While women and their healthcare providers know more about mid-life health than ever before, how they talk together about aging well hasn’t kept pace, says HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino, RN.
“We know more and more information, but women want greater context to make the important mid-life health decisions that will impact their future health,” says Battaglino. “There are still a lot of question marks for women.”
Take menopause. “Massive confusion still remains for mid-life women following the landmark 1993-2005 Women’s Health Initiative study,” says Battaglino. “It is important that we provide women and healthcare providers with the latest information and resources to navigate how best to manage symptoms, especially when it comes to understanding your options in hormone therapy. It’s not about hiding your symptoms. It’s about putting a face on it and saying, ‘I know what menopause looks like.’”
Understanding health and wellbeing needs
To help facilitate these new conversations, HealthyWomen has joined with medical information giant WebMD to create a nationwide initiative targeting the head-to-toe health and wellbeing information needs of women, ages 40 and over. Based on a survey of more than 2,500 women nationwide, the report and subsequent initiative will cover topics as diverse as Alzheimer’s, bone, eye, and pelvic health and hormone therapy.
“We will be casting our women’s health topics net as wide as possible to capture responses that will help us educate women for years to come,” says Battaglino. “From this research we will learn what women are most concerned about as they age – and what their healthcare providers need to be talking to them about.”
Results to be unveiled later this year
Results of the survey – and, importantly, how HealthyWomen will put the results into action with a new national initiative – will be unveiled at an event in Washington, DC, later this year.
“This event will not only announce key survey results but will also focus on their implications for women, their healthcare providers, as well as policymakers and advocacy groups,” explains Battaglino.
Battaglino says HealthyWomen chose to partner with WebMD to tap into the power of its huge reach and engagement among the key demographic of mid-life women. “Working with them will allow us to target women across diverse populations and generate statistically significant results from varying socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Working together will give us data that will reveal new and important women’s health information trends.”
This is the latest national initiative created by HealthyWomen, founded in 1988 and now the nation’s leading source of independent women’s health information. According to Battaglino, creating partnerships, such as this with WebMD, is an approach that has helped her organization thrive for three decades: “What differentiates us in the women’s health space is our ability to partner with other organizations to elevate awareness to larger audiences. We work with partners to uncover what information is missing and how we can fill that void.”
Adds Battaglino, it’s about understanding the needs of women, understanding where there are gaps in health and wellness information and resources, and making sure we come through by answering those questions and filling those gaps.”
“As we say at HealthyWomen: Let’s talk about it, let’s share our story and let’s ensure women have accurate information and resources to be proactive in their own health.”