Taller Salud is a community based feminist organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health care, to reducing violence within the community and to encourage economic growth through education and activism. Founded in 1979, Taller Salud is an independent, non-government based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
We believe that health is a non-negotiable human right. We define health as a state of balance that every person establishes within him/herself and his/her environment. In this sense, we recognize the importance of a comprehensive health care that considers physical, emotional and spiritual aspects, nonetheless we also advocate for environmental health, the guarantee of a violence free life and the development of prosperous communities that offer opportunities and resources for all.
We recognize that when women prosper, their communities become stronger. And this is why we are convinced that the well being of the people begins with their women’s health.
An inclusive society, with violence-free and active communities, that have the power to advocate for their right to an integral health and to boost their own progress.
To maximize the well-being, the integral health and the opportunities for development for the women of Puerto Rico.
Feminism. We are a feminist organization where we engage in different gender perspective approaches, throughout our entire management. We support the search for equality in order to achieve a more just and free society, collectively.
Health as a human right. We firmly believe that all people have the right to an integral health and a violence-free life. We encourage a health-based approach and self-care focus in order to obtain a dignified life.
Culture of justice and peace. We enable individual and collective reflection as a tool for reconciliation and we promote peaceful coexistence as the best choice to live in community.
Autonomy. We acknowledge the right of each individual to make informed decisions about their body, their life and their well being as an essential and democratic matter that needs to be validated.
Self management. We promote entrepreneurship and a healthy development for all starting from their own talents, knowledge and set of experiences, for their own benefit as well as for their community’s.
Celebrating equality and diversity. We understand that all people should have equal opportunities and guarantees of their human rights. We acknowledge that when we consider each other as equals, even from the standpoint of considering our individual differences, we grow together as people and as a community.
Respect. We value life, solidarity, fair treatment and free and informed decision-making for all in the community.
Citizen participation. We understand that communities that know each other tend to share their daily happenings as they relate with each other more, their social networks strengthen and they become more resilient and sustainable. We promote and facilitate the active participation of our citizens in the issues and processes that concern and affect them.
Secularism. We are an organization that is not affiliated with any religious entities or political parties of any kind.
Sustainability. Our commitment is to community development from a sustainable perspective, in harmony with the conservation and protection of our natural resources.
Taller Salud was founded in 1979 by Carmen Guzmán and Eugenia Acuña, as an initiative of these two feminists who arrived to the island after working in New York against practices of massive sterilization of Latin-American women, with a considerable majority of Puerto Rican women. Their mission was to get organized and active in the community in order to guarantee and provide access to abortions and birth control methods, as an alternative to the growing massive sterilization of women of low resources in the island. And it was at this moment that the first feminist organization focused on women’s health in Puerto Rico was born. During 1980 and 1981,Taller Salud received the support of fellow comrades from the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective who also became the mentors and supporters of the organization’s first campaigns.
Health as empowerment
In 1980, the Federation of Health Clinics for Women, from San Francisco, California came to visit the island and connected with Taller Salud in order to help the issue that was affecting the women of Puerto Rico. It was from this point on that Taller Salud began training the women in the island to perform breast and vaginal self-examination as part of their empowerment strategy.
“From the very beginning we incorporated health as a feminist tool, from which we worked so that women could be considered as beings and not as objects of an insufficient health system,” according to Nirvana González Rosa, one of Taller Salud’s first team members.
Taller Salud was a group that developed education and mobilization projects with exclusively voluntary work until 1989. That same year, while participating in the outlining of “Law 54” for domestic violence, Margaret Wochinger Figueroa, one of Taller Salud’s members, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her death in 1991 sparked a reflection process within the group: Did it make sense at all to advocate for people’s health while not taking care of our own? This led the group to a deep process of internal reflection that ended in the transformation of the collectivity into an organization capable of receiving funds.
In 1992, thanks to a sponsorship of Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, Taller Salud started a breast cancer prevention project in honor of Margie. Also in 1989, the hardness with which Hurricane Hugo hit the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, led them to start work in Piñones, Loíza, a decision that finally reoriented the organization's management, which until then had made Río Piedras (San Juan) his home.
Almost forty years later, our capacity for reinvention continues vibrant as we watch our participants become resources for themselves, their families and their communities.
Yarí Vale Moreno
Obstetrician-Gynecologist graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Puerto Rico and the State University of New York. She worked for the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and was trained in family planning with Dr. Rashbaum. She is a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and trains residents in family planning. She also has private practice and works in the Veterans Administration.
Our team is made of professionals specialized in Public Health, Psychology, Popular Education, Cultural Management and other disciplines. We also have a robust team of employees and volunteers.
Tania Rosario Méndez
Holds a Master's Degree in Public Health, with more than 15 years of experience leading community organizing and mobilization efforts in Loíza and other municipalities in Puerto Rico. She also has a baccalaureate in theater and has a solid track record in the use of community theater and popular education as a means to self-knowledge, healing and social transformation.