Intersectionality Research Salons

Intersectionality Research Salons are FREE to attend, and will be hosted via Zoom every 2nd Wednesday, 5:00 - 6:30 pm ET

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June 12, 2024

Salon Topic

Black Women and Breast Cancer: Gendered Racism, and the Power of Community-Empowered Resistance

Salon Guests
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Bridgette Hempstead

CEO & Founder
Cierra Sisters

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Leah Marcotte, MD, MS

Assistant Professor
Division of General Internal Medicine
University of Washington

Salon Description

What do we miss when we talk about Black women’s breast cancer experiences only through the prism of racism, rather than the intersection of racism and sexism (as well as heterosexism and class oppression)?  That’s just one of the many provocative questions that  this much anticipated salon will address after we watch the video, Anti-racism in Oncology: Episode 1, a collaboration between Cierra Sisters, an organization that our esteemed guest, Ms. Bridgette Hempstead founded 28 years ago, and Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Seattle, WA.

We are honored to host as our guests for our June 2024 salon, Ms. Bridgette Hempstead, the CEO and Founder of Cierra Sisters, a breast cancer and support organization for Black women living with breast cancer, and her academic research partner, Dr. Leah  Marcotte, MD, MS an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Washington.  They’ll talk about the inspiring community-led work that Cierra Sisters is doing to advocate for more equitable breast cancer care, treatment, and prevention for Black women; the importance of community-empowered and community-engaged research and breast cancer programs for Black women, and the trials and tribulations (and joys) of community-academic research partnerships.

Guest Bios

Bridgette Hempstead founded Cierra Sisters shortly after her own diagnosis. It is a breast cancer survivor and support organization. The name is rooted in African origins; “Cierra” meaning “knowing”, reminding us that knowledge is in fact  power.

The mission of Cierra Sisters is to break the cycle of fear and increase knowledge concerning breast cancer in the African-American and underserved communities.

Cierra Sisters has, for over 24 years been a wellspring of support and life-saving information for African American women living with breast cancer.

This is achieved via large scale presentations, consistent one-on-one’s with healthcare professionals, and diverse outreach efforts.


Dr. Leah Marcotte is a primary care physician and health services researcher in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Her research focus is to develop and test innovative primary care delivery approaches among populations who face barriers to access and health inequities. She is interested in learning health systems research—working with health systems to directly integrate research methods and evaluations into healthcare operations. She is currently part of an interdisciplinary research team working to address inequities in breast cancer screening using human-centered design and implementation science approaches.

Dr. Marcotte enjoys mentoring and advising medical students, residents, and fellows interested in health services research and welcomes email requests to learn more about research opportunities.

There will be no Salon in July or August. Enjoy your summer!

September 11, 2024


Salon Guest
Liz Cole

Elizabeth Cole, PhD

Professor, Women's Studies, Psychology, and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Guest Bio

Elizabeth Cole is a Professor in the Women’s Studies and Psychology Departments at the University of Michigan.  She also has an unbudgeted appointment with the Department for Afroamerican and African Studies.  Within Psychology, she is affiliated with the Personality and Social Contexts Area as well as Gender and Feminist Psychology.

Her research, at the intersection of psychology and women’s studies, works to understand the social construction of categories like gender, race and social class. Feminist theorists have long argued that these categories are not natural or essential, but instead derive meaning from specific social and cultural practices and beliefs that vary in different times and places. She is interested in questions such as: How do the categories mutually construct each other and work together to shape outcomes such as well being or political attitudes? How do people experience these social categories as parts of their identities? How do members of different groups perceive these categories of difference, and how are these perceptions related to prejudice? To address these questions, she uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. Her past projects have explored topics such as: political participation among women who graduated from college during the late 1960s, the role of social class identity in women’s attitudes towards abortion, and the processes through which race and gender consciousness develop among college students.

For the past 12 years, she has been writing about the concept of intersectionality: how do individuals simultaneously experience racial, class and/or gender identities?

October 9, 2024


Salon Guest

Dr. Poorna Kushalnagar

Strategic Research Officer/CRO
Director, Center for Deaf Health Equity
Gallaudet University

Guest Bio

Poorna Kushalnagar, Ph.D., is an associate professor in psychology and directs the Deaf Health Communication and Quality of Life Research Lab at Gallaudet University. Her research focuses on accessibility and utilization of cancer health information and patient reported outcomes among deaf people. As a dissemination strategy, her lab utilizes a community-based filmmaking approach to translate study results into accessible videos about preventing and controlling cancer in the Deaf community (her lab's first film can be viewed here).

As part of her NIH-funded R15 grant (NIH Area Grant), Dr. Kushalnagar and her team translated the HINTS instrument into American Sign Language (ASL) and administered the survey to more than 1,500 deaf people. The collected data are being used to identify patterns of health information seeking behaviors in the deaf community and to better understand issues related to patient-physician communication in the deaf population. Preliminary data suggest that though deaf people who use ASL generally go to the internet first for health information, many find the information they find difficult to understand. This suggests a need for continued efforts to make health information materials more accessible for this population.

November 13, 2024


Salon Guest

Sarah S. Richardson, PhD

Aramont Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Harvard University
Director of Graduate Studies, WGS

Director, GenderSci Lab

Guest Bio

Sarah Richardson is Aramont Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, where she has taught since 2010. Her courses include gender and science, feminist science studies, interdisciplinary research methods in gender studies, heredity and reproduction, postgenomics, medical management of the female body, and sex, gender, and evolution. An expert in the history and philosophy of the sciences of sex, gender, sexuality, and reproduction, she also writes and teaches about race and science, history and philosophy of biology (in particular, genomics and evolutionary biology), feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, and the social dimensions of scientific knowledge. She currently serves on the Harvard Standing Committees for Degrees in Social Studies and for the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative.

Besides her many scholarly articles published in journals of the history, social studies, and philosophy of science, her books include The Maternal Imprint: The Contested Science of Maternal-Fetal Effects (2021, Adele E. Clarke Book Award); Postgenomics: Perspectives on Biology After the Genome (co-edited, 2015); Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome (2013), and Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age (co-edited, 2008). Her writings have also appeared widely in the popular media, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Slate.

In 2018, Richardson founded the Harvard GenderSci Lab, a collaborative, interdisciplinary research lab that generates concepts and methods for scientific research on sex and gender. Through research, teaching, and outreach, the Lab works to advance the intersectional study of gender in the biomedical and allied sciences, counter bias and hype in sex difference research, and enhance public discourse surrounding the sciences of sex and gender. The Lab unites expertise in the social sciences and biomedical research fields, producing transdisciplinary scholarship widely recognized for its empirical rigor and theoretical sophistication. The GenderSci Lab has produced high-impact research on gender/sex disparities in COVID-19, global trends in human sperm count, and gender inequality in STEM fields, among many contributions, and is an international center for graduate and postdoctoral training in interdisciplinary feminist science studies.

Richardson has given dozens of keynotes and endowed lectures, including at the University of Cambridge, the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Paris), Texas A&M, University of Pittsburgh, Inserm (Paris), Rice University, the National Academies of Science, the Mercantile Library, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, University of California Los Angeles, and the American Psychological Association. Her honors include the Philosophy of Science Association Women’s Caucus Prize, the Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, a Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship, fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Association of University Women, and research funding from the Pioneering Ideas initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has been a fellow in residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin. She is a member of the editorial boards for the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and is a past board member of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. She has served as interim chair and as director of graduate studies in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard, working to strengthen interdisciplinary gender studies community among faculty and students. In 2020, Wired named her one of "32 innovators who are building a better future."

December 11, 2024


Salon Guest

Shawnika Hull, PhD

Associate Professor of Communication
Rutgers School of Communication and Information

Guest Bio

Shawnika Hull’s research focuses on reducing racial inequities in HIV incidence through community-engaged, applied communication science. She develops, implements, and evaluates theoretically grounded communication interventions focused on impacting individual and social-structural barriers to HIV prevention. This research is informed by and developed in close collaboration with community partners. Her expertise includes qualitative (i.e. focus groups) and quantitative (i.e. surveys, experiments) data collection and analytical methods. Her research has been funded through various institutional, non-profit (i.e., MAC AIDS Fund) and governmental mechanisms (i.e., NIH, CDC) and published in communication and public health journals. Her rigorous, theoretically grounded, collaborative approach to research informs health communication theorizing and practice. Hull is currently a Visiting Professor in the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Hull earned her Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Pennsylvania

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