Press Release

November 3, 2006


State public health director announces $100,000 for Comprehensive Women’s Health pilot programs

Funding will help educate women on important health issues  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an ongoing effort to improve the health of women in Illinois, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced grants to fund four Comprehensive Women’s Health pilot programs aimed at increasing knowledge about important women’s health issues. Each grant will fund a 10-week comprehensive education curriculum covering a variety of women’s health topics including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, nutrition, fitness, stress, substance abuse, violence against women, sexual health, aging and family health.

“Most women are the primary caregivers in their family, putting everyone else’s health and wellbeing ahead of their own. But women need to make sure they take care of themselves and know about health conditions they could face,” said Dr. Whitaker. “This year Gov. Blagojevich included $100,000 in the Illinois Department of Public Health Women’s Initiative grants to help educate women about how to stay healthy and live longer.”

A $25,000 Comprehensive Women’s Health grant was issued to each of the four following organizations for the 2007 fiscal year:

  • Adams County Health Department in Quincy: The target population for the Adams County program is overweight/obese, sedentary females that live in this rural county, which consistently are reported as having higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes and stroke than other rural counties in Illinois. Data shows that 66.7 percent of the women in Adams County do not meet the recommended guidelines for moderate physical activity with 47.9 percent not meeting the U.S. nutritional guidelines. In addition, a lack of access to health care leads to a variety of health conditions identified in the Comprehensive Women’s Health pilot program.

“The Adams County Health Department currently has one Comprehensive Women’s Health class with 27 participants who seem to enjoy the guest speakers, such as a doctor, we’ve asked to come to the class,” said Adams County Health Department Director of Health Promotion Julie Shepard. “The Comprehensive Women’s Health program is an opportunity for women to get good health information, ask questions and to support each other.”

  • PrimeCare Community Health in Chicago: The overall intent of this program is to reach out to Hispanic women ages 18 years and older in underserved, low socioeconomic, minority areas in Humboldt Park. Humboldt Park has been designated a Health Professions Shortage Area and is categorized as a “high risk” community in the upper percentile for mortality, communicable diseases and poverty.
  • Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon: This program will target the mostly rural population of Coles and Cumberland counties where 64 percent of women are overweight or obese. Approximately 12 percent of the region’s population has an annual income below the poverty level and limited access to healthcare. This area lacks recreation facilities, has very limited public transportation and limited awareness education programs, which are all potential barriers contributing to unhealthy lifestyles in the region.
  • Southern Illinois University in Carbondale: The Carbondale Family Medicine Residency Program is implementing the pilot program in at least three distinct populations:

    1. Southern Illinois Healthcare Senior Advantage Organization
    2. Migrant Education, Inc. – Head Start Program for migrant farmer workers and their families located in Cobden.
    3. Women residing in Bethany Village, Anna – Houses abused and battered women

The Comprehensive Women’s Health pilot program joins six other Women’s Health Initiative Grants funded through state general revenue funds and includes:

  • Heart Smart for Women, a 12-week community-based program designed to change unhealthy behavior while promoting the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
  • Heart Smart for Teens, a nine-week nutrition and exercise curriculum geared to school-aged girls.
  • Building Better Bones, a program for women that offers group education sessions as well as bone density screenings for osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis Prevention for Teens, a program targeting high school freshman and sophomore students that includes a presentation on osteoporosis and several activities which include a nutrition demonstration and exercises to promote bone building.
  • Jump Girl Jump, a four-session structured jump rope and nutrition program for grade school girls designed to create awareness of bone health, physical activity, and the importance of calcium intake.
  • Understanding Menopause, a program that offers educational sessions to help women understand peri-menopause and menopause and inform them about related health issues.

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Office of Women’s Health administers the grants, which are awarded to organizations to implement programs that provide guidance on issues related to nutrition, exercise, risk assessment, treatment options and prevention strategies. Grants were issued to 69 grantees this year totaling $1.4 million.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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