Petition to Establish the Louisiana Office on Women's Health

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In 1991, the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) was established as part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). OWH was reauthorized in 2010 under Public Law 111–148 section 3509 of the 111th Congress. The stated vision of OWH was “for all women and girls to achieve the best possible health.” The Office on Women’s Health’s purpose is to improve the health of women in the United States by “advancing and coordinating a comprehensive women’s health agenda.” However, in Louisiana, women continue to have poor health outcomes as evidenced by continued low health rankings as compared to other states. Louisiana currently ranks 47th according to America’s Health Rankings’ 2019 Health of Women and Children Report.

Women in Louisiana have among the highest incidence and prevalence of disease as it relates to maternal mortality and cardiovascular disease, especially hypertension. Further, women in our state experience high rates of poverty and income inequality. An entity with a mandate, authority, and resources is warranted to effectuate improved health outcomes among women. We believe establishing an Office on Women’s Health in Louisiana to be necessary to facilitate improved health outcomes for Louisiana women and potentially foster a better quality of life for women and their families.

The creation of the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health is to provide education, leadership and coordination on critical women’s health issues, evidence-based prevention and treatment programs and services, and policies to improve the overall health of women and girls in Louisiana. This Office’s functions may include but not be limited to working collaboratively with state and governmental agencies and community partners, public education, healthcare professional education and workforce development, career advancement for women, and research. Some initial areas of focus include diabetes, heart health, maternal and birth outcomes, autoimmune diseases, mental health, and family economic security. Working to decrease disparities in these and other areas, the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health will work to move the needle and improve health outcomes for women and their families.

Show your support for women and girls across Louisiana by signing this petition, urging policy makers to establish the Louisiana Office on Women’s Health.