Women’s Health Caucus

 

Who We Are:

The mission of Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) is to unite and empower medical students through service, mentorship and education, and to advocate for the health of the Latinx community. The LMSA’s Women’s Health Caucus was created to address multifaceted issues affecting women’s health, such as: the need for comprehensive sexual health education, access to evidenced-based contraception, chronic illnesses disproportionately affecting women (i.e. breast and uterine cancer), and diseases that contribute to high incidences of morbidity and mortality (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity) amongst  Latinas.

The intention of the LMSA Women’s Health Caucus is to organize, mobilize, educate, and empower all women to receive equitable and comprehensive health, and wellness care, regardless of income, ethnicity, geography, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

According to the World Health Organizations definition of women’s health, the health of women and girls is of particular concern because, in many societies,  they are disadvantaged by discrimination rooted in sociocultural factors [1].  Examples of sociocultural factors that inhibit women and girls from the advantages of quality health services and attainment of optimal health include:

  • unequal power relationships between men and women;
  • social norms that decrease education and paid employment opportunities;
  • an exclusive focus on women’s reproductive roles; and
  • potential or actual experience of physical, sexual and emotional violence.

Despite improvement made by the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in the United States 13% of women aged 18 and older are in fair or poor health [2]. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 36% of women aged 20 and older are obese [3]. Also, about 33% of women aged 20 and older have hypertension (measured high blood pressure and/or taking antihypertensive medication)[4]. Currently, 9.2% of women under age 65, lack health insurance coverage, however this percentage may rapidly increase once the ACA is repealed [5]. The three leading causes of death for American women according to the CDC are heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease [6].

Purpose:

The LMSA Women’s Health Caucus was created to serve as a forum for LMSA members interested in health policy affecting women’s health  equity and access to quality health care. The Caucus will provide a platform for medical students to engage in advocacy, community service,  and research for policies promoting women’s health. The Caucus will support medical student research in women’s reproductive health and students interested in writing resolutions on this topic, and facilitate collaborations amongst  LMSA members and with other organizations promoting women’s health rights. We strive to increase public awareness of women’s health disparities and the social determinants of health that contribute to the inequities currently affecting women’s health outcomes in the United States.

 

Contact us:

womens.health@lmsa.net

 

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References:

  1. “Women’s Health.” World Health Organization.  http://www.who.int/topics/womens_health/en/
  2.  National Center for Health Statistics. “Summary of Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey, 2014.” US Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/NHIS/SHS/2014_SHS_Table_A-11.pdf
  3. National Center for Health Statistics. “Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.” Hyattsville, MD. 2016.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf#058
  4. National Center for Health Statistics. “Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.” Hyattsville, MD. 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf#054
  5. Ward, B. W., Clark, T.C., Nugent, C.N. and Schiller, J.S. “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the 2015 National Health Interview Survey.” national Center for Health Statistics. May 2016.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/earlyrelease201605.pdf
  6. Heron, M. “Deaths: Leading Causes for 2014”. National Vital Statistics Reports. June 30, 2016. Volume 65, No. 5: 1-95.https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr65/nvsr65_05.pdf