WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG January 2023
Purpose-Driven Wellness for 2023
The Governor’s Office on Women’s Policy (OWP) supports public policy that promotes the educational, health, social, and economic well-being of women and girls in Louisiana. A primary function of the office is to serve as a connector between non-profits, state sectors, federal agencies, educational institutions, legislators, and concerned citizens. The office provides expertise, education, and research to inform policy, programs, and community engagement efforts that will further the status of Louisiana women. In addition, OWP convenes the Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission and the Domestic Violence Prevention Commission.
As we sprint into January 2023, various new policies and recommended practices will contribute to the health and wellness of all women in our great state.
- Act 199 and Act 167 contribute to the most significant investment in Early Childhood Care and Education and will provide women and families with better access to education and prosperity.
- Act 529 will include “skin color, facial characteristics, hair texture, natural hairstyles, and protective hairstyles” as traits protected against discrimination. As a result, all citizens will have more equitable economic advancement and sustainability opportunities.
- Act 676 will strengthen strategies for women’s health and wellness across the state within the Louisiana Department of Health.
- Act 188 will improve maternal mental health screenings and resource connections for women during the perinatal period.
The New Year is a great time to start a plan or update an existing one with annual goals for each portion of life. Focus areas may include physical/mental health, economic security, and social well-being. OWP hosted several stakeholder gatherings to learn from and advise citizens through subject matter experts in these areas. When creating your plan, remember that each area of life is connected and that balance is needed to succeed and maintain wellness.
Goals for the year may include prioritizing time for:
Physical Health: (annual screenings, self-care, physical exercise)
Social Health: (coffee hours, therapy, faith activities, volunteering, entertainment)
Education: (new course, Book, travel, museums, podcast)
Economic Security: (savings account, investments, budgeting)
National Women’s Health Awareness Reminders for January.
Scheduling annual wellness screenings early in the year will set you up for success as schedules become busy. Annual screenings for women are critically important to assess any new underlying health risks and to monitor any previously existing conditions. If you have a family history or any new high-risk factors for developing specific chronic diseases, it is most important to screen early and consult your healthcare provider. Typical conditions may include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or alcohol and smoking-related illnesses. An annual visit to your primary care physician or specialist will provide education and preparation for the year.
Reproductive Health: Are you between the ages of 21-65? Your cervical health is essential. January is Cervical Cancer awareness month. According to (cdc.gov) the cervix connects the birth canal to the upper part of the uterus. Anyone with a cervix is at risk for cervical cancer, although it often occurs in persons over 30. Routine screening can help prevent cervical cancer and improve outcomes when detected early. In Louisiana, over 200 cases of cervical cancer are reported each year. The survival rate is over half (62.4%) for all subjects.
Pregnancy Health: Are you or someone you know pregnant? January is national birth defects awareness month. Birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any portion of the body (cdc.gov). All women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin with folic acid to help prevent birth defects—your health before and during pregnancy matters. In addition, schedule a visit with your doctor to screen and monitor any underlying health conditions that could impact pregnancy.
Learn more and partner with the Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy by visiting gov.louisiana.gov/page/womens-policy or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Renee Antoine is a public health policy advocate and national maternal-child health consultant. She has served in various positions advocating for women, children, and families across the state of Louisiana and nationally. She was appointed Executive Director for the Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy in 2022. She works collaboratively with the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Louisiana Women’s Foundation. Her recent accolades include serving as State Director for Maternal Child Health and Government Affairs for March of Dimes. Renee is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University. Her graduate research continued to the University of Iowa in epigenetics and culminated at the University of Virginia in Developmental Psychology, where she published studies on executive function and cognition.