Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

We know it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because pink ribbons abound and players are wearing pink shoes on Monday Night Football. The byword is, of course, awareness, but that leads me to wonder what aspect of the issue we should focus on.  Besides the importance of early detection, what else should Americans be aware of, given the fact that breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths for women in the United States? Perhaps a greater emphasis should be put on access to care, nutrition and the link between poverty and survival rates.

Since 1975, breast cancer survival rates have been increasing, but there is a disparity of outcomes tied to demographics.  The American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Facts and Figures: 2011 – 2012, tells us that poverty and lack of health insurance are associated with higher mortality rates.  We know that early detection is vital to long-term survival, but lack of resources and insurance means many women go without recommended screenings.

Another concern is the disparity in medical treatment after diagnosis for patients with lower-income, as well as the presence of additional health issues, which brings us again to the issue of insurance coverage. These are crucial barriers to overcome, yet there is more to it than just income and insurance, as recent research is finding nutrition to be another important component. (more…)


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I have been meaning to post about the new(ish) report from the White House Council on Women and Girls for a couple of weeks now, but the time has just gotten away from me.  The report titled Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being provides readers with lots of helpful quantitative data on the current status of women in America, as well as a look back data from previous years.  The information contained in the report is based on Federal data from a range of agencies including the Census Bureau, Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice. 

It is well documented on this blog that I am a numbers kind of girl, so I found all the data really interesting.  The rest of this post will contain just a few of the interesting data points from the report. 


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The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released their KIDS COUNT Data Book, which looks at 10 key indicators of child well-being.  Once again, Oklahoma is at the bottom of the rankings at 44th.  This means that children in 43 states have it better than children in Oklahoma.  In addition to ranking states on overall child well-being, the report ranks states on each of the 10 key indicators.   The table below was created using Oklahoma’s data, which can be found here.


In 2000

In 2007

% Change

National Rank

% low-birth weight babies





Infant mortality rate ( per 1000 live births)





Child death rate (per 100,000)





Teen death rate (per 100,000 teens)





Teen birth rate (births per 1000 females )





% of teens not in school and not high school graduates





% of teens not attending school and not working

No data




% of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment

No data




% of children in poverty





% of children in single parent homes





The Oklahoma Women’s Network Blog posted a press release from Oklahoma State Representative Doug Cox – chair of the Public Health and Social Services Committee – entitled “Education is Key to Improving Health and Well Being of Oklahoma Children.”  The premise of his response to the KIDS COUNT data is that education is the key to solving the problems highlighted.  I wonder though if education is the magic bullet.  No doubt, an improved education system will benefit all of Oklahoma’s children, but is it enough to dramatically reduce the number of children living in poverty.  Is education the answer to the current employment crisis?

In another transparent attempt to increase comments, I pose this question:

In addition to increased educational opportunities, what other programs and services could help Oklahoma improve its child well-being rank?

To review the entire KIDS COUNT Data Book, click here.

To read the Oklahoma Women’s Network post, click here.

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Non-Profit Fitness Centers

Almost everyday we hear about the health risks of obesity or the rising rates of  diabetes in the US.  These same stories also tell us that getting more exercise and eating healthy are the best ways to live a healthier life, but what if you live in a community that does not include access to affordable exercise facilities or you are afraid to walk alone.  This is the case in many low-income or working class communities in America.  Healthworks is trying to remove these barriers in one Boston neighborhood.  Healthworks operates two affordable gyms for women and children in the working-class Dorchester neighborhood – Codman Square and St. Mary’s.  The gyms are like many for-profit gyms across America.  They include classes like yoga, pilaties, aerobics, and zumba, as well as weights and excercise machines.  The Codman Square site also includes a teaching kitchen where members learn about how to prepare healthy meals.  The difference is membership fees are based on income, so most members never pay more than $30 per month.  To work toward their mission of  improving the fitness level of Dorchester residents, Healthworks provides:                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  • Free/low-cost exercise programs
  • Special exercise programs for residents with diabetes and other chronic diseases
  • Collaboration with local schools to create opportunities for school children to use the facility
  • Collaboration with local community youth groups to create fitness opportunities in after-school programs.

Kudos to Healthworks for providing this great service to their community!

For more information read this story from NPR or visit the Healthworks website.

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The Tulsa World recently published an excellent article about Healthy Women, Healthy Futures (HWHF), which is an interconception health promotion program serving women in Tulsa.  CAP in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa College of Nursing and the George Kaiser Family Foundation launched the program to improve the physical, emotional, social, dental, and vision health of non-pregnant women living in poverty in order to reduce premature births and infant mortality.  The program is available to women with children enrolled at Frost, McClure, Skelly, and Educare I and who are able to become pregnant but not currently pregnant.  Nearly 100 women are currently participating in the program.  Classes offered throughout the course of the program include the benefits of exercise, cardiovascular wellness, diabetes prevention, nutrition, healthy shopping and cooking, pregnancy plan development, yoga, zumba, and many others.  In addition to the classes listed, HWHF and Partners provide:

  • No or low-cost on-going basic health care at the centers’ school based clinics
  • An individualized health plan, developed with participants, to prevent or manage chronic illnesses
  • Support and assistance in women’s interconception health by a Health Navigator (case manager)
  • No cost vision exams and glasses, if needed
  • Medicines at no cost
  • Dental care
  • Counseling for mental health issues
  • RNs and Health Navigators act as wellness coaches to support women with their health plans

To read the Tulsa World article, including some staggering statistics about women, pregnancy, and poverty in Tulsa and Oklahoma, click here.

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womenakbapura1Last week the Tulsa World was one of many papers to publish a press release from Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, celebrating more than 106 million microloans in 2007.  In 1997 when a goal was set to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families with microloans by 2005, it had to be a pretty heady aspiration. When it wasn’t quite reached in 2005, rather than simply push the date back they raised the bar with new goals for 2015: 1) 175 million of the world’s poorest women receive credit for self-employment and other financial and business services and 2) 100 million families rise above the US$1 a day threshold between 1990 and 2015.

By 2007, the original goal had been broken with 106 million microloans at over $15 billion and the work continues towards reaching 175 million women and families by 2015. It’s really a pretty exciting milestone considering fewer than 8 million very poor clients had a microloan in 1997.

The second goal has taken on its own identity as the “Movement Above a $1 a Day” project. Although clear data exists for the number of microloans issued, as well as payback rates – rates that are much higher than other markets – especially these days… few efforts have been made to track how many families have surpassed the $1 a day threshold. Tackling this is quite a task considering the number of microloans… spread around the world.  

Are you tracking clients long-term? Are you in the planning stages like us?  It would be great to hear your thoughts on what you are doing and thinking about on-blog or off.  How about microloan, entrepreneurship, or business co-op programs here in the U.S., Oklahoma or Tulsa?  I know there are a number of ways to get involved in global microloan programs from Tulsa, but I don’t know about any efforts  reaching Tulsa families. Do you? 


Image used under a Creative Commons license from flickr user lecercle.

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The National Women’s Law Center is hosting a webinar on September 10, noon Central time, called “Planning for the Future: What Working Women Need to Know about Social Security and Retirement Savings.” The webinar is aimed at service providers, advocates, and individuals. Registration is free – Register here.

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