The goal of the Women's Health Program is to assess and address health issues that commonly, uniquely, or disproportionately affect women throughout their lifespan. In addition, the Women's Health Program supports activities that not only prevent disease but also improves the essence of psychological and physical wellbeing or the "wellness" of Maryland women.
HEALTH OF MARYLAND WOMEN REPORT
“The Health of Maryland Women 2011”, produced by the Women’s Health Program within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, provides an overview of key women’s health issues by race, ethnicity and age across the lifespan.
The Women’s Health Program actively advocates for the prevention of chronic medical conditions by supporting healthy behaviors early in life and treatment of problems before they worsen. Targeting young women not only helps women lead healthier lives later on but for those who desire to have children in the future, it also prevents adverse pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and her baby. A women’s wellness program is an important part of women’s health, preconception health and interconception health.
Examples of wellness programs include:
WOMEN'S HEALTH SCREENING
Getting regular screening tests, checkups, and immunizations are the most important tools for staying in good health. These charts are a starting point for a discussion with your health care provider about what you can do to prevent certain diseases and keep healthy. Depending on your personal medical and family history, you can decide which activities and tests are right for you.
ROUTINE MEDICAL SCREENING AND IMMUNIZATION GUIDELINES FOR WOMEN – FROM TEENS TO 60S AND BEYOND
In 1984, the Surgeon General declared domestic violence as the leading health hazard to women in the U.S. One out of every three American women will experience IPV in her lifetime. IPV accounts for a significant cause of injuries and other health problems - even during pregnancy.
Because of the impact of IPV on health, routine screening for intimate partner violence is recommended by every major professional medical organization including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Family Physicians (ACP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
To help Maryland providers assess for IPV, a guide was written with information about IPV assessment, Maryland reporting laws and community referral sources
A Maryland Maternal Depression Advisory Committee was established in 2004 as a result of data from PRAMS and the Maternal Mortality Review Committee showing the high prevalence of postpartum depression and the tragic consequences of suicide. This multi-disciplinary committee provides oversight on state public health activities regarding maternal depression.
The Mental Health Association of Maryland was awarded a one-year grant (2005) from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to educate providers and families about perinatal depression. The Healthy New Moms Program offers consumer and provider information about depression and has a 24-hour helpline (1-800-PPD-MOMS) for individuals needing assistance. Approximately 14% of Maryland mothers reported having postpartum depression.
Presentations about depression among women have been provided by Women’s Health at national (AMCHP, CityMatch, HRSA, PRAMS) and local forums including hospital grand rounds, state conferences and national webcasts.
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (formerly the Center for Maternal and Child Health) created two brochures:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Coalition. Women’s Health is part of the Maryland Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Coalition (FASD). This group meets regularly to increase awareness of the tragic effects of FASD, help women abstain from alcohol during pregnancy, and advocate for a comprehensive action plan for families affected by FASD. In Maryland, 8% of women reported drinking during the last three months of pregnancy.
The Maryland Quitline (1-800-Quit-Now) has been an invaluable resource to help women stop smoking. It is used as a referral site for the WELL and family planning programs and has helped many women stop smoking preconceptionally and during pregnancy. Over 9% of women reported smoking during the last three months of pregnancy.
SURVEY OF NEW MOTHERS IN MARYLAND
Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PRAMS is a population-based surveillance of new mothers in Maryland that has been operating at the Maternal and Child Health Bureau under a cooperative agreement with the CDC since 1999. PRAMS provides Maryland with information about maternal health factors and behaviors before, during and after pregnancy. Further information, Annual Reports (2000-2010), and program briefs from PRAMS (Unintended Pregnancy, Alcohol Use during Pregnancy, Quality of Prenatal Care, Circumcision, HIV Counseling and Testing, Births to Hispanic Women, Smoking, Breastfeeding, Oral Health, Alcohol Use, Medicaid Coverage, Comments from Maryland Women, Pre-Pregnancy Obesity, Maternal Age, Postpartum Depression, County Factors, Intimate Partner Violence, Flu Immunization) are available at www.marylandprams.org.
WOMEN ENJOYING LIFE LONGER (WELL) PROJECT
Selected for funding 2001-2005 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), WELL provides a model for the integration of health services (such as smoking cessation, weight management, domestic violence counseling, depression screening, medical screening, immunization) to promote wellness among Maryland women enrolled in the Baltimore County Maryland Family Planning Program. These women have difficult access to health care—most live at or below the federal poverty level and are uninsured. The WELL Project has been presented as an innovative clinical women’s health model at the American Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), and CityMatCH.
Although the funding for WELL is over, many aspects of WELL still exist at various family planning sites throughout Maryland. WELL has been the foundation for the integration of women's health with reproductive health services in the Maryland family planning program by providing young women a convenient way to optimize their general health, plan their pregnancies, and receive preconception and interconception services. A summary of the WELL project was published in Preventing Chronic Disease, November 2011, "Optimizing Women's Health in a Title X Family Planning Program, Baltimore County, Maryland, 2001-2004".
FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAM
The Maryland Title X Family Planning Program, administered by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, serves over 78,000 low-income, uninsured women. Besides contraception and pregnancy testing services, cervical cancer screening, HIV and sexual transmitted infection testing, and preconceptional folic acid counseling are also provided.
OBESITY AND CHRONIC MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Women’s Health collaborates with other programs to provide resources, education, and advocacy for healthy living at every stage of life for women in Maryland.