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Patrick Smith
Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development

Last modified: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Progression of Women in the 21st Century" is theme of IU's Women of Color Leadership conference

March 25, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Health Department and associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and Valeri Haughton, Monroe County courts judge, will keynote the second annual Women of Color Leadership Conference (WOCLC) at IU Bloomington April 3-4.

Virginia Caine

Dr. Virginia Caine

Other presenters will include Wakisha Malone, who is an academic advisor with IU's Groups Student Support Services Program. Through a collaboration with the Herman Hudson Symposium, conference participants also will have the opportunity to attend a lecture by hip hop pioneer Chuck D., a musician, author and producer who helped create politically and socially conscious rap music in the late 1980s as the leader of the rap group, Public Enemy.

The conference theme this year is "The Progression of Women in the 21st Century: Higher Education, Health and Politics." The event will be held at the Godfrey Graduate and Executive Education Center at the Kelley School of Business.

The annual Women of Color Leadership Conference was started last year by the Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development in response to a successful series of conferences organized for male students. The office thought it appropriate to begin a similar initiative to address issues that pertain to women of color.

Topics being covered include academic and career goal-setting, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease among minority women, issues in developing sex education curricula and self image.

In addition to IU students attending the conference, participants are expected to come from the Monroe County Community School Corp., as well as from other institutions and agencies from around the state of Indiana. Last year, participants represented institutions such as Indiana State University, Eastern Illinois University, the University of Illinois and Clark University (Mass).

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, April 3. High school students will benefit from workshops focusing on preparing for and entering college, perceptions of women in popular culture and empowerment. Malone will be the day's keynote speaker.

The following morning, sessions oriented toward current college students will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a keynote address by Haughton, who was elected as a Monroe County court judge last year. She is a former deputy Monroe County prosecutor and deputy public defender.

A graduate of the Maurer School of Law School at IU Bloomington, Haughton also has served as chairwoman of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission and on the boards of directors of the Community Kitchen, the Sheriff's Merit Board, the Youth Services Board, the Cardinal Stage Company and the Community Justice and Mediation Center. She has done pro bono work for CASA and the Protective Order Project and is a member of several service organizations, including Rotary International and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Caine, the day's lunch speaker, is a faculty member in the medical school's infectious disease division. She is active in several professional societies including the National Medical Association; National Association of County & City Health Officials; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Council on Education for Public Health.

She sits on the boards of the Indiana AIDS Fund, the IU School of Nursing Advisory Board, the Indianapolis Alliance for Health Promotion, the Indiana Health Information Exchange and the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis.

Chuck D. will speak at 5 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

Patrick D. Smith, executive director of the Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development and the conference chair, is excited about the caliber of speakers represented in this year's event.

"The quality and depth of the speakers the committee has secured for this year's event indicates that this conference is moving in the right direction. We have some outstanding speakers who will address topics that are both meaningful and substantive," he said.

The Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development is sponsoring the conference. Other conference supporters include the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the Dean of Students, Kelley School of Business, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, MCCSC, the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The conference will accept registrations through March 30. The fee to attend the conference is $50 for university and community professionals, $25 for college students and $20 for IU Bloomington students. Registrations can be made online at and accessing the "Women of Color Leadership Conference" link.

There will be no cost for MCCSC students, but they must register through their school. Those interested students should contact Veronica Hites at the Office of Mentoring Services and Leadership Development at 812-856-5748 or The fee includes all conference materials and meals. There will be no onsite registration.