Who We Are
Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS), also known as the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, is a global nonprofit, public interest organization based in Cambridge, Mass. OBOS promotes accurate, evidence-based information on girls' and women's reproductive health and sexuality, and addresses the social, economic and political conditions that affect health care access and quality of care.
OBOS's landmark publication, "Our Bodies, Ourselves," first published in 1971, has been translated and adapted into 25 languages by women's groups around the world. Library Journal named the new U.S. edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (Simon & Schuster, 2011) one of the eight best consumer health books of the year.
Beginning in 1970 with the publication of the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, OBOS has inspired the women’s health movement by:
- Producing books that make accurate health and medical information accessible to a broad audience by weaving women’s stories into a framework of practical, clearly written text
- Identifying and collaborating with exemplary individuals and organizations that provide services, generate research and policy analysis, and organize for social change
- Inspiring and empowering women to become engaged in the political aspects of sustaining good health for themselves and their communities
OBOS introduced these key ideas into the public discourse on women’s health:
- That women, as informed health consumers, are catalysts for social change
- That women can become their own health experts, particularly through discussing issues of health and sexuality with each other
- That health consumers have a right to know about controversies surrounding medical practices and about where consensus among medical experts may be forming
- That women comprise the largest segment of health workers, health consumers, and health decision-makers for their families and communities, but are underrepresented in positions of influence and policy making
- That a pathology/disease approach to normal life events (birthing, menopause, aging, death) is not an effective way in which to consider health or structure a health system
For more information on who we are, see our mission, our history, publicity materials for our books and the organization, and our newsletter library.
OBOS provides clear, truthful information about health, sexuality and reproduction from a feminist and consumer perspective. We vigorously advocate for women's health by challenging the institutions and systems that block women from full control over our bodies and devalue our lives. Our long-standing commitment to serve only in the public interest and our bridge-building capacity are our hallmarks. We remain one of the few women’s health groups in the U.S. that doesn’t accept funds from pharmaceutical companies and that tries to be scrupulous about conflict of interest. During the course of the past five years, OBOS has:
- Published the ninth edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves
- Published Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth
- Published Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause
- Produced De Camino a la Maternidad, a Spanish-language resource on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as Promotoras de Salud, a peer health-educator training guide based on Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas, the Spanish-language adaptation of OBOS
- Facilitated work on translation/adaptation projects in, among other countries, Albania, South Korea, Poland, Tibet, Serbia, and Thailand
- Developed and maintained the Women's Health Information Resource Center, the companion website for our books
- Distributed more than 3,000 books and materials free of charge worldwide
- Acted as a key voice in policy, advocacy, and educational efforts related to women’s health through our Public Voice and Action program
For more information on our programs, see our Programs Overview. For more information about our publications, see our Publications Overview.
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Our Bodies Ourselves is a member organization of Consumers United For Evidence-Based Healthcare (CUE), a pioneering effort started in 2003, which unites consumer advocates with a common interest in integrating understanding and interpretation of evidence-based healthcare (EBHC) into their advocacy activities. CUE member-organizations work in partnership with the US Cochrane Center and other scientists to communicate the language of EBHC, strengthen the voice of consumers, and provide leadership in healthcare research.
||OBOS is a proud member organization of Community Works, a coalition of social justice organizations that raises funds through workplace giving campaigns in the Boston area.|
To Contact Us
For more information about OBOS, please contact us at:
Our Bodies Ourselves
5 Upland Road #3
Cambridge, MA 02140