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with continuing education credits in gender medicine and gender-specific healthcare


Evidence-based Gender-specific Care of Women

In 2003, the Women's Heart Foundation started a Gender Care Initiative©,TM a series of lectures that address the multifaceted and complex health problems that surround women's heart disease, and has attracted experts in the field of gender medicine to lead its conferences such as former board member, Marianne J. Legato, MD of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York; Nieca Goldberg, MD, author of the New York Times bestseller, Women Are Not Small Men; and Mehmet Oz, MD, a distinguished cardiologist, lecturer and TV personality for the Discovery Channel. As a result, many New Jersey women have come forward and agreed to share their compelling stories of survival. Three stories, and lessons learned, are succinctly outlined in the WHF Take Care of Your Heart brochure with a critical message about gender care and how heart disease affects women differently. The three women portrayed - Jean, Cynthia and Beverly are showing women the way to better heart care and survival. Read their stories. It could save your life.

In 2004, the Women's Heart Foundation started Teen Esteem Health & Fitness Program© - a gym-alternative program for girl health. One hundred and thrity sophomore girls attending Trenton Central High School enrolled the first year. The program curriculum is being managed by the Women's Heart Foundation and studied as a possible cardiovascular disease intervention model by researchers at Rutgers University Department of Nursing. The same-sex environment to health and fitness in teen girls represents a new gender-specific care model.

In 2005, the Women's Heart Foundation introduced a series of lectures with experiential wellness components at the YWCA and at select Curves®. The programs' pilot completed and the WHF expanded the curriculum to include 21 health topics written by health professionals, and representing the WHF Woman's Wellness Network -- turnkey programs offering support for women of all ages and in all stages of life. WHF then partnered with the University of St. Francis Medical Center to create an online course curriculum with a certificate in Women's Wellness, specially designed for fitness trainers and for nursing leaders administering programs in communities of faith.

What is gender medicine and gender-specific care? According to Dr. Barbara Reigel, Associate Professor of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, "Gender medicine is the practice of medicine that takes into account not only sex - the biophysical characteristics that affect disease manifestation, care and treatment - but also social roles and the distinctions between men and women of a society and sociocultural norms and experiences, expressed through values, psychosocial characteristics and behaviors - all of which have an impact on health and disease." Marianne J. Legato, MD, founder of the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University explains: "The sex hormones affect every cell in the body, so there are male and female hearts, male and female livers, male and female blood vessels, male and female brains, male and female skin cells, etc. Gender medicine respects these differences and applies them to the science of gender medicine and to care practices."

The 1st World Congress on Gender Medicine

Women's Heart Foundation founder Bonnie Arkus, RN, will be presenting at the poster session of the 1st World Congress on Gender Medicine February 23-26, 2006 in Berlin, Germany with Kathleen Ashton, RN, PhD, principal investigator for the organization's Teen Esteem Health and Fitness Program research project. Results of the research support a gender-specific approach to teen girls' health and wellness.

Dr. Legato is The Congress President and Vivian Pinn, MD, Director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, serves as The Congress Honorary President.

Related links:
The WHF Teen Esteem Health and Fitness Program©
The First World Congress on Gender Medicine website



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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.