproductive and sexual health, feminism and social activism and Chicana/o Studies. She has recently received funding from the Migration and Health Research Program (PIMSA) for a collaborative, bi-national project to research the role of social networks in the reproductive health care that Mexican immigrant women in Chicago.  She is also the principal investigator of the Sterilization Policy Project, which is an assessment of the current status of female sterilization informed consent protocols across the nation. 
Her book publications include Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice with Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, and Loretta Ross (Boston: South End Press, October 2004) which received the 2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award in the area of bigotry and human rights, and Fertile Matters: The Politics of Mexican origin Women's Reproduction (University of Texas Press, 2008).  Fertile Matters documents the involuntary sterilization of Mexican-origin women in Los Angeles in the 1970s and illuminates the ways in which political, social and racial anxieties shaped the construction of the "problem" of Mexican origin women’s fertility and reproduction. Dr. Gutiérrez has served on the boards of and worked as a consultant with the National Latina Health Organization, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Mujeres Latinas en Acción.

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