Health

This topic focuses on the ways women negotiate their physical and emotional well-being both in their personal and family lives and in relation to the public institutions that make up our health care system. It seeks to learn about how women view, care for, and project their bodies and minds introspectively and in relation to the outside world.

Donna Crocker

Teacher; Member of Worcester Institute for Senior Education

Be yourself. Be strong. [laughs] Be ready and don’t be too hard on yourself. I think that women are coming to a point where they can feel stronger and express that. I would say also have a sense of humor; don’t expect to be perfect. Realize that most of the time life is good and do your best.

Donna Garrison Crocker was born in San Antonio Texas in 1944.  She moved around quite a bit as a young girl growing up, as her father was in, what was referred to at the time, as Army Air Corps during World War II. She and her family ultimately settled down in Weymouth, MA where she would later meet her husband. Donna now lives in Uxbridge, MA with her husband and the two of them regularly attend WISE [Worcester Institute for Senior Education] classes at Assumption College in Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/03/2019
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Shirley Carter

First African American to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing

It was early ‘20s they had this nursing program at Georgetown University Hospital.   My father had moved to Washington D.C. and I lived with him and his fourth wife temporarily until I got my own apartment then on 2727 P Street in Georgetown.  Worked with the Georgetown University Hospital... got the heck out of Worcester.  They had this wonderful earn and learn plan where you could get your degree in nursing by going to Catholic University and then make sure your classes and your nursing assignments would blend together well.  And I got this grant at Catholic University. And the nursing arts people said, “We don’t accept colored students, you all have to go to Maryland.”  Catholic University would not accept black students in the 50s. And for me to go to Maryland and then work the job it was not possible. So my dreams were dashed.

Dr. Shirley F.B. Carter was born on October 26, 1931 and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Shirley discusses how she and her sister were the first African Americans to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing. She is a bright, lively, and well-educated woman who has an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership. Shirley reflects upon her experiences and the sexism and racism she faced as an African American woman. Shirley worked multiple jobs for almost her entire life in order to first support her family when she was just a child, and then her children as an adult.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 09/21/2017
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Linda Raffaelle-Moyen

Nutrition, Health, and Education Professional

I majored in education, specifically Family and Consumer Science Education. And I graduated in 1979. I graduated magna cum laude. I always tried to excel and be perfect at everything. I thought that would give me that “over the rainbow life,” [laughs] but of course now I realize that was not the case.  So that was my major which was interesting because you know my parents weren’t that keen on the whole thing. So in my dad’s mind I think he thought, “Oh she’s going to school to learn how to be a housewife anyways.” [laughs] But it was funny. I used to drive this old car that would break down all the time and one of those days he had to come almost all the way out to Framingham to get the car.  He stops to get lunch and the guy at the coffee shop—you know my dad was friendly and talked to people and so he was talking about what he was doing out there, going to get my car at school.  And the guy asked what I was studying and he told him kind of, and this guy went on to tell him that, “You have no idea. Do you realize the classes she has to take?” And he started telling him, she’s got to take organic chemistry and she has to take all these psychology classes and started to tell him what I was really up to.  Not learning how to cook and sew or whatever.  And it was funny because after that I could see that he had a new perspective. He actually understood more and kind of took some pride in the fact that I was working and putting myself through college and doing well and all of that.

Linda Raffaele-Moyen was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1957. She attended Leominster High School and went on to study at Framingham State, married her high school sweetheart, and had three children. She later divorced and never remarried. Although her education led her to become a teacher, she ended up opening her own business in order to better support her family.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 02/19/2017
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Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, Canines for Disabled Kids.

I [got] my first service dog April 1st 2001, I now not only live a more independent life, but I help others to do that.   Do I move through life at a different pace?  Absolutely.  But I’m moving through life.  I’m going out shopping on my own.  I’m working part time which I would have had to give up.  I’m using tools that don’t prevent people from accessing me.   If I use a cane or a walker for support, people actually treat you like either you’re made of glass so they can’t come close to you or like you’re contagious.  The service dog helps to break down those barriers by allowing me to be seen as me, and not seen as those mechanical devices.  I do the things when I want to do them, not when somebody has time to help me, and service dogs for me personally are a critical tool.  And you know, when you asked earlier about political things, that’s probably an area that I am most likely to be called into taking personal political advocacy beyond the steps I’ve already taken.  Because that’s so important to my ability to be as independent and as successful as possible.

Kristin Hartness was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1971. Although her family’s roots are in Worcester, throughout her life she lived in various parts of the country. Kristin discusses her relationship with her parents, who help to manage her multiple sclerosis. She also talks about her relationship with her service dog, which led her to her current position in Worcester as an executive director of the non-profit organization Canines for Disabled Kids.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/19/2016
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Nancy Crimmin

Senior Vice President and Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer, Becker College

I think to have a full life, just to have people around you that love you and care about you.  Work is great and I could get all these accolades and my title could change and I can have these initials after my name and get awards and I can do all that, and that’s wonderful, But my friendships and my family and those connections, that’s the most important thing I think.

Nancy Crimmin was born in Canton, Massachusetts, in 1967 and went to Fontbonne Academy in Milton. Nancy came to Worcester to start a new job at Assumption College where she worked her way up from Resident Director to the Dean before leaving in 2012 to pursue a career at Becker College.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/13/2016
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Judith Pare

Dean of Nursing, Becker College

Strength, strength. I think women are by far incredibly strong powerful forces. We don’t always do a very good job at communicating or displaying that strength, but I wouldn’t have an appreciation of that strength if I hadn’t had the journey that I had, so for that I will forever be grateful.

Judith Pare is the Dean of Nursing at Becker College. She not only has experience in teaching the art of nursing but has firsthand experience as a nurse, having worked extensively in both standard hospital settings and in Alzheimer’s clinics. Dr. Pare practiced nursing at Peter Bent Brigham as well as worked with numerous professionals in the area of Alzheimer’s, a subject on which she also wrote two books. Following her divorce from her first husband, she worked four jobs in order to pay for her two daughters to get through college.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 11/13/2015
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Christine Corley

Audiologist

Probably the most amazing experience I can think of was when I was at Children's [Hospital] and I was in when a CI [cochlear implant] got activated. It was a little kid. I think he was 26 months, and his CI got activated and his mom started talking and everyone in the room was crying and it was pretty amazing. 

Dr. Christine Corley was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. She grew up in Reading, Massachusetts with her parents, two sisters, and brother. Dr. Corley is affiliated with Worcester because it is where her job is located. She is employed at the Hearing and Balance Center of New England, as an audiologist. Dr. Corley received her undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts and attended graduate school at Northeastern University. It was at Northeastern University where she attained her doctoral degree of audiology. Dr.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 11/03/2015
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Cathy Sessions

Marketing Director, Notre Dame Health Care

I know so many people define success monetarily and if you reach a certain status. That isn’t my definition of success and it's interesting in this class [Zen class] the first day, the first class, this is one of the questions that we were to ponder for the Zen and what makes a successful day for you, what makes a good day and so I’ve been pondering the question. For me it is when I go home feeling good, when I know that I’ve made a difference.  It can be the smallest of interactions, but you know that interaction made a difference in someone’s life.  I would say that is my definition of success and being a good person, being proud of the decisions you’ve made and ethical stances you’ve taken, and so that’s how I would define it.  I feel like I’ve done that.  I’ve lived a good life and I’ve treated people well. 

Cathy Sessions describes attending St. Lawrence University and being on the first women’s ice hockey team and then attending Boston University to earn a master’s in social work with a specialization in gerontology.  She also discusses her interest in alternative medicine and competitive sports.  She talks about her career path and her current position as Marketing Director at Notre Dame Health Care as well as her views on aging and success.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 10/21/2014
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Marianne Felice

Chair of Pediatrics, UMass Medical School

And I think of the department that I ran as a garden...I think of all the faculty that I’ve recruited as a flower. I could have had all roses…real flashy, but they have thorns, roses do. So you can have all tulips, but I think of the faculty in the department as a different kind of flower. Some need lots of sunshine, some need lots of water, some are going to be okay with benign neglect. They don’t even need you.

Dr. Marianne Elizabeth Felice was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 1943 and works at UMass Medical School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. She and her husband, John Giles, moved to Shrewsbury in 1998 when Marianne was offered the chair of pediatrics. Marianne has devoted her time to her job, advocacy efforts, and her husband. Networks of women have played an important role in her life and experiences, and she continues to value these relationships today. In this interview, Marianne reflects upon the struggles and joys of her life and experiences within the medical field.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 04/04/2013
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Sharon McLaughlin

Owner, College Admissions Counseling Business

I love doing what I do because I get to meet with students and talk to them about what their career goals and college plans are—help them find the college that they’re going to be comfortable at and help them be able to afford it. You know talk them into different scenarios and help them along the way. It’s nice to see kids go and really kind of blossom in college. You know, the ones that the parents worry about, “He or she is too shy to do this” or not going to adjust well to living out of state or taking care of themselves and they come back in December and say, “I can’t believe what a different kid this is” [laughter]. So, that’s where I get my fulfillment.

Sharon McLaughlin was born in 1958 in Worcester, MA and attended Burncoat Senior High School. Her father was a professor at Worcester State College and her mother a homemaker. Sharon runs her own college admissions consulting business which was inspired through her father’s love of education along with her own passionate interest in adult education. In this interview, Sharon discusses some of the struggles she encountered in her career and personal life. She gives insight on finding what you love to do and the emotional adversity she has faced with an ill boyfriend and aging parents.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/16/2012
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