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[Perspectives] Yvonne Sylvain: women’s health pioneer in Haiti

In the mid-20th century, a remarkable woman used her medical prowess and social prestige to address inequalities in Haitian society and raise the profile of public health. Born in Port-au-Prince in 1907, Yvonne Sylvain was the sixth of seven children of the poet, diplomat, and lawyer Georges Sylvain and his wife Eugénie. Both parents were part of a progressive intellectual elite that campaigned against the US occupation of Haiti, which lasted from 1915 to 1934. With a staunch feminist for a mother, the four Sylvain sisters all pursued either PhDs or medical training and furthered the cause of women’s rights.

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