From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Christine Nerney-Zapetis
Nominee: Caroline Baker-Drake, Adjunct Professor – Human Sexuality
Caroline Baker-Drake is an adjunct professor of human sexuality at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York, a small college in a semi-rural and very conservative area of upstate New York.
Ms. Baker-Drake is one of the most engaging and dynamic teachers I have ever had the pleasure to know. She has a phenomenal knowledge of human sexuality and sexual health, which, when coupled with her down-to-earth, common-sense approach and unabashed sense of humor, makes for a rollicking great class.
She stays up to the minute and informed in all aspects of human sexuality, her lectures are incredibly informative, plus she brings in guest speakers from agencies such as AIDs Rochester and Planned Parenthood. She is absolutely committed to providing her students with vital and potentially lifesaving information. My favorite line from class…”If you own a uterus or know someone who owns a uterus, you need to know this.”
She’s very approachable, never seems shocked by questions or comments, and is always completely non-judgmental. She creates such a comfortable and respectful environment that a class of men and women, of all ages, ethnicities, orientations, and abilities feel comfortable asking questions, sharing, and discussing their own experiences. She is very sensitive to the needs of her students and respectful of their boundaries and, while she would never embarrass someone, she demands honesty and self-awareness from all her students.
Ms. Baker-Drake provides so much more than just facts and information; she provides a forum for sexual health, she encourages dialogue, she challenges assumptions and she promotes healthy and responsible relationships. I took her class as an adult student with what I thought was a fairly comprehensive knowledge of human sexuality and not only did I enjoy every moment, but I learned a great deal. In fact, I recommended my teenage daughter take the class, too.
Ms. Baker-Drake is an incredible asset to this college and she is exactly the type of educator young (and older!) people need. She is, in every way, a Women’s Health Hero!