A wall of pink rolled down the road, 40 feet of steel toting a million dollars worth of imaging equipment, sporting our logo, which is larger than most billboards, on its side. It was so huge it took my breath away. All I could think of when I first laid eyes on our new Mobile Mammography Health Coach was pink and huge. And she is.
'Rosie,' that's the name our driver, Tamie, gave our newest addition to The Rose family.
"Rosie?" I asked.
"Sure!" Shannon Mac from Development responded saying she's like 'Rosie the Riveter!'
I had to smile realizing that one of my younger staffers would know about Rosie but it got me to thinking: Was there more to the legacy of Rosie than I recalled? So I started researching and learned a lot.
Rosie was based in small part on a real-life munitions worker, but primarily a fictitious character. The strong, bandanna-clad Rosie became one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history, and the most iconic image of working women in the World War II era.
According to the Encyclopedia of American Economic History, "Rosie the Riveter" inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. By 1944, only 1.7 million unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 34 worked in the defense industry, while 4.1 million unmarried women between those ages did so. Over six million of those women were in war time jobs doing the same work previously assigned to men, welding and riveting, making munitions and building bombers, in fact at one point, women represented 65% of all aviation workers.
Rosie also inspired films, movies, books, articles and the famous Rockwell painting. She was in part, with the urgings of Eleanor Roosevelt and under the authorization of General Marshall, instrumental in the creation of the first women's service branch in the armed forces.
Rosie changed the role of women in the workplace forever. No longer limited to the traditional roles previously assigned to women, a new day had dawned. Gone were the days when women could only be teachers or homemakers or service workers. Rosie in the workplace as a riveter, welder or military person proved that women could build airplanes and they could also fly them. They were paid well, not as much as men, but well.
Author, Susan Ware, in Modern American Women: A Documentary History, posits that Rosie's role in recruiting all women, especially African American women into the workforce, was a big part of the new process of whites working alongside blacks which led to a breaking down of social barriers and a healthy recognition of diversity.
That idea really fascinated me because my deepest dream is that this new Coach will break down all kinds of barriers and allow all women access to care and an equal chance at life. The Coach includes the latest in advanced imaging technology, 3D tomosynthesis mammography AND has an additional exam room that could provide any number of screenings and diagnostic services.
Not only will we be able to do breast ultrasounds, diagnostic mammograms and physical breast exams but our Collaborating Partners will have a place to provide a variety of services. Diabetic screenings, vaccinations, well woman exams including pap smears, biometric testing–the list is nearly endless matching the many needs of the women we serve.
We need Collaborating Partners to make this happen. The Rose does mammography incredibly well—in fact we've won the prestigious Breast Imaging Center of Excellence recognition for our quality and care.
But I realize that my dream depends on others who share the same vision that we do—access to care for all. For all those other services and probably dozens I haven't even considered, we will need our Partners! They will have to be able to serve both insured and uninsured and as importantly, be able to provide a full continuum of care in whatever health service they offer.
Two big requirements, but I know we'll find the right partners to make this happen.
I can't begin to describe how excited I am about our Coach, how much it could mean to all the women we will serve in the future, how many counties it will serve, how many lives it will save. It will change the way we provide women's breast healthcare forever. It will give women a different way to access care and a chance to survive.
Maybe 'Rosie' is the best name for her after all!
Sidebar: Rosie Recruited
We had a dozen events in place to 'introduce' Rosie to the community, but Harvey had other plans. The first weekend, after the Hurricane and most roadways were clear, the Mobile Mammography Health Coach was recruited into service! It became a non-emergency clinic by one of The Rose's Community Partners and was driven to a Community Center. There, in four short hours, Dr. Abdul Moosa and his team from La Porte Family Clinic served 25 families needing care for active infections, wounds and fevers. They also provided education to diabetic and hypertension patients, refilled medications and extended mental health care for those dealing with loss and trauma.
Before she ever did her first mammogram, Rosie was hard at work, pitching in and filling a role.
Her namesake would be proud!