State grants help IU Center of Excellence spread wellness for women

  • Sept. 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana University National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, a program of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the IU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been awarded its fourth grant in three years from the Indiana State Department of Health. The grants, which total over $835,000, provide funding to improve access to health care, increase awareness of healthy lifestyle behaviors and connect women -- particularly those age 14 to 24 -- with local resources for optimum health.

Using the Center of Excellence’s outreach program, which includes a mobile health unit called the Women’s Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Bus, they provide free screenings for body mass index, blood sugar and blood pressure, plus individualized consultation and education on activity levels, nutrition and reproductive health. Those with abnormal findings are paired with a health coach to help women overcome barriers to leading a healthier lifestyle.

“We need to reach teens and young adults to impact the next generation of Hoosiers and stop the downward spiral of health in Indiana,” said Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, M.D., executive director of the IU National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.  "Of the 500 students in our Making Healthy Choices program at IUPUI, over 70 percent were overweight, 20 percent had an elevated heart rate, and 80 percent had incorrect information or misunderstanding of contraceptive issues. These and other students, as well as all women in underserved and rural areas, need be connected with local primary-care providers and other resources to promote healthy choices and lifestyles."

The center also convenes partnerships in the state toward the fulfillment of its mission to improve the health of Indiana women. The center saw the outreach program as a way to partner with the Indiana State Department of Health and meet that goal.

The center will host more than 100 attendees at the Women of INfluence Annual Symposium on Sept. 10, at the Ivy Tech Conference Center, 2820 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis.

“We have women from across the state coming to learn about health issues impacting women and families,” Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber said. "The attendees are from public health departments, hospital systems, higher education and other nonprofit agencies, with the mutual goal of raising the grade in women’s health and empowering participants to lead health initiatives in their community and sphere of influence."

For information about the IU National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health programs and conferences, or to make a donation, contact operations director Teri Brown Duell at tbduell@iupui.edu.

Women's Wellness on Wheels bus

Women's Wellness on Wheels bus

Print Quality Photo

Eric Schoch