Women’s Health. Everyone’s Health
Edition: April 2003 - Vol 11 Number 04
As we finish writing this issue, more than 200,000 U.S. troops stand ready to invade Iraq. A recent newspaper article mentioned the growing role of women in the military, even as front-line combatants. It’s an ironic twist on the articles in this month’s Repertoire about women’s health.
Iraq aside, the fact remains that women’s health is a key issue today. Why? Because of the influence that women have over their own health as well as that of their families. This is having an enormous impact on Repertoire readers, not only in your role as sales reps, but personally as well.
After all, those of you calling on hospitals have noticed that many acute care facilities and IDNs have bent over backwards to integrate their women’s health services and to package them in a patient-friendly, warm environment.
For a look at what some teaching institutions have done along these lines, check out the Web site of the U.S. Public Health Service Office on Women’s Health Centers of Excellence at www.4women.gov. These Centers have taken a comprehensive view of women’s health by providing:
• “One-stop shopping” for the delivery of clinical services to women, with an emphasis on prevention and early detection;
• A multi-disciplinary research agenda on women’s health issues;
• Emphasis on psychosocial issues in health;
• Coordination and linkage between clinical services in academic centers and surrounding communities;
• Educational programs and material
for the general public and healthcare
professionals, using innovative
information technologies and
• The integration of a women’s health focus into medical school curriculum
• A “Women in Academic Medicine Leadership Plan” to foster the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in academic medical careers;
• Networking within the community to form alliances with businesses, consumer groups, scientific organizations and public policy.
As you can see, women’s health encompasses far more than diagnostic exams, prescription drugs and therapeutic procedures. The Centers of Excellence are charged with coordinating all aspects of issues related to women’s health throughout the life span, and attempt to address the cultural and socioeconomic challenges to providing quality healthcare for under-served women.
An example is the Women’s Care Connection, operated by the Northeast Missouri Health Council in Kirksville, Mo.
The Women’s Care Connection targets more than women’s physical health. A variety of services are available through links with the project’s partners. For example, the Health Council provides primary care services including obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and dental care. The Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine coordinates research into the major problems associated with women’s health in rural areas, including accessibility and insurance issues. Northeast Regional Health System provides lymphedema services, osteoporosis screening and consultations, prenatal, delivery and postnatal care, mammography, ultrasounds and other services.
Victim Support Services provides a 24-hour hotline and a safe house for victims of abuse. It also provides counseling, legal advocacy and assistance with referrals for other needed services. The Mark Twain Area Counseling Center provides mental health screenings and assessments, psychiatric evaluations, rehabilitation services, a crisis line and a variety of counseling services. Training of lay people and local healthcare service providers, and medical and nursing students is provided through an annual symposium addressing women’s health.
Programs such as the Women’s Care Connection challenge all of us to redefine what we mean by “health” and “medicine.” As you make your daily calls, it’s not always easy to take this broad view of health. But the fact is, like the young men and women who stand at the front lines in armed engagements abroad, Repertoire readers stand at the front lines in this country’s engagement against illness and the quest toward health.