General, Health Equity

Social Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tania Rosario-Mendez of Taller Salud

September 21, 2023

Taller Salud, part of New Profit’s New Profit’s Mental Health Equity Catalyze Cohort of Social Entrepreneurs, aims to enhance women’s access to healthcare, reduce violence in community settings, and foster community economic development through direct service, organizing, and advocacy. Their mission is to elevate women of color’s leadership to co-create health, well-being, and opportunities for individual and collective growth throughout Puerto Rico’s communities.

To help us get closer to Taller Salud’s work, Executive Director Tania Rosario-Mendez took time to share why balance is a critical aspect of well-being and the strength she found in herself during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Q: What is the one thing you wish more people knew about the issue your organization is working to solve?

A: I wish more people were open to challenging their definition of wellbeing. In my experience, wellbeing encompasses a broad set of conditions that produce a higher quality of life when balanced. Each person needs, for one part, guarantees for a dignified life that can only exist within a social protection system and, for the other, to have a sense of agency to define what that balance looks like for them. I work to achieve both so that individuals, their families, and communities can live healthy, stable, safe, thriving lives as defined by them.

Q: What has been the most fulfilling part of the work that you do?

A: That’s a hard one to answer! Many fulfilling moments in this work are precisely why I’m still here! Because this is hard work and requires a lot of patience, resilience, and perseverance. What still fills my heart with joy, warmth, and gratitude is a room full of women’s laughter. That is the absolute medicine of my days.

Q: Can you reflect on a moment from your life that really shaped who you are today? What about this moment brought about the most impact on your career?

A: In recent years, my life was divided into before and after Hurricane Maria. In part because I had the opportunity to experience the scale of my leadership and also because I could align that capacity with the size of my indigitation. I’d never experienced that much focus, alignment, and purpose before. Even though it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, it all made sense after a while. I had a well balanced combination of vision, drive, and selflessness to do a lot of good for my people. 

Q: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your organization, what would it be?

A: I would remove scarcity beliefs. They are untrue and paralyzing. They cloud judgment and undermine creativity. They only serve systems of oppression that feed from people’s fears.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share that might help people to feel closer to you or your work?

A: I am a true believer in self-determination. I believe liberation is the medicine of the soul.

To get closer to Taller Salud, visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter