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Byllye Avery: Warming Up the Clinic

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Published on May 31, 2012

Avery describes the women's health clinic she helped open in Florida in the 70s that broke with the cold, clinical mold.

Byllye Avery, a MacArthur fellow, has been a health care activist dedicated to bettering the welfare of low-income African American women through self-help groups and advocacy networks for more than 30 years. She is the founder of The Avery Institute for Social Change and the Black Women's Health Imperative. In 1974 Avery co-founded the Women's Health Center in Gainesville, Florida, and later became its president and executive director. She also co-founded Birthplace, an alternative birthing center, in Gainesville. As founder and executive director of the Black Women's Health Project, now the Black Women's Health Imperative, Avery helped the grassroots advocacy organization grow into an international network of more than 2,000 participants in 22 states and six foreign countries, producing the first Center for Black Women's Wellness. In 1994, she received the Academy of Science Institute of Medicine's Gustav O. Lienhard Award for the Advancement of Health Care, and in 2008 received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award for a Pioneer in Women's Rights.

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