University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland; the Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock, New Mexico; the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, The Dalles, Oregon; the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas; the Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage, Alaska; the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi; the Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon; and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, DC.
Since 1970, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Women's Health has partnered with the Indian Health Service and health care facilities serving Native American women to improve quality of care in both rural and urban settings. Needs assessments have included formal surveys, expert panels, consensus conferences, and onsite program reviews. Improved care has been achieved through continuing professional education, recruitment of volunteer obstetrician-gynecologists, advocacy, and close collaboration at the local and national levels. The inclusive and multifaceted approach of this program should provide an effective model for collaborations between specialty societies and health care professionals providing primary care services that can reduce health disparities in underserved populations.
To determine reproductive services offered to lesbian patients by Canadian fertility clinics, policies of practice, ease of access to these services, and sensitivity of clinics to this population of patients.
Survey sent to assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinic directors.
Academic medical center, university-based ethics institute.
The percentage of Canadian fertility clinics that will provide reproductive services to lesbian patients; services offered; the presence of clinic policies on lesbian care; and the presence on web sites of heteronormative material.
Completed surveys were received from 71% (24/34) of clinics. All clinics surveyed provided reproductive services to lesbian patients, with the exception of one clinic. Five of 24 (21%) clinics have a written policy on care for lesbian patients; 29% (7/24) will provide services to lesbian patients without prior investigations. All clinics will offer IUI and cycle monitoring to lesbian patients. Twenty-three of 24 clinics (96%) will offer IVF services when required. Fourteen of 32 clinic web sites (44%) make mention of lesbian patients and 27% (8/30) have heteronormative information only.
Lesbians encounter several barriers to accessing reproductive services in Canada. Addressing these issues could improve experiences of lesbian women and couples seeking care at fertility clinics.
A behavioral analysis was conducted of various eating disorder behaviors and their relationship with the lifetime use of different substances in a community-based sample of young adult women, aged 18-25 years. Women with particular eating disorder behaviors were selected from the 517 women who completed the Women's Health Survey. Analyses compared the frequencies of lifetime use of a range of licit and illicit substances as well as the abuse of prescription medications between each of the eating disorder groups and the normal control group. Results showed that as eating disorder behaviors became more severe, or were clustered together, the number of substance classes used, increased. Severe bingeing was consistently associated with alcohol use. Dieting and purging, with or without bingeing, was associated with the use of stimulants/ amphetamines and the abuse of sleeping pills. The results of this study suggest that the co-occurrence between subclinical levels of eating disorders and the use and abuse of a wide range of substances should inform assessment and treatment planning for adult women.
On the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, this article evaluates Canada's progress in the area of women's health by critically examining the Women's Health Strategy. Introduced in 1999 by Health Canada, the Strategy is considered Canada's key response to its international commitments for promoting women's health and in particular for implementing a gender-based analysis in all programs, services, policies, and research. By reviewing each objective of the Strategy, the article illustrates the limited progress that has been made to date. It provides arguments for why and how all levels of government should work to improve their response to women's health in Canada and, specifically, how the Women's Health Strategy can be redesigned to be more effective in attending to the needs and concerns of all Canadian women.
To report an exploration of the multidimensionality of safety in cardiac rehabilitation programmes as perceived by women who were enrolled in the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative in Toronto, Canada.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women. Although cardiac rehabilitation is clinically effective, significantly fewer women than men participate in available programmes. The literature identifies factors affecting women's cardiac rehabilitation participation, and provides possible explanations for this gender disparity. Although safety is mentioned among the barriers to women's cardiac rehabilitation participation, the extent to which safety contributes to programme participation, completion, and maintenance remains under-explored in the cardiac rehabilitation literature.
We conducted an exploratory qualitative study to examine the role safety and place play for women engaged in cardiac prevention and rehabilitation at the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative. Methods. From 2005-2006, 14 participants engaged in semi-structured, qualitative interviews lasting 30-90 minutes. Discussions addressed women's experiences at the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative. Interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.
Three themes were developed: 'Safety', which was sub-categorized according to physical, social, and symbolic interpretations of safety, 'searching for a sense of place', and 'confidence and empowerment'.
Feeling physically, socially, and symbolically safe in one's cardiac rehabilitation environment may contribute to programme adherence and exercise maintenance for women. Focusing on comprehensive notions of safety in future cardiac rehabilitation research could offer insight into why many women do not maintain an exercise regimen in currently structured cardiac rehabilitation and community programmes.
The purpose of this study was to identify and describe critical elements of women-centered care within the context of providing cervical screening to three ethnocultural groups in Canada: Asian, South Asian and First Nations.
Data for this collective case study included open-ended interviews with purposive samples of women and key informants from each target group. Following thematic analysis, cross-case analysis was completed by comparing and contrasting issues and contextual factors influencing women's and providers' experiences.
Cervical screening services for each group were shaped by attention to ethnocultural values, women's desire for thorough explanations, and the importance of a comfortable setting. While participation rates varied across clinics, women were positive about their experiences in obtaining cervical screening. Some women's expectations that they could address a range of health concerns with female health providers at the clinics were stymied by structural barriers that prevented staff from addressing issues beyond those directly related to cervical screening. Cross-case analysis revealed three key elements of women-centered care: respectful and culturally appropriate interactions between women and health providers, the importance of providing acceptable alternatives for women, and the need for comprehensive health services.
While the establishment of Pap test clinics for ethnocultural groups has the potential to enhance participation in cervical screening, changes in health policy and the structure of health services are required for existing programs to fully implement the elements of women-centered health care identified in this study. Other models of providing health care to women in ethnocultural groups, including the use of clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, should be evaluated.
Indigenous women in Mexico represent a vulnerable population in which three kinds of discrimination converge (ethnicity, gender and class), having direct repercussions on health status. The discrimination and inequity in health care settings brought this population to the fore as a priority group for institutional action. The objective of this study was to evaluate the processes and performance of the "Casa de la Mujer Indígena", a community based project for culturally and linguistically appropriate service delivery for indigenous women. The evaluation summarizes perspectives from diverse stakeholders involved in the implementation of the model, including users, local authorities, and institutional representatives.
The study covered five Casas implementation sites located in four Mexican states. A qualitative process evaluation focused on systematically analyzing the Casas project processes and performance was conducted using archival information and semi-structured interviews. Sixty-two interviews were conducted, and grounded theory approach was applied for data analysis.
Few similarities were observed between the proposed model of service delivery and its implementation in diverse locations, signaling discordant operating processes. Evidence gathered from Casas personnel highlighted their ability to detect obstetric emergencies and domestic violence cases, as well as contribute to the empowerment of women in the indigenous communities served by the project. These themes directly translated to increases in the reporting of abuse and referrals for obstetric emergencies.
The model's cultural and linguistic competency, and contributions to increased referrals for obstetric emergencies and abuse are notable successes. The flexibility and community-based nature of the model has allowed it to be adapted to the particularities of diverse indigenous contexts. Local, culturally appropriate implementation has been facilitated by the fact that the Casas have been implemented with local leadership and local women have taken ownership. Users express overall satisfaction with service delivery, while providing constructive feedback for the improvement of existing Casas, as well as more cost-effective implementation of the model in new sites. Integration of user's input obtained from this process evaluation into future planning will undoubtedly increase buy-in. The Casas model is pertinent and viable to other contexts where indigenous women experience disparities in care.
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Representatives from community and volunteer organizations (N = 37) in a rural region of Nova Scotia were interviewed on their views of the causes, prevention and treatment of depression in rural women. Utilizing a qualitative analysis, five themes were identified in their responses: the needs and stresses of women with depression; the problems of women in rural areas; obstacles and barriers to accessing services; the inadequacy of treatment services; and recommendations for improving prevention and treatment. The findings suggested that community service providers were consistent in their views of the needs and stresses of depressed women in rural areas and the kinds of services that would remedy them. Making community service providers aware of the consistencies in their views may promote more inter-agency cooperation and the development of community-centered approaches to the treatment of depression in rural women.