Photo of Dr. Anita Raj
I am thrilled and honored to be writing you in this first quarter of my new role as Executive Director of Newcomb Institute. Fall is always a time of new beginnings and rejuvenation at Tulane, and at Newcomb we are working to rejuvenate our activities and scholarship to meet the needs of our changing society and ongoing efforts toward gender equity. In the coming year, I will be hosting receptions in New Orleans and across the United States to learn more about our strong alumnae network, and the work and impact of Newcomb. I will also be working with my team to increase recognition of the scholarly impacts our faculty, staff, and students are having on issues of gender equity, locally and globally.
The past year has resulted in many accomplishments. We awarded more than $200,000 in grant funding to students, faculty, and community members to support gender equity-focused research and community engagement. We had 34 students participate in our Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health internship program, where they were paired with community partners such as the Maternal and Child Health Coalition and Lift Louisiana. Dr. Clare Daniel, Administrative Associate Professor of Women’s Leadership and Assistant Director of Community Engagement, co-authored a research paper with Tulane Public Health graduate student Grace Riley on the impacts of the program, which has demonstrated success in developing young leaders’ civic engagement and impactful scholarship. We continue to support community participatory action in our local community and with our partners to strengthen New Orleans and Louisiana, while building the capacities of our students doing this work.
We also had 45 students work as technology and digital research interns, where they engaged in initiatives benefiting Newcomb and the greater Tulane community. The work of our incredible interns and student organizations, such as the Feminist Alliance of Students at Tulane, Equity in Technology, and Tulane’s chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (TAMWA), give me confidence that solutions to the intractable problems sustaining gender and other social inequalities are well within our reach. Our growing efforts to build the evidence base on these issues and strategies to mobilize change in our local communities can serve as a model nationally. We continue to prioritize the autonomy and leadership of women and girls, while collaborating and allying with those working toward elimination of social and health inequalities for all people, regardless of gender.
This year we also celebrate the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Newcomb Alumnae Association and the courage of alumnae who paved the way for others to advance their communities. Still today, as our world changes and new crises emerge, Newcomb remains relevant, drawing inspiration from the progressive values upon which we were founded while continuing the traditions that have supported women and girls for generations to lead equitable progress with humanity and humility. I look forward to meeting you in the near future and invite you to visit us when you are in New Orleans.
Anita Raj, Ph. D.,MS
Executive Director, Newcomb Institute of Tulane University
Nancy Reeves Dreux Endowed Chair & Professor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine