NFWL Launches Women's Health Initiative

August 30, 2012

NFWL Launches Women's Health Initiative

(TAMPA, FLORIDA) - Elected women from across the nation gathered this week to roll out a new Women's Health Initiative launched by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), to improve the quality and standard of care women receive.

Florida's Lt. Governor, Jennifer Carroll, and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC-2) were among the group of mostly state and local elected women who participated in the launch.

Healthcare has been at the forefront of policy discussions over the last decade and has nearly dominated the policy debate between Presidential and Congressional candidates leading up to and during the 2012 election cycle. While issue experts, policy makers, and healthcare professionals have put forth and/or implemented innovative healthcare solutions, there is still a void that needs to be addressed - the unmet needs of women.

"There is a growing need to identify and implement innovative solutions that will drastically improve the current and future physical health of women," stated Robin Read, NFWL's President & CEO. "The specific needs of women are not being met because their needs are not being separated and addressed uniquely within the current mechanisms of care available. NFWL is committed to ensuring that the dialogue centered on healthcare for women is not polarizing but rather inclusive and productive."

This collaborative approach will enable elected women to be leaders in assuring that the unique needs of women are met, no matter who wins the election.

Keynoting this kick-off lunch was Dr. Lindsey Kerr, Chair of the Society for Women's Health Research. She spoke with the women leaders about the need for more research and awareness concerning the specific health needs of women. "On behalf of the Society of Women's Health Research, we commend NFWL for recognizing these issues and we are committed to working with your Members to help all women. Women's health is an area where much more research is necessary, as well as awareness about the differences that women face when it comes to addressing their health."

"Women's bodies are different from men. We experience different health issues," Read said. "Our elected women appreciated hearing Dr. Kerr highlight these differences by using her expert knowledge about urologic issues that impact women. It was impressive how much research and clinical knowledge there is in this area, but it is clear there needs to be more. Women need to have a better awareness of these conditions and discuss treatment options with their doctors, like in the area of overactive bladder (OAB). There is a stigma attached to these kinds of conditions because it can be embarrassing, but women don't need to suffer in silence."

"There is definitely an important role for the innovative life science companies in furthering women's health. As a company devoted to meeting areas of unmet need, Astellas is committed to conducting this type of research and raising awareness in such areas as urology to ensure innovative treatments and education is available to all women." said Nancy Martin, MD, from Astellas Scientific and Medical Affairs, Inc., one of NFWL's partners for the initiative. "Focusing specifically on the unique unmet needs of women, provides the opportunity to increas

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC)

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC)

e access to treatments, that will improve the quality of life for women."

Astellas was invited to NFWL's Women's Health Initiative launch as a result of the company's focus on raising awareness for urologic conditions that women experience but often go untreated, such as the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB). In addition to their support of NFWL's women's health initiative, Astellas also provides educational support to the American Urological Association Foundation's "It's Time to Talk About OAB Campaign" to provide women and their healthcare providers with important information about overactive bladder that leads to effective treatment.

NFWL's Women's Health Initiative will focus on the current critical needs in women's health by:

  • Encouraging dialogue and raising awareness
  • Convening thought leaders
  • Forming policy solutions that elected women from across the nation can bring to the table
  • Identifying specific needs within unique populations of women such as the elderly, veterans, and minorities
  • Improving access to and quality of care through the spreading of health information technology, highlighting the progress of advanced treatment protocols, and encourage more women's health research.

Specific areas of women's health to be addressed include urological disorders, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, menopause, mental and behavioral health, and maternity care.

Elected women from across the nation will come together again in Atlanta, November 15-19, 2012 during the National Foundation for Women Legislators' Annual Conference, to grow NFWL's Women's Health Initiative and expand the dialogue around women's health, encouraging the implementation of new and effective solutions.

FACT SHEET: NFWL's Women's Health Initiative

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