WOMEN’S HEALTH INITIATIVE

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Women with disabilities face many challenges. Finding adequate basic healthcare shouldn’t be one of them. So CPF created the Women’s Health Initiative. This project is generously supported by 100 Women in Hedge Funds.

The statistics around healthcare for women with disabilities are shocking. For example, the mortality rate of breast cancer is three times higher than for others. The reasons for this are numerous. 80% of US doctors graduate medical school without ever having treated a woman with significant disabilities. Many doctor’s offices lack sufficient knowledge about what is needed to provide adequate care. Physical access is often insufficient. Far too often real medical issues are simply dismissed as a byproduct of cerebral palsy.

This cycle winds up with many issues, ranging from depression and isolation to troubling statistics: such as the greatly increased incidences of cancer.

It is time to transform healthcare for women with disabilities.

CPF and a collaborative network of nationally renowned medical institutions have joined together not only to identify the barriers to better healthcare, but also begin to develop and implement new approaches. This effort began with the generous support of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations. Their fundraising efforts have raised nearly $2M for our foundation.

Each of our four partnering institutions is addressing a different aspect of healthcare for women, as we work with them and real women with disabilities to weave their findings together and put forth a comprehensive plan.

  • The Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University Medical Center will investigate gynecological needs and service barriers for women with CP.
  • The Complex Care Service at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital will focus on sexual and reproductive health among adolescents with CP.
  • The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University will promote patient-centered care in mammography.
  • The Center for Cerebral Palsy at the UCLA Medical Center will seek to improve reproductive life planning and obstetrical care for women with CP who wish to become pregnant and start a family.

Critically, women with disabilities will be actively participating in each research project. In the first year, women with CP will be interviewed on their experiences. These survey results will lead to the development of pilot projects aimed at addressing barriers to quality healthcare for women with disabilities.

In year two, CPF will work with institutions to observe how these pilot projects are progressing. We will record successes and further refine areas which prove more challenging with the overall aim to deliver new guidelines for best practice and the implementation of them in women’s medical care clinics.

Aligned with our Foundation’s unique approach, the experiences of the women will not only be measured and captured for best practices. They will also be told in a manner designed to share. Suzanne Braun Levine, one of the leading writers on women’s rights today, will document the ongoing work, so participants will have a voice that extends far beyond the pages of an academic journal article

The end result? The empowerment of women to expect the same standard of healthcare received by us all. And the knowledge to finally deliver it.

If you are a women with CP, over the age of 18 and would like to participate in this study please leave your details below and a member of the research team will contact you. Alternatively you can also contact Rachel Byrne at 917-242-2185 or rachel.byrne@yourcpf.org.