NYSDOH Highlights National Women's Health Week

May 15, 2024

Per the notice below, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is highlighting National Women's Health Week.


New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Women's Health Week

Department Celebrates Women's Voices, Wellness and Resilience

The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Women's Health Week, observed May 12-18, by promoting initiatives and practices to improve women's health.  This year's theme is "Celebrating Voices, Wellness and Resilience."

"Health is about achieving an optimal state of physical, mental and social well-being," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.  "Women's Health Week is a time to address health issues that impact women and work toward implementing initiatives to enhance women's health.  We are committed to providing quality resources and support to all women in this state, so they lead healthy, empowered, and full lives."

"The New York State Department of Health is proud to work with providers across the state to develop and ensure quality, safe and inclusive services for cis and trans women," Executive Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morne said.  "As we recognize Women's Health Week, let's honor the many people who provide access to support, prevention, treatment and care services for women without stigma and judgment."

Women's Health Week is an opportunity to highlight the health needs of all people who were assigned female at birth, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression, and all people who identify as women.  Transgender men and those who identify as non-binary who were assigned female at birth may still be at risk of health complications like cervical cancer or breast cancer.  Transgender women need access to affirming health care services that meet their needs.  As these communities may not be aware of these potential health risks or may have a mistrust of traditional health care providers, in 2023, the Department implemented a pilot Transgender Clinical Scholars Training Program to recruit and train health professionals to deliver transgender primary care and other services to members of the transgender community.  The Department has also highlighted the various health needs of transgender and non-binary New Yorkers.

The State Department of Health has advanced comprehensive policies and programs that support the health and autonomy of women in New York State.  This year, Commissioner McDonald signed a standing order for contraception, allowing individuals to obtain hormonal contraception without first visiting a doctor.  This builds upon the Department's commitment to protect people who are of reproductive age following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  The Department is committed to addressing systemic inequities and racism in health care, creating safer birth experiences for all New Yorkers, maintaining access to reproductive health services, and providing resources to women and their families.

As of March 1, 2024, New York State Medicaid covers doula services for pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people.  Doulas support pregnant and postpartum people to improve health outcomes of the populations served.  Doulas provide physical, emotional, educational, and non-medical support for pregnant and postpartum people before, during, and after childbirth or end of pregnancy.  To support access to services, the Department maintains a directory of doulas enrolled to provide covered services to Medicaid members.  The Doula Expansion Grant Program will allow the Department to award $250,000 to community-based organizations for the recruitment, training, certification, support, and/or mentoring of community-based doulas.

New York Medicaid and Child Health Plus (CHPlus) extended the duration of postpartum health coverage from 60 days to a full year following pregnancy.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the benefit extension, allowing New York State to provide pregnant enrollees with 12 months of postpartum coverage, regardless of immigration status or how the pregnancy ends.

The New York State Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides breastfeeding support, nutrition education, referrals to other services, and nutritious foods to over 430,000 women, infants, and children each month.  The Department recently added Spanish as a language option for "Wanda," its virtual assistant that helps people learn about and connect with the program.

The Department continues to work to prevent and control cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, asthma, cancer, and related risk factors for these diseases, which are commonly cited as causes of disability and death for women, both nationally and in New York State.  The Department's AIDS Institute's Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention Women's Services Initiative and Communities of Color Initiative support programs that provide a comprehensive range of HIV/STI/HCV prevention interventions and related services for women and young women of color through the implementation of proven high impact prevention strategies and innovative interventions.

The Department funds several grantees to offer a Post-Treatment Support Services for Breast Cancer Survivors program.  This program consists of support groups and one-to-one peer mentoring to breast cancer survivors who are transitioning from active treatment to post-treatment care, with an added focus of supporting survivors who are Black to help address disparities in breast cancer outcomes.  The New York State Cancer Services Program offers free breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening, diagnostic testing, and referral to treatment to eligible uninsured and underinsured people, including women.

The Women's Health information page can be found here.  Women's Health Issues can be found here.  The New York State Department of Health Cancer Community Programs List can be found here.