A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

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ASIST2010

Project leader: Barbara James, M.P.H.

Advancing System Improvements to Support Targets for Healthy People 2010 (ASIST2010) is a three-year cooperative agreement program funded by the DHHS Office on Women's Health. ASIST2010 uses a public health systems approach to improve performance on two or more Healthy People 2010 (HP 2010) objectives that target women and/or men in the following Focus Areas:

The U.S. government and women's health

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Access to Quality Health Services
  • Educational and Community-Based Programs
  • Nutrition and Overweight Physical Activity and Fitness

The goals of the ASIST2010 program are to:

  1. Provide additional support to existing public health systems/collaborative partnerships to enable them to add a gender focus to HP 2010 objectives that track the health status of women and/or men, to help improve gender outcome in the targeted population and/or geographic area.
  2. Improve surveillance/information systems that allow tracking of program progress on HP 2010 objectives at the grantee level.
  3. Develop and implement a plan to sustain the program after OWH funding ends.

The sites participating in the ASIST2010 program represent four academic medical centers, three community-based organizations, two hospitals, two state health departments, one county health department, and one foundation. These include:

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BodyWise – Eating disorder educational campaign

Project leader: Ann Abercrombie, M.L.S.

Eating disorders are disabling illnesses that affect between 1-3 percent of young women in the United States. Congress, in the report language of Health and Human Services (HHS ) Appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 1998, directed the Office on Women's Health (OWH) to "develop a national media campaign targeting, but not limited to adolescent girls and women, to educate the public about healthy eating behavior." OWH is sponsoring the BodyWise Eating Disorder Educational Campaign (archive) targeting middle school educators and providers. The goal of the program is to increase awareness and knowledge of eating disorders, including their signs and symptoms, steps to take when concerned about students, and ways to promote healthy eating and reduce preoccupation with weight and size. An information packet is available that includes materials emphasizing the links among healthy eating, positive body image, and favorable learning outcomes, with some materials targeted to specific racial and ethnic groups.

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BodyWorks: A toolkit for healthy girls and strong women

Project leader: Ann Abercrombie, M.L.S.

Related information

BodyWorks is a program designed to help parents and caregivers of young adolescent girls (ages 9 to 13) improve family eating and activity habits. Using the BodyWorks Toolkit, the program focuses on parents as role models and provides them with hands-on tools to make small, specific behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthy weight.

The BodyWorks program uses a train-the-trainer model to distribute the Toolkit through community-based organizations, state health agencies, non-profit organizations, health clinics, hospitals and health care systems. The program includes one six-hour training module for trainers and ten 90-minute weekly sessions for parents and caregivers. The Office on Women's Health, developed BodyWorks following two years of formative research.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee

Project leader: Wanda K. Jones, Dr.P.H

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services via the Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). These include:

  • Factors affecting access and care for persons with CFS;
  • The science and definition of CFS; and
  • Broader public health, clinical, research and educational issues related to CFS.

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Girlshealth.gov

Project leader: Ann Abercrombie, M.L.S.

Girlshealth.gov was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) to help girls (ages 10-16) learn about health, growing up, and issues they may face. Girlshealth.gov promotes healthy and positive behaviors in girls, giving them reliable and useful health information in a fun, easy-to-understand way. The website also provides information to parents and educators to help them teach girls about healthy living.

The girlshealth.gov tagline is "Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be You. Beautiful." It focuses on the idea that being yourself — finding what makes you smile and how to live well — is what makes you "you." And that is beautiful!

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Coalition for a Healthier Community

The Coalition for a Healthier Community (CHC) national initiative is now in Phase II. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health (OWH) awarded grants in Phase I and II to improve community health policies and programs for women and girls. The communities selected in Phase II will address health disparities that affect women and girls, with the goal of producing community-wide behavior change. The program's ultimate goal is to improve the health and safety of women and girls living in these communities.

Phase I of CHC was launched in 2010. In Phase I, OWH awarded a total of $1.6 million in grants to 16 coalitions, made up of local, regional, and national organizations, academic institutions, and public health departments. Each team identified the health condition with the most adverse effect on the health and well-being of women and girls in their specific community. Most of the health issues identified by the coalitions were related to domestic violence, physical activity, and obesity. During Phase I, each grantee also developed five-year strategic plans to address the particular health condition known in the community they served.

In Phase II, 16 coalitions competed for funding and ten were selected. They will implement their strategic plans, which have goals and objectives linked to Healthy People 2020, a set of 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. The coalitions were each awarded approximately $300,000 a year over a period of five years to support their science-based health interventions targeting women, girls, or both. Wellness programs are one such intervention. They educate consumers on how to improve specific health behaviors such as diet and level of physical activity. The programs and services provided by each coalition will be carefully evaluated so successes can be shared, adapted, or replicated by other communities.

"We know that communities have the knowledge and skills to solve their own challenges. By providing them with the resources to build strong coalitions, develop innovative programs, and then effectively implement and sustain them, we can help them improve the health of their populations. This program supports their efforts to do just that by reducing health disparities among women and girls," said Nancy Lee, M.D., HHS deputy assistant secretary for health (Women's Health).

The 10 awardees are as follows:

Coalition for a Healthier Community, Phase II awardees
Awarded organizationLocationTarget population(s)Catchment areaFocus area(s)RegionGeographic area(s)
Philadelphia Health and Education Corporation d/b/a Drexel University CollegePhiladelphia, PA
  • Blacks
  • Chronic disease
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
Region III
  • Urban
National Kidney FoundationAnn Arbor, MI
  • Blacks
  • Hispanics
  • Whites
12,000
  • Diabetes
Region V
  • Urban
Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc.Wilmington, DE
  • Blacks
  • Whites
  • Infectious disease
  • Mental health
Region III
  • Urban
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CT
  • African-Americans
  • Asians
  • Hispanics
130,000
  • Maternal and child health
  • Mental health
Region I
  • Urban
Domestic Violence Action CenterHonolulu, HI
  • Asians/Japanese
  • Native Americans
  • Philipinos
100,000
  • Domestic violence
Region IX
  • Suburban
  • Rural
The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc.Baltimore, MD
  • African-Americans
  • Homeless
  • Whites
4,420
  • Maternal and child health
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
Region III
  • Urban
St. Vincent Healthcare FoundationBillings, MT
  • African-Americans
  • Asians
  • Hispanics
  • Native Americans
  • Whites
138,000
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Unintended injuries
Region VIII
  • Urban
University of UtahSalt Lake City, UT
  • Hispanics
  • Native Americans
  • Whites
  • Obesity
Region VIII
  • Urban
The Board of Trustees of the University of IllinoisChicago, IL
  • Blacks
  • Whites
69,186
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
Region V
  • Rural
Thurston County Public Health & Social ServicesOlympia, WA
  • Asians
  • Hispanics
84,000
  • Adolescent health
  • Preconception health
  • Violence prevention
Region X
  • Urban

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Lupus Education and Awareness

Project leader: Susan Russell Sanders, M.S.

Project members:

National Lupus Awareness Campaign

The Could I Have Lupus? campaign is designed to heighten awareness and create a sense of urgency about lupus. With the help of women who are actually living with lupus, we are sending a message to women who are suffering from lupus symptoms — that they can find support, hope and, most of all, answers. They just have to start by asking the right question: "Could I have lupus?"

Learn more.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease mainly affecting women. It is estimated that between 161,000 and 322,000 adults in the U.S. have lupus. Nine out of 10 people who have lupus are women. Most people with lupus develop symptoms during the childbearing years (ages 15-44). Lupus also is two to three times more common among African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American women. In addition, a CDC report revealed a 60 percent increase in deaths attributed to lupus over a 20-year period. Among older African-American women, the increase was nearly 70 percent. But it's unclear whether the rise is due to an actual increase in lupus mortality or due to improved diagnosis and reporting or lupus deaths (CDC, 2002).

Although lupus is widespread, public knowledge of lupus is low, and its symptoms often are not recognized or misdiagnosed. Like many autoimmune diseases, lupus causes the immune system to attack parts of the body that "it is designed to protect" (NIH, SLE, 2003). The symptoms of lupus "can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time" (NIH, SLE, 2003). The symptoms of each patient are different but may include: pain in the joints and muscle pain, unexplained fever, red rashes commonly seen on the face, chest pain, unusual hair loss, pale or purple fingers, sensitivity to the sun, swelling in the legs or around the eyes, mouth ulcer, swollen glands, extreme fatigue, compromised kidney function, and cardiovascular complications (NIH, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, 2003).

OWH National Lupus Awareness Campaign

Project leader: Frances E. Ashe-Goins, R.N., M.P.H.

The U.S. DHHS Office on Women's Health (OWH) recognizes the impact of this disease in the lives of young women. OWH has sponsored many community based lupus awareness programs and has received an overwhelming response from the community that highlighted a significant need for comprehensive, widespread, information about Lupus.

OWH is currently working with the Advertising Council to develop a National Lupus Awareness Campaign. This campaign is designed to increase awareness and understanding of Lupus, recognizing that ignorance contributes to late diagnosis and increased complications. The campaign will alert the public to the symptoms of lupus, grabbing the attention of a woman's family, friends, and employers; helping them to better understand the physical, economic, and social effects of lupus. In addition, it will also help individuals who may have symptoms of Lupus, to seek medical evaluation for early diagnosis and treatment. This campaign will potentially save millions of lives and alleviate some of the more severe complications resulting from late diagnosis of lupus.

  • Lupus Subcommittee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Women's Health and the Environment (FIWGWHE) – This group will merge into the Federal Interagency Working Group on Women's Health and the Environment. The group will meet quarterly to discuss and exchange information on ongoing activities in research, information dissemination and outreach. The Lupus Working Group will identify gaps in the care, treatment, and diagnosis of Lupus patients, will foster collaborations between agencies, and will plan and implement activities that address identified needs.
  • Eliminating disparities in Lupus through Education and Training for Health Professionals (EDLET/HP) – This project is collaboration between the Office on Women's Health and the Office on Minority Health. The goal of this project is to work with medical, nursing and public health schools to enhance their curricula to include a more comprehensive and inclusive coverage of lupus, and to educate a wide range of health care professional in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of lupus. Our partners include organizations with existing relationships with medical schools and professional associations, and who have knowledge of effective strategies for affecting medical school curricula change. The four components of the program include:
    1. Consortium development
      • Expectations – Establish and engage lupus scientific experts, medical and professional associations, and medical curricula designers in providing expert advice and guidance in improving lupus education and training opportunities and in carrying out EDLET/HP.
      • Outcomes – An established and functioning consortium that serves as a vehicle for coordinating and promoting the utilization of lupus curricula in medical and nursing schools, and among health care professionals and professional associations; Documented collaboration with medical schools, medical associations and organizations whose members include nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physicians, and other related health care professionals.
    2. Professional training and development
      • Expectations – Working in collaboration with EDLET/HP Lupus Consortium, improve knowledge and skills related to diagnosis and treatment of lupus among health care professionals.
      • Outcomes – Increased number of health care professionals with appropriate level of knowledge and expertise in identifying and treating patients with lupus; increased number of patients who receive information about lupus from their health care professional.
    3. Curriculum and materials development and enhancement (medical and nursing schools)
      • Expectations – Working in partnership with national lupus experts, develop curriculum and materials for expanding coverage of lupus in medical and nursing school and schools of public health.
      • Outcomes – Increased number of medical and nursing schools that enhance diagnosis and treatment of lupus in their curricula; increased number of medical and nursing students with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to reduce morbidity and mortality among populations disproportionately impacted by lupus.
    4. Communications/toolkit
      • Expectations – Create tools, materials, and resources health care professionals can use to inform and education patients regarding lupus; and for diagnosing and treating patients presenting with symptoms consistent with lupus.
      • Outcomes – Increased number of patients receiving information regarding lupus from providers; number of health care professionals that use materials.

This program was launched in October 2009.

History of past collaborations

  • Unlocking the Mystery of Lupus – In 1999-2001, OWH partnered with the Lupus Foundation of America to hold this educational program, initially targeted for DHHS employees and their families. The program was so successful that it was offered to other federal employees, community leaders, and the general public, culminating in a Spring 2001 Lupus National Town Hall Meeting for congressional members and their staffs in Washington, DC The town hall was also shown as a satellite presentation around the nation and in real time on the internet.
  • National Community Outreach Awareness Program – Community groups in specified cities throughout the nation received funding on a competitive basis to conduct community seminars on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of lupus based on the format developed by OWH. The following organizations were awarded funding: Louisiana Office of Public Health, New Orleans, LA; Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC; Mariposa Community Health Center, Nogales, AZ; Sanders & Associates, Richmond, VA; Jefferson County Clinic, Birmingham, AL; and the Alabama Department of Health, Montgomery, AL. For 2006, the most recent contracts were awarded to: Rivera, Sierra & Co., Brooklyn, NY; Rivera, Sierra & Co., Tulsa, OK; Scott Consulting, Inc., Richmond Center, WI; Alemap Consultants, Shreveport, LA; Sanders & Associates, Chester, VA; and Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions (GEARS), Decatur, GA. The contractors conducted more than 100 lupus education and awareness seminars with an average of 25 attendees per session. The target population was women between the ages of 18-68, representing all racial/ethnic groups. The most significant findings of these seminars was the desire for more information on the subject of lupus, a need for improved diagnosis and early detection of the disease, and the gap in knowledge about lupus among the medical professionals.
  • Local LFA Lupus Chapters – Several of local chapters of the Lupus Foundation of America were awarded competitive contracts to provide lupus education and awareness to patients and their families in community settings. The Memphis chapter was able to reach over 6,000 people.
  • Racial Disparities in Lupus Forum – OWH and the S.L.E. (Lupus) Foundation of NY participated in a forum at the 5th Annual International Lupus Congress in NYC. The forum included a presentation on new initiatives to establish a lupus registry to facilitate earlier disease intervention, case monitoring and the tracking of outcomes; government strategies to reduce health disparities in lupus; and discussion of the New York City Lupus Cooperative's success in addressing racial disparities in underserved communities, and its plans for a national program.
  • Lupus and Nurses – Several organizations competed and won contracts to provide education and awareness to nurses. These organizations were: Lupus Foundation of America National Office; Florida Department of Health; Medical University of South Carolina.
  • Women's Health Organizations – The Black Women's Health Imperative developed a lupus web-based outreach and education program. The site contained a physician locator service, a management and care section, and an educational module. The Full Circle Wellness Center in Inglewood, California, provided education, counseling and referral services to minority women.
  • African Americans and Lupus: Invisible No More – Continuing its collaborative efforts with the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation of New York, the OWH participated in this forum at the Congressional Black Caucus' 34th Annual Legislative Conference. The forum was sponsored by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY). Topics included a lupus overview; research findings, clinical trials, and community awareness and education.
  • Medical Education – The National Hispanic Medical Association and the National Medical Association were awarded funding to provide lupus education to their members. The Lupus Foundation of America was funded to develop a national training program for medical professionals. OWH partnered with the NIH Office of Research and Women's Health and other partners to convene a scientific conference on the latest information on lupus diagnosis, care and treatment and future issues for medical/health care professionals, researchers, community leaders, and lupus patients.

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Best Bones Forever!

Project leader: Ann Abercrombie, M.L.S., Calvin Teel, M.S.

The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) launched Best Bones Forever! in 2009 with the long-term goal of reducing the number of women who develop osteoporosis. The campaign encouraged adolescent girls (age 9–14) — a time when bone mass growth is at its peak and girls are beginning to make their own behavior choices and develop habits — to eat plenty of foods with calcium and vitamin D and get regular physical activity. To make the campaign appealing to girls, OWH wove themes of friendship and fun throughout campaign messages, materials, and activities. This was captured in the tagline: “Grow strong together, stay strong forever!”

OWH used several methods to ensure the campaign reached girls where they live, learn, and play. Attractive, interactive campaign materials were created and distributed to communities nationwide at no cost. Best Bones Forever! engaged a large and diverse network of partners who created products branded with the campaign logo, promoted campaign messages and activities through their publications, distributed materials, and featured the campaign at their events.

Over the 2009–2010 school year, Best Bones Forever! worked with community coalitions in North Las Vegas, NV; Pinal County, AZ; and Ulster County, NY, to pilot a community-level behavior change intervention. In addition to testing the intervention, which was a 10-session program focused on physical activity and nutrition for girls age 9 to 14 and their parents, the coalitions conducted community activities to raise bone health awareness. An evaluation of the program revealed increased bone health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in the pilot site communities.

Additionally, Best Bones Forever! coordinated a series of contests to get girls moving and thinking about their bone health. In 2010 the campaign held an Atlanta-based dance competition. In 2011, OWH expanded the dance contest to a national level. The Best Bones Forever! Let’s Dance Contest invited girls around the country to create dance teams with their friends and compete. OWH also worked with community youth groups to organize two writing contests (Dallas in 2010, Atlanta in 2011), in which girls submitted stories about the activities they and their friends do to strengthen their bones.

Content last updated: October 29, 2013.

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