Office on Women’s Health 25th Anniversary

The Office on Women’s Health was created
in recognition of the fact that women and girls have a unique stake in health care policy. And in the 25 years since, OWH has proved
to be an invaluable resource for women and girls. Since 1991, the HHS Office on Women’s Health
has been tackling health issues affecting women of all ages. Working together…for all our lives. It’s important that we think about the things
that affect women throughout their lifetime. We want to make sure that we think about girls
and young teenagers. What I think is most important about the work
we do in the Office on Women’s Health with girls is giving them that sense of power at
a young age. We give them the facts about STDs, about how
to prevent them, and how to talk to important adults, where to get information on healthcare
services if you need that. Before you go here, go here. Recognizing the needs of moms is really important. For many years the Office on Women’s Health
has been advocating breastfeeding as the healthier choice for women and their babies. I decided to breastfeed because I knew it
was the best choice for my baby. One of the obstacles for women breastfeeding
after they go back to work is that there wasn’t workplace accommodation. When nursing mothers return to work from maternity
leave, they need an area that is not a bathroom to express milk during their work period. We approached 22 industries across the United
States. All kinds of folks have been able to figure
out how to accommodate women to express milk. It’s very important for women to have health
and major programs from the Office on Women’s Health especially for women after their reproductive
years. What’s it feel like when a woman’s having
a heart attack? In 2010 OWH launched Make The Call, Don’t
Miss A Beat to highlight the seven symptoms of a heart attack in women, and the need to
phone for help. Learn more at attack. We’ve actually seen a pretty big increase
in calls to 9-1-1; when we started it was about 50 percent of women and then it’s
gone up to at least 65 to 70 percent. In 2000 the Office on Women’s Health launched
National Women’s Health Week to encourage women to make their own health a priority. It’s National Women’s Health Week. It begins every Mother’s Day, and it’s
a time for the whole week that we want to encourage women to take care of themselves. A big area of emphasis in our office has been
violence against women. We know that affects women across their lifespan
for certain. Another issue that affects women of all ages
is HIV AIDS. Hello my name is Michelle Anderson and I’ve
been living with HIV for 15 years. Women were really in the cross-hairs of the
HIV epidemic. The Office on Women’s Health actually conceptualized
and launched the women and girls HIV AIDS Awareness Day. The National Women & Girls HIV-AIDS Awareness
Day, we use to really encourage women and girls to know about HIV, and to make sure
that they know what their HIV status is. If they’re positive, they use the proper
medication, they can live long, productive, happy lives. The Office on Women’s Health has been able
to accomplish bringing together partners and leaders, stakeholders – that no one could
have imagined. We work with all the national Hispanic health
professional associations, and I think it adds to the Office on Women’s Health to
have us there, just beating the drum with them. The Office on Women’s Health helped to develop
a phenomenal program in the mid-1990s called the Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. And by the time the program ended in about
2007, there were nearly 50 different centers of various types throughout the United States. It was invigorating, exciting, and helped
to develop a network of folks interested in women’s health across the United States that
really had not existed before. The Office on Women’s Health needs to continue
to make girls and women healthier for the future. Congratulations to the Office on Women’s
Health for being a national leader in advancing the health of women and girls. I so look forward to seeing how OWH moves
us all closer to this goal in the next 25 years. (applause)

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