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Indiana State Department of Health

Office of Women's Health Office of Women's Health

National Women’s Health Week is May 10 – May 16th and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Office of Women’s Health (OWH) has planned an event to highlight the importance of improving women’s health in Indiana.  OWH would love to see your participation!

What:  Walk a Mile for Women Health Walk as well as biometric screenings for women, courtesy of the IU Center of Excellence in Women’s Health Women’s Wellness on Wheels (WOW) bus.

  • Please join us for a family-friendly Walk a Mile for Women Health Walk and get your daily steps in for better health!  Biometric screenings by the WOW bus include a full health risk assessment, measurement of height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure and blood glucose screening.  You will receive a printout with your information that can be shared with your insurance or medical provider(s).

When and Where:  Monday, May 11th – Indiana State Department of Health (2 N. Meridian St. Indpls. IN 46204)

  • Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Walthall and the Office of Women’s Health will lead a one mile walk from 12:00 – 12:30 p.m., starting and ending at the ISDH entrance;
  • Biometric screenings for women in the public will be provided by the WOW bus between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  The bus will be located at the corner of Washington St. and Meridian St.

Welcome to Indiana State Department of Health’s Office of Women’s Health webpage.  The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) is so pleased that you have chosen to learn about how our state is working to help improve the health of women.  We believe that every woman should have access to free, up-to-date and reliable resources to find out information about her health.  The Office of Women’s Health wants to ensure that each woman and girl in Indiana is aware of her own health status, risks and goals, and can achieve optimal health through access, education and advocacy.  Our website is inclusive of all OWH’s programs, and has a page of resources to help guide you in improving your health.  If you have any questions or need information that is not included on our website, please feel free to call 317-233-9156 or email lchavez@isdh.in.gov.  Thank you so much for visiting our site, and we wish you good health!

Warmest regards,
Laura Chavez, MPH, CLC, CHPE
Director, Office of Women’s Health

News to Use

Ten central Indiana women have been selected to represent the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement in 2015 as part of the second annual “Real Women. Real Change.” program presented by UnitedHealthcare.  Each of the women made positive changes to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle – including losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing the number of medications they take, adopting healthier diets and exercising.  By sharing their successes and struggles, these 10 women aim to inspire other Hoosiers to take control of their heart health, beginning with small steps that may lead to big changes.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States, causing one in three deaths each year. Some heart disease risk factors include family history and aging; however, up to 80 percent of heart disease is preventable by making small changes to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, according to the American Heart Association.  Below are just a few of the ten stories to help inspire you and the women you love to focus on your own overall health and its impact on your heart!

Self-Nominated Winner: Stephani Remetta

Stephani was born with a congenital heart defect that went undiagnosed until she was 27. Told she had a heart murmur, the more serious condition was finally diagnosed after the birth of her son. The diagnosis, accompanied by the news that she would not be able to have more children, led to a dark time for Stephani that included depression and weight gain.  In 2012, she made the decision to get healthy in body and mind. She began eating a healthier diet, drinking more water and committing to exercise. She ran her first 5K in 2012 and is training to run her first half-marathon in 2015.

Friend-Nominated Winner: Mary Ames

Mary’s children describe the “old” Mary as a 40-year smoker who was exhausted all the time and ate anything but healthy food. A picture of unhealthiness.  But Mary had a wake-up call last June when she needed double-bypass surgery to remedy 100 percent blockages in two arteries in her heart. She embraced the experience as a chance for a new start and has made the most of it.  Mary began walking on a treadmill, lifting weights to add strength and riding a bicycle. She changed her diet, increasing her intake of fruits and vegetables and eliminated sugary snacks. After 40 years, she also quit smoking.  Mary is now a transformed woman, full of energy to enjoy her daily life and play with her grandkids.

Popular Vote Winner: Katie Nave

Katie works in cardiac critical care and sees the devastation of heart disease every day. She has also battled her own weight problems since childhood. After the birth of her two children, Katie knew she needed to model health behavior for them.  Katie quit eating sugary snacks and replaced them with high-protein foods. This helped her lose almost 70 lbs.  Through her newfound energy and dedication, Katie has inspired many others to run half marathons, change eating habits and find overall wellness.

To learn more about the amazing successes of all of the "Real Women.  Real Change." finalists, and how you can get a healthier heart, visit the Indiana Chapter of the American Heart Association webpage.

Spotlight on Women's Health

Diabetes, the most common disorder of the endrocrine (hormone) system, occurs when blood sugar levels in the body consistently stay above normal.  Diabetes can lead to very serious complications for women and can lead to disability or premature death.  There are many risk factors for diabetes, including, but not limited to:

  • A parent or sibling with diabetes;
  • Physical inactivity;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Women who have a history of Gestational Diabetes or had a baby weighing more than nine pounds;
  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome;
  • History of low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides or high blood pressure;
  • Carrying excessive weight around the abdominal area;
  • Smoking; and
  • Certain medications.

There are many ways to prevent or take steps to manage your diabetes.  The Indiana State Department of Health has many resources to help you determine your risk and help you find ways to get healthier.  Some steps to take include:

  • See your doctor.  Your doctor is your best partner in determining your risk for developing diabetes, or helping you manage your symptoms.  If you do not have health insurance, visit the HIP 2.0 website to learn about affordable options available to help.
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  This might mean taking steps to eat healthier foods and exercise more.  For great tips and support to live a healthier life, visit the INShape Indiana webpage.
  • Quit smoking.  Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and disability for women and men worldwide.  Quitting tobacco is an important step to reduce your risk for diabetes and many other conditions.  Call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for help 24/7.
  • Take a class.  If you are looking to change your lifestyle and are living with chronic disease, consider the "Living a Healthy Life" program.  This is a community-based education course to help you take charge of your health and lead a more productive and satisfying life.
  • Determine your risk.  Take the Diabetes Risk Test below, provided by the American Diabetes Association.  You can use the results to talk to your doctor about your individual health needs and options. 

Visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/26609.htm to find a Diabetes Prevention Program near you.

Movers and Shakers: Hoosiers Making an Impact on Women's Health

Michelle Corrao is the Assistant Director for Prevail, a victim awareness and support program in Hamilton County, IN.  She has been with Prevail for fourteen years and has held a number of positions including Sexual Assault Advocate, Director of Community Relations, and Interim Executive Director.  Michelle works tirelessly to empower survivors and advocates. Michelle has been the featured presenter at regional conferences in Indiana, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Austin, TX sharing her story to promote healing, hope and awareness of sexual assault.   She was honored in Washington D.C. by US Attorney General Eric Holder with the “Special Courage Award” and was the first to receive the “Distinguished Hoosier Award” from Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Michelle has also been featured on the Biography Channel series “I Survived.” By sharing her personal story, Michelle hopes to teach others that this field is not about “winning” the case, but making sure the survivor feels validated.

The Office of Women’s Health recognizes that advancements in women’s health do not happen on their own.  There are many amazing women and men behind the scenes working to improve the health of our Indiana communities through tireless efforts and advocacy for women’s health.  If you know an individual whose creativity, innovative work or diligent efforts have made a real difference in your community, and would like this individual considered to be highlighted in the “Movers and Shakers” section of the OWH webpage, please email Laura Chavez, Director of the Office of Women’s Health, at lchavez@isdh.in.gov.

Keep up with OWH!

  • Visit the Office of Women’s Health webpage for regular updates on women’s health-related issues and community services and programs that help promote women’s health and wellness across the state.
  • Follow OWH on Twitter @inwomenshealth for daily updates on women’s health facts and resources.

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