Guide to the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers
(Bulk 1981-2001)

Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street
Silberman Building, Room 122
New York, NY 10035

Phone: (212) 396-7877
Fax: (212) 396-7707

© Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY. All rights reserved.
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY: Publisher

Processed by Melisa Ribas and Nadya Rodriguez with the assistance of Christopher R. Medina. Date: November 2007.

Machine-readable finding aid derived from a MS Word document dated: 2008. Machine-readable finding aid created by Brian Stevens. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rodriguez-Trías, Helen, 1929-2001
Title: Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers
Abstract: The Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers help chronicle the professional activities and contributions of a dedicated and well-respected public health advocate and practitioner. A Puerto Rican pediatrician, public health leader and women’s rights activist, she worked tirelessly throughout her career to expand the range of health care services available to women and children, especially those in underserved and marginalized communities in Puerto Rico and across the United States. The collection is made up of correspondence, clippings, letters, memoranda, programs, awards, flyers, writings, speeches, notes, publications, photographs, videotapes, audiocassettes and slides.
Quantity: 3.25 cubic feet7 boxes plus audiocassettes and videotapes)

Historical/Biographical Note

Helen Rodriguez-Trias was a pediatrician, a public health advocate and a women's rights activist whose career was dedicated to improving and expanding health care services for women and children, especially low-income women and families, in Puerto Rico and the United States. This commitment and dedication are evident in her efforts to improve neonatal care for low-income women, to raise cultural awareness among the medical community, to bring an end to coercive tactics in sterilization, to fight for reproductive justice, to advocate for women of color and low-income women in all aspects of public health and to develop policies and services for people with HIV/AIDS.

The youngest daughter of Damián Rodriguez y Josefa Trías, Helen Rodriguez-Trias was born July 7, 1929 in New York City. Her family returned to Puerto Rico when she was still a young child, the first of many moves between the two islands that Rodriguez-Trias would make throughout her life. At an early age, she learned first-hand about injustice and discrimination and the impact of fighting against it. Rodriguez-Trias witnessed her mother, a schoolteacher in Puerto Rico, successfully fight for education reforms ranging from advocating for a school lunch program to bringing Spanish back into the classroom, a practice banned since the United States took control of Puerto Rico in 1898.

In 1939, upon returning to New York City with her mother after her parents divorce, the two experienced the racism that was increasingly prevalent as Puerto Ricans migrated to New York City in greater numbers. Unable to get a teaching license although fully bilingual, Josefa Trias was forced to take low-wage work as a seamstress, a cook and, later, a housekeeper. Rodriguez-Trias was placed in remedial classes at school, not because of a perceived need or poor grades but due to her Spanish last name. Although a teacher recognized Rodriguez-Trías' intellectual abilities early on and had her transferred to a gifted students class, she still suffered through the taunts and torments of her classmates and teachers. Undeterred and driven to excel in and out of the classroom, Rodriguez-Trias graduated high school and received a full scholarship to attend the University of Puerto Rico.

In college, she became involved in the Puerto Rican independence movement, activism that had begun to take shape alongside other Puerto Rican students in high school, and joined a student strike that closed down the university. Her older brother, alarmed by Helen's political involvement, wielded his position as a source of financial support and insisted that she leave Puerto Rico immediately. While back in New York and still active in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, she met and married a fellow activist, David Brainin, and together fought to challenge racist and discriminatory practices and policies that affected people of color during that time. The birth of their first child, Jo Ellen, proved to be a turning point in Rodriguez-Trías' life - it was her first encounter with the health care system in the U.S. and the impetus for her to finish her college degree, go on to medical school, and pursue a career in pediatrics. Rodriguez-Trías' birthing process was marred by pain, fear, isolation, and uncaring and unsympathetic physicians and nurses. She eventually discovered that she had been used as a guinea pig in a scientific experiment evaluating the effect of emotional support, or the lack thereof, on women giving birth for the first time. The dehumanizing experience left an imprint on her and she vowed to not only become a doctor who was caring and empathetic with her patients but to improve health care for women in general.

Although it took several years, two more children - Laura and David - and a divorce before Rodriguez-Trias embarked on this new phase of her life, she finally did return to Puerto Rico to finish her undergraduate studies and attend medical school. In 1960, she graduated first in her class from the School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico. Although pregnant with Daniel, her fourth child, she started her year long residency at the University Hospital after which she decided to pursue pediatrics as her specialty. Upon completing her two-year residency in pediatrics, she accepted her first leadership position in the medical field, Director of Newborn Service at University Hospital in Puerto Rico, where her reforms led to a 50% decrease in infant mortality rates. She remained with the Department of Pediatrics until 1970, when she moved back to New York City after the dissolution of her second marriage.

For the next 18 years, Rodriguez-Trias worked in various hospitals in New York and New Jersey, first at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx during the Young Lords takeover (1970-1977), and later at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center (1974-1985) and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (1985-1988). She also taught pediatrics at several area medical schools including Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University (1970-1977), College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University (1978-1985) and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1985-1988).

It was her early years at Lincoln Hospital, however, that gave her the opportunity to develop her distinct leadership style. Arriving as an attending physician to a hospital serving a primarily Puerto Rican community in the South Bronx during a chaotic and tumultuous time was no easy task. The Young Lords, and the Pediatrics Collective that aligned themselves with them, had taken over the hospital to improve health care for the community. Rodriguez-Trias shared their ideology and their practical goals but differed in the methods and strategies used to achieve them. She believed that compromise was necessary to ensure action and change, and that in the end, reaching agreements with the various parties that had a stake in the hospital was in the best interest of the community. Over time, she won them all over using her political savvy, her practicality and her ability to bring disparate forces together and to find points of unity - characteristics that would serve her well many times throughout her career - and would go on to serve as Director of Pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital until 1974.

Her time at Lincoln Hospital also marked a greater involvement with the women's rights movement. She attended conferences and meetings and even hosted a consciousness-raising group for Latinas. On a daily basis, Rodriguez-Trias bore witness to how low-income women of color lacked the same quality of health care that more affluent, generally white communities were able to access. She incorporated these real-life experiences in her discussions about public health or in meetings with other women's rights activists in order to shed light on the health care realities of Latinas and other women of color under the current system.

For example, at the 1974 American Public Health Association's annual meeting, she shared the story of a young, Puerto Rican woman who was denied medical care -- and later died at home -- because doctors believed that she was faking her symptoms. The reason for her neglect was appalling: a medical textbook had indexed "Puerto Rican Syndrome" as a term for hysteria. In a strongly worded letter of protest, Rodriguez-Trias demanded that future editions exclude such disparaging terminology; the editors of the textbook agreed. Although far from remedying all of the health care inequalities faced by Latinas, she believed that small steps like these created incremental changes in women's daily lives.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Rodriguez-Trias was active in the reproductive rights movement. One of her most significant contributions was expanding the overarching feminist movement's understanding of reproductive rights to include coerced sterilization and establishing federal guidelines that would protect women at risk of being forced, directly and indirectly, into the procedure. While middle to upper class white women were fighting to gain access to sterilization, a practice often denied to them by a medical establishment that encouraged these women to have more children, many low-income women of color were pressured into the procedure as part of a subtle, but effective eugenics movement.

In fact, as Rodriguez-Trias researched the prevalence of sterilization in Puerto Rico, she unveiled a staggering picture. Between the late 1930s and the late 1960s, approximately one third of Puerto Rican women of childbearing age had been sterilized and, often, without information about the irreversible nature of the procedure. Studies on the practice uncovered that the Puerto Rican government had conducted an intensive sterilization program that included subsidized or free procedures, a sharp contrast to expensive and scarce birth control methods. Puerto Rico was not an isolated case. Further research revealed that hospitals in the United States were also aggressively pushing sterilization among low-income women of color. By the mid 1970s, over 65 percent of sterilizations in U.S. hospitals were performed on women of color.

Responding to such rampant injustice and discrimination in the name of public health, Rodriguez-Trías, along with other activists, formed the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA) to engage in public education about coerced sterilization, to advocate for free birth control, to institute sterilization guidelines and to file legal challenges against individuals and institutions that employed coercive tactics. Indeed, CESA spent the next several years actively pursuing these goals which, ultimately, resulted in the 1979 passage of federal guidelines on sterilization that required written and informed consent and a thirty-day waiting period. By this time, CESA had evolved into another organization founded by Rodriguez-Trías, the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA), reflecting their participation and impact in the greater reproductive rights movement. In addition, Rodriguez-Trías' efforts to improve women's health led her to join others in establishing the Women's Caucus of the American Public Health Association.

In 1988, she became the Medical Director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute after working with many HIV-infected children at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and realizing that HIV prevention was an enormous public health issue that had not yet been fully integrated into the consciousness of health care providers as well as the general public. Her work at the AIDS Institute, which included policy and program development, contributed to the establishment of standards of care for people with HIV/AIDS in New York that became a model for the entire nation.

After nearly a decade together, Rodriguez-Trias married Edward González and moved to California in the late 1980s. Life in New York City had become too hectic and Rodriguez-Trias was feeling overwhelmed and overextended; she hoped to focus more of her time and energy on her political work. She announced her candidacy for President of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in 1992 and, as a twenty-year active and respected member of the organization, was elected in 1993, the first Latina to hold the position. The presidency became Rodriguez-Trías' platform for urging the health care community to better address the health care needs of low-income families, uninsured individuals, Latinas and other women of color and people with HIV/AIDS. She traveled extensively throughout the country giving presentations to large and diverse audiences who heeded her message of health equity, reproductive freedom and women's rights.

Rodriguez-Trías' year-long presidency was followed by the co-direction of the Pacific Institute for Women's Health until 1999, where she focused on research and advocacy on access to health care, reproductive health and health care policy at the local and global level. Specifically, she worked to integrate contraception and HIV prevention efforts, believing that the two areas were intrinsically linked, and to promote reproductive health programs in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Throughout the 1990s, she was also a consultant to agencies, organizations and foundations in various aspects of health care including program development, proposal evaluation, field studies and reports on health needs among underserved communities. This extensive writing, along with the numerous forewords and introductions for books that her expertise and experience attracted, is well-documented in this collection.

Rodriguez-Trías' political, programmatic and leadership work was not limited to these activities. In 1994, she attended the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt where she contributed to the drafting and adoption of Principle 4 of the Cairo Plan of Action, an internationally agreed upon statement on the advancement of women's equality and rights and the empowerment of women. She attended the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China as a delegate of the United States. She also served on numerous Board of Directors throughout her career including the William Fitz Ryan Community Health Center (1975-1982), Center for Constitutional Rights (1984-1990), National Women's Health Network (1988-1996), Latino Commission on AIDS (1991-1994) and twice sat on the American Public Health Association's Executive Board (1985-1989, 1992-1994).

Among the many additional awards and recognitions she received in honor of her years of service and activism in public health, and especially the health of low-income women of color, were the Distinguished Physicians Award (National Women's Health Network, 1977), inclusion in the "Women Making History" book (New York City's Commission on Women, 1984), Award for Service (ASPIRA of New York, 1986), Distinguished Service Recognition Award (National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations, 1990) and a Lifetime Achievement Award (Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association, 1993).

Most notably, in January of 2001 and less than a year before succumbing to lung cancer, Rodriguez-Trias was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in recognition of her broad public service in the health field including improving neonatal care for low-income women, raising cultural awareness among the medical community to better serve Latino patients, ending coerced sterilization, fighting for reproductive rights, advocating for women of color and low-income women in all aspects of public health and improving policies and services for people with HIV/AIDS.

Rodriguez-Trias stayed true to her belief that, "…it is ultimately important to keep ourselves where the struggles are taking place, and to be part of the struggles." She transformed this conviction into a lifelong commitment to service, activism and education in public health, in the broadest and most inclusive sense of the word, at the individual, community, national and international level. This collection, small in quantity but large in scope, offers researchers an overview of Rodriguez-Trías' enduring legacy and the fruits of her struggles. In addition, researchers seeking information about Rodriguez-Trías' life and work can examine the Edward González Papers for additional materials.

Scope and Content Note

The Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers offer information and insight on the personal and professional life of a dynamic, charismatic and multi-faceted Puerto Rican pediatrician, activist and community health advocate. In addition, the collection is a source for study on the development of a Latina perspective in the broad areas of public health, women's rights and reproductive health.

Among the highlights of the collection are numerous biographical articles and profiles on Rodriguez-Trías, obituaries and tributes in print and video formats published or released after her death in 2001, many of her writings and public presentations of the 1980s and 1990s, materials related to her candidacy and presidency of the American Public Health Association in the early 1990s and a photographic grouping that depicts different stages in her life from the 1960s through 2001.

The collection spans from 1929 to 2002 with the bulk of the papers dating between 1981 and 2001. It includes correspondence, clippings, letters, memoranda, programs, awards, flyers, writings, speeches, notes, publications, photographs, videotapes, audiocassettes and slides. The materials are in English and Spanish.


The folders are arranged alphabetically while the documents are organized chronologically.
The collection is comprised of the following series:
I. Biographical and Personal Information
II. Writings
III. Presentations and Speeches
IV. Organizations
V. Subject Files
VI. Photographs
VII. Audio-Visual


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street
Silberman Building, Room 122
New York, NY 10035

Phone: (212) 396-7877
Fax: (212) 396-7707

Access Points

Subject Names:
González, Edward
Pantoja, Antonia
Rodriguez-Trías, Helen
Subject Organizations:
American Public Health Association
Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse
Committee to End Sterilization Abuse
National Women's Health Network
New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute
Pacific Institute for Women's Health
Subject Topics:
Hispanics -- New York (State) -- New York
Hispanics in New York (City)
HIV/AIDS awareness
International Conference on Population and Development (1994 : Cairo, Egypt)
Minorities -- United States - Social Conditions
Physicians -- New York (City)
Physicians -- Puerto Rico
Public Health -- United States
Puerto Ricans --New York (State) -- New York
Puerto Ricans in New York (City)
Reproductive Health -- United States
Women -- Health Reformers -- United States
World Conference on Women (4th : 1995 : Beijing, China)
Document Types:

Separated Material

A journal was transferred to the Library of the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños.

Administrative Information


Donated by Jo Ellen Brainin-Rodriguez.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); The Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers; 2002-05; box number; folder number;
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Archives, Hunter College, CUNY

Processing Information

Processed with a grant from a congressional directed initiative sponsored by Congressman José Serrano and administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Funding was also provided by the Council of the City of New York.

Other Finding Aid

Guide to the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Papers available in Spanish: Spanish Version

Container List

[The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.]


Series I: Biographical and Personal Information (1929-2002)

Scope and Content:

This first series is replete with information about Rodriguez-Trías' personal and professional life and offers documentation from her early years through her passing in 2001.

As a highly visible and public figure who inserted the health concerns, needs and issues affecting women of color, low-income women and their families into the national public health arena, she was routinely profiled in publications highlighting individuals who have made significant contributions to society. These articles offer insights into Rodriguez-Trías' childhood and early adulthood and the effect these had on her future efforts. There are also several other biographical sketches that reinforce these and other facts about her life. A further testament to the impact of her work are the myriad obituaries and tributes collected after her death that praise her dedication, commitment and accomplishments on behalf of the communities for which she was an advocate.

Also included in the series are academic records, clippings detailing some of her activities, records of her medical licenses and continuing education participation and personal correspondence from her husband, Edward González, as well as other family members.

Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Academic Records 1947-1970
1 2 Awards and Certificates undated, 1982-1999
1 3 Biographical Sketches, Profiles and Resumes undated, 1986-2002
1 4 Clippings undated, 1965-1998
1 5 Contact Lists undated, 2002


1 6 Correspondence, Personal undated, 1960-2002
1 7 Family History and Records undated, 1955-1993
1 8 Honorary Degree, Haverford College undated, 2002
1 9 Identification Cards and Birth Certificate undated, 1929-2002
1 10 Medical Licenses, Continuing Education Credits and Registration Certificates undated, 1961-1988
1 11 Obituaries and Tributes undated, 2001-2002
1 12 ¡Soy Boricua! La Mujer Puertorriqueña, Calendar by the Institute for Puerto Rican Policy 1993

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Series II: Writings (1983-1998)

Scope and Content:

The writings in this series span the 1980s and 1990s, the two decades which saw Rodriguez-Trias take a highly public and active role in the arena of public health, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and, specifically, the health of the Latino community. Articles are arranged alphabetically, either by subject or by title depending on length and the volume of background or related materials attached to it, and represent various formats including book chapters, periodical articles, book reviews and forewords, conference and issue reports and opinion editorials. The majority of these writings date to the mid 1990s when Rodriguez-Trias was working as a consultant in health programming and was enlisted because of her knowledge, expertise and experience in the field.

Writings during her tenure as President of the American Public Health Association, such as the President's column in their monthly newsletter, can be found within the APHA sub-series in the Organizations series of this collection.


Box Folder Title Date
2 1 From Where I Sit, Family Life Educator 1997
2 2 HIV/AIDS undated
2 3 Medical Care and Practices 1983
2 4 Reproductive Health undated
2 5 Book Reviews, Commentaries and Forewords undated, 1988-1997

Book Chapters

Box Folder Title Date
2 6 Challenges and Possibilities: Women, HIV and the Health Care System in the 1990s, Women Resisting AIDS: Feminist Strategies of Empowerment 1994-1995
2 7 A Mother's Story, The Conversation Begins 1995
2 8 The Women's Health Movement: Women Take Power, Reforming Medicine 1983-1984
2 9 The Health Care System's Response to Victims of Crime 1996
2 10 The Health of Latino Children and Youth, ca. 1992
2 11 Opinion Editorials undated, 1992-1996
2 12 Primary Care of Women and Children with HIV Infection: A Multidisciplinary Approach 1993
2 13 Substance Abuse, Various undated, 1992-1997
2 14 Welfare Reform and the Health of Latinas undated, 1998
2 15 Women and the Health Care Delivery System, Women's Health Forum Paper 1996

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Series III: Presentations and Speeches (1962-1999)

Scope and Content:

The materials in this series, the largest of the collection, pertain to public presentations and speeches on a wide range of subjects and issues delivered by Rodriguez-Trias throughout her career. The breadth of the series is indicative of her commitment to bring the health concerns of women, people of color -- especially the Latino community -- children, low-income families and people with HIV/AIDS to the forefront of the public discourse and also the high degree of respect and visibility that she garnered as a medical doctor, public health advocate and women's rights activist.

In most instances, the materials have been arranged alphabetically by theme or subject. However, presentations and speeches with significant correspondence and background materials have been assigned their own folder and labeled according to their title or, when lacking one, by the event name.


Box Folder Title Date
3 1 Colleges and Universities 1981-1992
3 2 Medical Students 1976-1995
3 3 Medical Subjects 1968-1969
Box Folder Title Date
3 4 Challenges in Health Care Delivery: Meeting the Needs of a Growing D.C. Hispanic Community 1985
3 5 Child and Family Health, Various undated, 1984-1994
3 6 Child Sexual Abuse: Treatment of the Victim, Offender and Family undated, 1981
3 7 Congressional Testimony, Sterilization and Health Appropriations 1978-1993
3 8 General undated, 1987-1996
3 9 Health in the Latino/a Community and Other Communities of Color, Various undated, 1991-1996
3 10 HIV/AIDS and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Various undated, 1989-1998
Box Folder Title Date
4 1 The Impact of the Arms Race in Health and Health Care undated, 1962-1981
4 2 Interviews with Rodriguez-Trías, Helen, Transcripts undated, 1994
4 3 New York Task Force on Immigrant Health 1996
4 4 Primary Care, Various undated, 1993-1994
4 5 Primer Congreso Puertorriqueño, Mujer y Salud 1989
4 6 Public Health, Various undated, 1978-1992
4 7 Reproductive Health, Various undated, 1976-1999
4 8 Sterilization Abuse, Various undated, 1976-1984
4 9 Women and the Health Care System and Sterilization Abuse, Two Lectures, Barnard College 1976
4 10 Women's Health, Various undated, 1992-1996

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Series IV: Organizations (1985-2001)

Scope and Content:

This brief series documents some of the organizational work that Rodriguez-Trias was involved in during her career, especially in the early to mid 1990s. The majority of the materials document her long-standing work with the American Public Health Association with a particular focus on her election to the presidency of the organization and her monthly column contributed to its newsletter. Also represented are the National Women's Health Network, whose Board of Directors she served on, and The Pacific Institute for Women's Health, which she co-directed from 1996 until 1999.

Notably missing from this series are documents pertaining to the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse and the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse, two organizations which she helped to establish in the 1970s, and to her efforts as a member of the Board of Directors of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective.

Box Folder Title Date
4 11 National Women's Health Network undated, 1996

American Public Health Association

Box Folder Title Date
4 12 Candidacies to Elected Office undated, 1985-1992
4 13 General undated, 1993-1996
4 14 Presidential Address, 121st Annual Meeting 1993-1994
4 15 President's Column, The Nation's Health, The Official Newspaper of the APHA 1992-1993

The Pacific Institute for Women's Health

Box Folder Title Date
4 16 General undated, 1996-1999
4 17 Toward a Women's Health Report Card undated, 1995-2001

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Series V: Subject Files (1967-2002)

Scope and Content:

This series consists of an assortment of materials documenting Helen Rodriguez-Trías' varied interests and activities over the years. A review of these resources provides an overarching picture of the subjects and issues that dominated her professional life.

From her notes on public health and health care reform, HIV/AIDS and other issues to the conference materials she collected, it is clear that Rodriguez-Trias invested in her own as well as other health practitioners and activists learning about these topics and devoted a considerable amount of time participating in meetings, workshops and conferences to remain engaged, to increase knowledge and understanding, to collaborate and strategize and to, ultimately, effect social change. The folder on the United Nations Conference on Women that took place in Beijing, China in 1995, and included Rodriguez-Trias as a U.S. delegate, is an especially significant collection of materials because it documents a seminal event in the international women's rights movement and highlights her contributions to it.

Also contained in this series is general correspondence not linked to any activity or event already documented in other sections of this guide as well as articles and publications on various subjects.

Box Folder Title Date
5 1 Annual Report Newborn Service, Department of Pediatrics, University District Hospital 1967-1968


Box Folder Title Date
5 2 Hispanic Americans, Soon: The Biggest Majority, Time Magazine 1978
5 3 The Latina Today: Educator Antonia Pantoja and the New Generation, Nuestro 1979
5 4 Public and Reproductive Health Issues, Various undated, 1978-1998
5 5 Canada - U.S.A. Women's Health Forum 1996
5 6 The Committee on Women, Population and the Environment 1993-1994
5 7 Correspondence, Professional undated, 1981-2002
5 8 Creación, La revista de Hogares Crea para la familia y el hogar 1976
5 9 Event Programs and Flyers undated, 1981-2001
5 10 International Family Planning Leadership Program, First Progress Report 2000
5 11 Luban, Francia, Eulogy written by Rodriguez-Trías, Helen 1988
5 12 Notebook, Meeting Notes and Writings 1976


Box Folder Title Date
6 1 General undated, 1980s-1997
6 2 HIV/AIDS undated, 1988-1996
6 3 Medical undated, 1985
Box Folder Title Date
6 4 Public Health and Health Care Reform undated, 1992-1994
6 5 The Second San Francisco Mayor's Summit on Women, Report 1999
6 6 The United Nations World Conference on Women, Beijing, China undated, 1994-1995
6 7 The United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Child, Kansas City 2000
6 8 The United Nations Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, Egypt undated, 1994
6 9 Women and Health in Central America 1997-2000

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Series VI: Photographs (1969-2001)

Scope and Content:

This series documents different stages in Rodriguez-Trías' life and career. The largest collection of photographs are from the 2001 Presidential Citizen's Medal Ceremony, an honor bestowed on Rodriguez-Trias for her public health work on behalf of women of color, children, low-income families, people with HIV/AIDS and other traditionally underserved or marginalized communities. There are also numerous photographs with the many health practitioners and activists that Rodriguez-Trias worked with over the years, from her early years in New York as a practicing medical doctor to the countless conferences and meetings she participated in as a public health advocate.

This series also includes materials that are not in photograph format but that contain photographic images: a CD with digital images of Rodriguez-Trías, some of which are not found in this collection; two mouse pads imprinted with photographs with unidentified groups; and a series of slides used in presentations in the 1980s.

Box Folder Title Date
7 1 Conferences, Meetings and Panels undated, 1979-1996
7 2 Family, Friends and Colleagues undated, 1999
7 3 Group Portraits Printed on Mouse Pads undated
7 4 Portraits undated, ca. 1970s
7 5 Presidential Citizen's Medal Ceremony 2001
7 6 Rodriguez-Trías, Helen as a Practicing Medical Doctor undated, 1969-1973
7 7 Slides undated, ca. 1980s
7 8 Slideshow Images, PowerPoint presentation on CD undated

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Series VII: Audio-Visual (1992-2002)

Scope and Content:

This small series consists of videotapes and audiocassettes that record speeches and presentations given by Rodriguez-Trias at various conferences, including several at American Public Health Association meetings. Of note in this category is a personal discussion in her Welcome Address to the Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Conference where she recounts her years of smoking, her battle with lung cancer and the importance of increasing awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco in the Latino community.

There are also two videos that pay tribute to her and her contributions to the fields of public health. The recording by the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, where she served as medical director in the late 1988, features several colleagues in different capacities and organizations sharing anecdotes of their personal and professional experiences with Rodriguez-Trías.


Box Folder Title Date
8 1 Blood, Sweat and Tears, American Public Health Association Address 1993
8 2 An Evening with Linda Murray, Helen Rodriguez-Trias and Ruth Sidel: Confronting the Contract on America's Women, 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association 1995
8 3 Research Pathways: Women's Health, Lives & Rights, U.S. Public Health Service 1992


Box Folder Title Date
8 4 Public Health Tribute to Helen Rodriguez-Trías, American Public Health Association 2002
8 5 A Tribute to Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trías, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, What's Happening Productions 2002
8 6 Welcome to Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Conference ca.2000

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