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Region IV

Women's Health Coordinator

Lenee Simon, M.P.H.
61 Forsyth St., S.W., 5B95
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-562-7907
Email: email icon lenee.simon@hhs.gov

Program assistant: Candice Jett
Region resources:

Region IV consists of:

Region IV overview

Region IV comprises Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The mission statement in Region IV is "developing partnerships to improve women's health through prevention, advocacy, education, and equal access to quality health care." In the past decade the southeastern states have become magnets for population and job growth. By the year 2010, more than 10 percent of the population will live in Region IV, and Florida will have become the third largest state in the nation. The population is extremely diverse, with large African American, Hispanic and older populations. Twelve percent of the Region's people are at or below the poverty level, but Atlanta leads all U.S. metropolitan areas in job growth and the rapid expansion of industry and tourism is creating a new economic climate throughout the Region.The key health issues facing Region IV are not unlike those issues that other regions and the nation are facing. In keeping with the them of Healthy People 2010, the aim is to improve health, prevent disease, and close the gaps to eliminate disparities. The key health issues are:

  • Access to Quality Health Services
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer
  • Domestic Violence
  • High Teen Pregnancy Rates
  • High Infant Mortality
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Chronic Disease: Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes
  • Increasing growth in HIV/AIDS

The trends are fairly consistent throughout the Region with some difference depending on the demographics and geography.


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State of Alabama

Alabama does have an official Office on Women's Health and there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

The Alabama Legislature passed Act 2002-141, which was signed into law on May 12, 2002, creating the Office of Women's Health within the Alabama Department of Public Health. The office was created to be an advocate for women's health issues. Purposes of the office as described in the legislation are as follows:

  • To educate the public and be an advocate for women's health by establishing appropriate forums to educate the public regarding women's health, with an emphasis on preventive health and healthy lifestyles.
  • To assist the state health officer in identifying, coordinating and establishing priorities for programs, services and resources which the state should provide for women's health issues and concerns.
  • To serve as a clearinghouse and resource for information regarding women's health data, services and programs that address women's health issues.
  • To provide an annual report on the status of women's health and activities of the office to the governor and the legislature.

The law provides for an advisory committee for the office. This steering committee consists of 3 physicians appointed by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama; 3 nurses appointed by the Alabama State Nurses' Association; 3 pharmacists appointed by the Alabama Pharmaceutical Association; 3 employers appointed by the Business Council of Alabama; 3 consumers, one appointed by the governor, 1 appointed by the lieutenant governor, and 1 appointed by the speaker of the house; 3 members appointed by the Alabama Hospital Association; and 3 registered dietitians appointed by the Alabama Dietetic Association. The state health officer announced the selection of a director for the office in August 2002. The Steering Committee held its inaugural meeting on Dec. 13, 2002. The Office of Women's Health now serves as the department's point of contact for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region IV Office of Women's Health.


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State of Florida

Florida does have an official Office on Women's Health, and there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

Florida enhanced its focus on women's health within the Department of Health (DOH) through state legislation that was passed in 2004. The landmark legislation created the first Officer of Women's Health Strategy in Florida and its goal is to ensure that the state's policies and programs are responsive to sex and gender differences and to women's health needs across the lifespan. The current officer of women's health strategy also serves as the deputy secretary for health, which includes oversight of::

  • Emergency Medical Operations;
  • Laboratory Services;
  • Public Health Research;
  • Public Health Nursing; and
  • The Division of Health Access and Tobacco

She also chairs the Interagency Committee on Women's Health, which was established by the legislation and is comprised of representatives from each state agency and key stakeholders from community based organizations, providers, and consumers. This committee is assisting the DOH in developing a strategic plan for women's health. They are also assisting with other mandated activities such as sponsoring a Governor's Summit on Women's Health, promoting women's health during National Women's Health Week, and identifying best practices in women's health. In 2005, the DOH secured one year of non-recurring funding to provide staff support to the officer of women's health strategy and this person works closely with a part-time staff person hired under a 3 year, Women's Health grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant coordinator assists with the strategic planning activities, coordinates quarterly statewide audio-teleconferences on best practices in women's health, and convenes bimonthly meetings of an internal, DOH Workgroup on Women's Health that promotes a "whole woman" approach to women's health care in Florida. She has also been designated the state's women's health coordinator.


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State of Georgia

Georgia does have an official Office on Women's Health and there is a women's health coordinator's position.

Georgia's Office of Women's Health services is one of 8 population teams located in the Family Health Branch of Georgia's Division of Public Health. Family health is recruiting for the Team Leader of the Office of Women's Health Services. The current women's health contact is Patricka Wood. Within the Office of Women's Health Services are the state's family planning, perinatal health and men's health programs. The major goal of the Office of Women's Health Services is to establish a comprehensive community-based system of care, designed to enhance the quality of life.

For more information on Georgia's women's health activities, visit http://www.health.state.ga.us.


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State of Kentucky

Kentucky does have an official Office on Women's Health and there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

The Office of Women's Physical and Mental Health was established with the passage of HB 864 by the 1998 Kentucky General Assembly. According to Kentucky Administrative Regulations chapter 194A.095 the purpose of the office is to:

  • Serve as a repository for data and information affecting women's health and mental health;
  • Analyze and communicate trends in women's health issues and mental health;
  • Recommend data elements affecting women's health and mental health that should be collected, analyzed and reported; and
  • Administer a Women's Health Resource Center to focus on targeted preventive and comprehensive health education.

The office opened October 1, 2000 and in June, 2004 was reorganized as a Division in the newly established Department of Human Support Services in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.


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State of Mississippi

Mississippi does not have an official Office on Women's Health; however, there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position in the state department of health.

The Mississippi Department of Health's Office of Women's Health provides and ensures access to comprehensive health services that affect positive outcomes for women, including early cancer detection, domestic violence, osteoporosis screening, prevention and intervention, family planning, and maternity services. Maternity services include perinatal risk management for infants (PHRM), a Medicaid program designed to decrease infant mortality and low birth weight infants by providing quality health care to pregnant women. By increasing the number of women having access to prenatal care, it is intended to assist with the reduction of infant mortality. The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey(PRAMS) a joint project between the Mississippi Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a survey developed to find out why some babies are born healthy and others are not. These services are designed for all women and their families. The goal of women's health is to provide early intervention and improved access to health care to high-risk populations. The programs under the auspices of women's health also provide health promotion, counseling, prevention, and education service to this population.

Efforts are often collaborated with the Center of Excellence for Women at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. For more information, go to www.HealthyMS.com and click on women's health.


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State of North Carolina

North Carolina does have an official Office on Women's Health and there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

The North Carolina Office of Women's Health was established via legislation in 1997 to address women's health issues across the life span. In 1998 the Office sponsored the first Women's Health Summit, and in 1999 held the second Women's Health Summit that addressed STDs and HIV. Because of the lacking of State funding, the Office of Women's Health is no longer functioning. Since 1997, the Women's Health Branch within the Division of Public Health has continued to handle inquiries and issues as needed.


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State of South Carolina

South Carolina does not have an official Office on Women's Health and there is not a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

South Carolina does not have an official Office on Women's Health, and there is no dedicated women's health coordinator position. The current women's health contact is Kathy Swanson, DHEC, Divison of Perinatal Systems, 1751 Calhoun, Columbia, SC 29201; swansokm@dhec.sc.gov. She also serves as the program director for Perinatal Systems. For more details on this state's women's health activities, visit www.scdhec.net. Then click on "Health" and then "Maternal, Child Health."


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State of Tennessee

Tennessee does have an official Office on Women's Health and there is a dedicated women's health coordinator position.

Tennessee has an official Office on Women's Health. The designated women's health coordinator position is vacant at this time. The current coordinator also serves as the director of the women's health/genetics section of the Tennessee Department of Health. There is also a women's health advisory committee. The Department has many programs which provide services for women.

For more details on this state's women health activities, visit http://www.state.tn.us/health.

Content last updated: June 01, 2007.

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