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Posts Tagged ‘urban women’

Women’s Health in the Urban Community: NIH Perspective

In Women's Health on May 3, 2010 at 11:47 am

Making women’s health a priority doesn’t start in the ghettos and slums of urban America or around the world. It starts at the research level, according to Dr. Vivian W. Pinn, associate director for research on women’s health at the National Institutes of Health.

She spoke at the Penn-ICOWHI 18th Conference April 7-10 in Philadelphia on the importance of paying attention to gender differences in research.

It is important to focus on women’s health beyond the reproductive years and to look at women’s health over their lifespan. It’s essential to look at disparities among different populations to really make an impact on women’s health, she said in her talk.

Some of the simplest problems should be focused on. For example, how do lifestyle factors expose women to more diseases? Do women get more chronic diseases if they cook on open fireplaces indoors?

She also talked about reversing the brain drain of scientists who come to the United States and other western nations to study and develop their own expertise. She emphasized the importance of encouraging these experts to return to their own communities to work.

Kate Kinslow, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Hospital, introduced Dr. Pinn at the session underscoring the importance research has in helping lift women’s health out of the backwaters.

“Half of our population cannot be left behind,” Kinslow said.

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Rx for Women’s Health

In Women's Health on April 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban environments, and the Penn-ICOWHI 18th Conference this week in Philadelphia will explore redesigning cities for active living, increasing access to health care, treating adolescent girls in high-risk environments, eliminating policy gaps that undermine women’s health, and curbing domestic violence. 

The conference is bringing international experts in city planning, health policy, public policy, education, sociology, and others together to address how health issues facing women  are exacerbated by city living. Speakers include: 

  • A refugee from Kenya who will discuss the health of women affected by post-election violence
  • A Women’s Health Volunteer from Iran; currently, 100,000 such volunteers provide care for nearly 20 million people in the country 
  • Mamphela Ramphele, MD, a leading anti-apartheid activist and current executive chair of Circle Capital Ventures, a Cape Town-based black economic empowerment company    
  • Sheela Patel, founder and director of a Mumbai-based NGO designed to address the needs of “slumdog’s mother” – women living on pavements and in slums in different parts of India

 The conditions in cities impact the health of women all over the globe, from maternal mortality rates in the slums of New Delhi – where a study to be presented at the conference found poor pregnant women were routinely refused admission and denied registration in local hospitals and forced to deliver their babies without proper medical care – to infant mortality rates in America – where another session will present data that show infant mortality rates are higher in poorer neighborhoods than national averages.

 The four-day conference is looking for solutions. Can cities be made livable? Can decent health care be delivered under the most difficult of circumstances?

Healthy Babies

In Women's Health on April 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

No matter where you are in the world – in Philadelphia’s inner city or the teeming slums of Cairo, the urgency to have healthy births and babies is paramount.

Sessions at the 18th Annual International Congress on Women’s Health Issues focuses on programs to keep women healthy and make sure their children are, too.

One session at the conference is looking at how working mothers in Bangkok are able to continue breast feeding their babies, dealing with balancing the pressure from work and breastfeeding.

Another looks at health care programs in Texas for mostly foreign-born Hispanic women who did not receive early prenatal care. The result: a high infant mortality rate.

That program in Houston looks at the importance of using a community to empower women, given them information about their health and increase access to health care.

The mothers formed community coalitions with churches, local businesses, elected officials and the media to get the word out about healthy pregnancies for healthy individuals.

The conference also looks at a program in Kenya where medical and community officials are working toward humanizing the childbirth practice, establishing something as simple as waiting rooms to better accommodate clients and allowing women to be accompanied and choose a position during childbirth.

Any country and every community has an obligation to provide the best care possible for their pregnant women and to make sure their health and the health of their babies is not affected by a bad delivery system. The conference is taking a look at childbearing in many ways to find new programs and commitments for healthy children.

Women Waiting for Better Health Care

In Women's Health on March 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

The 18th annual international women’s health conference in Philadelphia takes place at an historic moment.

President Obama is likely to sign this enormous piece of legislation to provide health care for all Americans before this conference even begins in April.

Health reform won’t solve every problem in the United States. It won’t go into effect immediately.

 It is likely to have a great impact on many of the issues at the conference that look at women in urban America.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t diminish the critical problems to be discussed at this conference one bit.

They include violence against women in urban areas, helping women in high risk communities and the well-being of women’s health in cities across the United States.

In West Philly, the youth homicide rate is 5 times the national average. How does that affect girls? We find out.

Urban American women may have more in common with women around the world than they think. And we look around the world at how health care is delivered to women and what is missing.

Upcoming sessions

In Women's Health on March 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

There’s plenty of meat in this year’s international women’s health conference.

Among the upcoming sessions:

  • Domestic violence experienced by Mexican American women and among urban women in Bangladesh.
  • Transforming urban environments and making them healthier places for women to live.
  • How homeless women congregate in cities where finding gynecologic care is difficult.
  • The lack of services for older, elderly women who live alone in cities.

Urban pollutions are growing at an unprecedented pace. Although much is known about the health of women, far less is known about the practice of public health and the health impact of living in an urban environment.

What is the answer? We hope to make big strides in identifying the problems and looking for ways to solve them.

–         Judi Hasson

The global question is the same

In Women's Health on March 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The four-day conference on women’s health puts a focus on women’s health issues in urban settings. What is happening in Kenya may be different than India but the issues remain the same. Women’s longevity and health are affected by the environment. The global question is the same: What is the best way to impact these very different situations?

For example: One conference session looks at the health issues for women living on the streets of Mumbai. Another investigates the respiratory problems of  women living and working in the small household industries in urban Thai communities.

There is no single answer, but the Congress hopes to come up with ways to impact women’s health in many different kinds of settings.

–         Judi Hasson

How are pregnant women getting healthcare in Philadelphia?

In Women's Health on March 15, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Preterm labor has increased more in Philadelphia in the state overall. The question is why? How are pregnant women getting healthcare in Philadelphia? Are there long distances to travel and longer waits?

In West Philadelphia, infant mortality was 16 percent, compared to 11.5 percent in Philadelphia overall and 6.7 percent nationally. The question is why and what can health providers do about this?

Women in Burlington County, N.J., across the river from Philadelphia, live five years longer than their Philadelphia neighbors. In Montgomery County, they live six years longer. The question is why?

The 18th annual Congress on women’s health issues will take a critical look at what’s happening to women’s health in urban America, the good news and the bad. And it will engage in a dialogue about issues women face in cities that impact their health and life experiences.

–         Judi Hasson

Can a latrine really make a difference in improving women’s health?

In Women's Health on March 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Penn- ICOWHI conference

The 18th annual international women’s health conference April 7-10

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Can a latrine really make a difference in improving women’s health?

In many parts of the world, it certainly can. It’s one of many issues that are the focus of this year’s conference on women’s health issues in urban settings around the world from the streets of Mumbai to health disparities in American cities like Philadelphia.

The lynchpin of all this is the impact of urban environments on women’s health. The 18th Congress on women’s health issues “Cities and Women’s Health: Global Perspectives” will look at all these issues and new strategies to enhance women’s health in cities.

It will look at health disparities around the world that impact women’s health. And it will investigate strategies to make their lives better and healthier.

The scope of the Penn-ICOWHI 18th International Congress is both global and interdisciplinary. Sessions look at diseases and conditions of women and girls in urban environments, the risk and resiliency of urban women and girls, the importance of educating girls and keeping them in school to empower them and how to foster health in urban environments.

–         Judi Hasson