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Illinois WISEWOMAN Program

Frequently Asked Questions



What is the Illinois WISEWOMAN program?

The WISEWOMAN (Well -Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) program is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Illinois WISEWOMAN program (IWP) aims to lower heart disease and other chronic disease risk factors through screening and lifestyle classes. The four weekly lifestyle classes teach women how to eat healthy, increase physical activity, problem solve, set goals, and also teaches them about the importance of a support system.

Can I join the Illinois WISEWOMAN program?

You can join the Illinois WISEWOMAN program if you are a woman who is:

  • Between the ages of 40 and 64;
  • Living at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level;*
  • Under- or uninsured;
  • Currently enrolled in the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP); and
  • Living within the counties served by IWP.**

*Table below shows current incomes at 250 percent of federal poverty level
from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Household Size Weekly Monthly Annually
1 $524 $2,269 $27,225
2 $707 $3,065 $36,775
3 $891 $3,860 $46,325
4 $1,075 $4,656 $55,875
5 $1,258 $5,452 $65,425
6 $1,442 $6,248 $74,975
7 $1,625 $7,044 $84,525
8 $1,809 $7,840 $94,075
For each additional member add: $184 $796 $9,550
Based on the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).
Source: Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 13, January 20, 2011, pp. 3637-3638


** IWP Lead Agencies and Counties Served

Stephenson County Health Department: 815-599-8432
Serves Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle,
and Stephenson Counties
Toll Free: 866-590-8499
DuPage County Health Department: 630-682-7400***
Serves DuPage County  
Mercy Hospital and Medical Center: 312-567-2619***
Serves Cook County  
Chicago Family Health Center: 773-768-5000, ext. 1010
Serves Cook County  
Fulton County Health Department: 309-647-1134
Serves Fulton County Toll Free: 800-538-2970
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District:
217-373-9281, ext. 2916
Serves Champaign, McLean, and Vermilion counties Toll Free: 877-811-0193
Sangamon County Health Department:
217-535-3100, ext. 3756
Serves Sangamon and, Menard counties  
Madison County Health Department: 618-296-6084
Serves Madison County  
St. Clair County Health Department: 618-233-7703, ext. 4400
Serves St. Clair County  

*** Illinois WISEWOMAN program materials are available in English and Spanish.

For more information about IBCCP or counties that are served by IWP, call the Women’s Health-Line:

Toll-free: 888-522-1282
TTY: 800-547-0466

Why should I join the Illinois WISEWOMAN program?

By joining the Illinois WISEWOMAN program:

  • You may receive screenings for heart disease, breast cancer, and cervical cancer in one easy combined office visit. For heart disease, you will have your blood pressure taken, as well as your blood drawn to learn your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, at no cost. For breast and cervical cancer, you will have a mammogram, clinical breast exam, pelvic exam, and Pap test at no cost.
  • You may choose to attend a four-week series of classes that will show you how to set goals to eat healthier and be more active, which may improve your heart health.
  • You may meet a lifelong friend.

You can join for FREE!

What happens after I join the Illinois WISEWOMAN program?

After your office visit, you will talk with the Illinois WISEWOMAN program nurse case manager about your lab results and decide if you want to attend the four weekly group classes that help teach ways of increasing physical activity, improving dietary behaviors, and other lifestyle behaviors.

If you decide to join the “Be Wise” lifestyle classes, you will receive the IWP “Be Wise” material. The material is divided into four classes:

  • Small Changes, Big Results . You will learn about MyPyramid and the Physical Activity Pyramid, as well as making healthier choices in both eating and physical activity.
  • I’m a WISEWOMAN, Not a Wonder Woman . You will learn about social support; types of stretching, flexibility, and strength exercises; types of hunger; ways to eat healthy away from home; and dealing with stress.
  • Know Your World. You will learn how to use a step counter; how to keep track of your eating and physical activity; about portions and servings; about food labels; and how to problem solve.
  • Health is a Choice . You will learn about setting goals, rewards, turning unhealthy thoughts around, and healthy weight loss.

You also will receive a Community Resource Guide (Handout) with your Participant’s Guide. These resources, such as links to fresh food markets and walking trails, can be accessed using this Community Resource Guide.


What are other facts or tools that an Illinois WISEWOMAN should know?

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Illinois. One in three women dies of heart disease, making it the number one cause of death for women.
  • There is a gap between whites and non-whites in heart disease death rates. African-American women in Illinois die from heart disease at a higher rate than white women in Illinois. Similarly, African-American women die from heart disease at a higher rate than white women in the United States.


  • In 2006, 315,930 women in the United States died of heart disease.
  • Heart disease is preventable. By knowing the eight risk factors that can cause heart disease, you can decrease them to save your life. The heart disease risk factors are:
    • High cholesterol,
    • High blood pressure,
    • Diabetes,
    • Unhealthy eating,
    • Physical inactivity,
    • Obesity,
    • Extreme alcohol intake, and
    • Family History.
  • WISEWOMAN programs across the United States have screened more than 84,000 women.
  • By finding heart disease, breast cancer or cervical cancer early, you can save your life.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, along with lean protein sources, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and healthy fats. Choose healthier cooking methods like baking and grilling over frying.
  • Strive for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
  • If you smoke cigarettes, quitting smoking is one of the most important things that you can do. You will live longer, feel better and lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer.

Health Information

National Women's Health Information Center

Patient and Public Education Materials

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Heart Disease and Women

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

NHLBI: Facts About Heart Disease and Women: Are You At Risk?

National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

American Heart Association
http:// www. americanheart .org/

WISEWOMAN Program Interventions — Evidence Based Interventions

Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation

Breast and Cervical Cancer

Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program


Eat for a Healthy Heart


National Cholesterol Education Month


Stress at Work


Facts About Heart Disease and Women: Kicking The Smoking Habit

Illinois Tobacco Quitline

For additional information, call the Women's Health-Line:
Toll-free: 888-522-1282
TTY: 800-547-0466
or E-mail us at