Academic journal article Creative Nursing

The West Virginia WISEWOMAN Program

Academic journal article Creative Nursing

The West Virginia WISEWOMAN Program

Article excerpt

This article describes moving The Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) Program from research to practice in a population of low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women in West Virginia (WV) between the ages of 40 and 64 years. Cardiovascular disease risk factors were evident using screening and health history data from women in all stages of change as well as in different phases of the program. An indicator of program success was women's increased activities to improve their cardiovascular health. Women using an interactive Web program, coupled with appropriately delivered health information, can and do make behavior changes. As the WV WISEWOMAN Program moved from research to practice, clinician training and changes to policies and procedures were needed. Clinicians became skilled at motivational interviewing and targeting information to connect women to community resources for ongoing support. The program continues to help clinicians alert women to cardiovascular risks and guide them to take responsibility for their health. Partnerships between women and their providers are the key to successful implementation of healthier lifestyles.

Keywords: cardiovascular (CV) disease; women's health; lifestyle intervention; reduce CV risk factors; population health; Appalachian population

The Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) Program is a federally funded program designed to improve the health of a population of low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women be- tween the ages of 40 and 64 years. Population health has been defined as health outcomes and distribution of outcomes within a group of people (Kindig, 2007). The population focus for our program was the geographic area of West Virginia. The intrinsic value of looking at the WISEWOMAN Program from a population health perspective is to examine the program's incorporation of multiple factors that influence health and related outcomes for women at risk for heart disease, a major problem in West Virginia.

THE NATIONAL WISEWOMAN PROGRAM

The WISEWOMAN Program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre- vention (CDC), provides low-income, underinsured, and uninsured women ages 40-64 years with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve their diet and physical activity, quit smoking, and promote other lifestyle behaviors to pre- vent, delay, and control cardiovascular (CV) and other chronic diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2008).

Since 2008, the national WISEWOMAN Program has performed more than 194,000 screens and detected 9,931 cases of high blood pressure; 7,048 cases of high cholesterol; and 3,971 cases of diabetes. Participation in the WISEWOMAN Program has helped women reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and quit smoking (CDC, 2009, 2011, 2013).

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AMONG WEST VIRGINIA WOMEN

According to the American Heart Association (2011), CV disease is the leading cause of death for women older than 25 years of age. It kills nearly twice as many women in the United States as all types of cancer, including breast cancer. Only 13% of women think heart disease is a threat to their health. Lifestyle diseases disproportionately affect women, low-income individuals, seniors, and ethnic and racial minorities. Women in West Virginia (WV) have not only a disproportionate rate and risk of death from heart disease but also a scarcity of resources to help decrease risks.

The need to reduce CV disease for the population of women living in WV was clear. In 2008, the age-adjusted mortality rate of heart disease (CDC, National Cen- ter for Health Statistics, 2013) among women in WV was 193.7 deaths per 100,000 population; the comparable rate in the United States in 2007 was 154.0 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2009, women in WV were significantly more likely than women nationwide to report that they had been told they had a heart attack, angina, or a stroke. …

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