2016 NPWH/Hologic Inspiration in Women’s Health Award Winners

Since 2006, the Inspiration in Women’s Health Award has been bestowed upon winners selected for their dedication, achievements, and contributions to women’s health care and advanced practice nursing. On September 29, at the 19th Annual NPWH Premier Women’s Healthcare Conference, the 2016 Inspiration in Women’s Health Awards were presented to four awardees who have made significant contributions in the areas of education, research, clinical practice, and policy. An expert committee of nurse practitioners selected a winner in each of these four categories. Read more about this year’s awardees below.

Sharon D. Baker, BSN, MN, CWHNP, CMP – Education
Sharon Baker has spent her entire career focused on women’s health. After graduating from Southern Illinois University, she moved to Atlanta to work at Grady Hospital’s labor and delivery unit. While in Atlanta, she earned her masters degree from Emory University in maternal child health and joined the faculty of Medical College of Virginia (MCV) teaching the maternity rotation for undergraduate students. She taught nurse practitioner students at MCV before returning to Georgia to teach maternity nursing at Emory University.

In 1990, she was the first nurse practitioner ever hired in Rome, Georgia. Around this time, she founded a non-profit organization, The Women’s Information Network, Inc. (WIN). The first WIN program focused on a comprehensive presentation of health issues at midlife and menopause. In 1999, the Governor of Georgia appointed Sharon to the Georgia Commission on Women (GCW). She has served as Chair of the Health Committee and been reappointed several times. She works on several committees and writes blog posts on health topics that are the focus of GCW.

Sharon has lectured for many community and state organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and developed and implemented many visionary programs. Sharon’s current project is developing a workshop on end of life issues that will be offered September 27, 2016.

Naomi Jay, RN, NP, PhD – Research
Dr. Naomi Jay developed the role of the nurse practitioner in the field of high-resolution anoscopy, has been a pioneer in anal dysplasia research, and is a leader in the education of providers in high-resolution anoscopy. Her work is innovative and unique. She wrote the seminal paper on transferring colposcopy skills to high-resolution anoscopy.

She currently serves on the boards of the American Society of Cervical Colposcopy and Pathology, Quan Yin Healing Arts, and is the vice president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society. She is the co-director of the ASCCP High Resolution Ansocopy Course, IANS Advanced HRA Course, and the American Society of Colorectal Surgeons HRA Course. The meticulous practice standards developed by Dr. Jay based on her knowledge of cervical colposcopy, are by and large responsible for what are considered the diagnostic standards of HRA today.

Jennifer Kurkowski, MSN, WHNP-BC – Clinical
Jennifer Kurkowski has had a positive impact on so many young females. She specializes in bleeding disorders in young women as well as the health care needs of female patients with lupus. Once a month, she runs a combined clinic with a hematologist where she sees patients with heavy menstrual bleeding and other diagnosed bleeding disorders, such as von Willebrand’s Disease. This clinic is critical in providing the best care possible for these patients as their conditions can be difficult to manage.

Jennifer provides education to patients on topics such as periods and sexual health. She attends a camp once a year for young girls with bleeding disorders, and she is involved in a lupus clinic where she sees girls with a new diagnosis of lupus to discuss contraceptive options and to provide counseling about teratogenic medications and future pregnancy risks. Jennifer has also precepted nurse practitioner students nearly every semester for the past 5 years.

Denise G. Link, PhD, WHNP-BC, CNE, FAAN, FAANP – Policy
Dr. Denise Link has made significant contributions to health care and policy as evidenced by the extensive political and legislative activities she has participated in throughout her career. Dr. Link has been at the forefront of Arizona’s policy issues since 2001. Prior to her relocation to Arizona, she was a leader in the 10 year effort to gain title recognition and full prescriptive authority for NPs and CNS in New Jersey by encouraging her nursing colleagues to speak out to legislators and to the public about the quality, safety, and effectiveness of nursing care. In 2013, as Governmental Affairs Officer, she was the spokesperson for nursing in a coalition led by then Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA) that intensely lobbied for Medicaid expansion in Arizona. A co-chair in the Arizona Action Coalition, she led the formation of the Arizona Coalition for APRN Consensus Model Legislation.

Dr. Link educates politicians and policy makers about the APRN role as a team leader and speaker at Lobby Day and Public Policy Day. She is the chair for the AzNA Public Policy Committee that reviews bills and makes recommendations for AzNA’s position. She is a member of the AzNA Political Action Committee (AzNA PAC), attending targeted PAC candidate fundraisers and conducting candidate interviews during the endorsement process.

Dr. Link is an infectious and tremendous leader in the political arena and inspires everyone around her to become more active in women’s health policy issues.


Do you know an NP who goes above and beyond in the classroom, in conducting research, in clinical practice, or in their advocacy efforts? If you do, consider nominating them for the 2017 Inspiration in Women’s Health Awards. Nomination information coming in early 2017. Please check www.npwh.org for details. 

Women’s Equality Day 2016

On August 26th, we celebrated Women’s Equality Day to commemorate the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day reminds us of this important milestone in our history and how far we have come since then, as well as how far we have yet to go until women have true equality.

We know that women and men often present different symptoms for the same diseases and react differently to certain drugs, medical devices, and treatments. However, women consistently suffer when their bodies respond differently than men’s. Due to gender disparities in medicine – among research subjects, and in healthcare access and delivery – women remain at risk for misdiagnoses, ineffective treatments and compromised care.

As a leader in women’s healthcare, we work to improve women’s access to primary and specialty healthcare, increase women’s wellness and health outcomes, decrease health disparities affecting women, enhance women’s access to and knowledge of health resources, and protect and promote women’s rights to make choices regarding their health within the context of their personal beliefs.

We can change the inequities in women’s healthcare, by making our voices heard and encouraging others to join the conversation. Take a look at our social media pages to see how we made our voices heard regarding women’s health equity and Women’s Equality Day: NPWH Facebook page and NPWH Twitter account.

April is STI Awareness Month

According to the CDC, there are 20 million new STI cases in the U.S. every year. We know, as dedicated health care providers, you are working hard every day to turn 20 million new cases each year into 0 new cases by helping your patients work through their sexual health questions to make informed decisions, and by serving as a resource for STI prevention and treatment information. To support your efforts we have compiled a list of materials, educational activities, and office tools related to STI prevention, screening, and treatment.

NPWH Educational Activities

Office Tools

Additional Materials/Resources from NPWH and our partners

For additional information and resources, please visit www.npwh.org.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Over the last 30 years, cervical cancer deaths have been reduced by more than 50%. Much of this success can be attributed to increased cervical cancer screening, the Pap test, and a better understanding of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and how it contributes to cervical cancer. Although we have much to be thankful for and proud of in our success in preventing cervical cancer, there are still 4,000 women who die every year from the disease.

Continued screening and education about cervical cancer are the keys to success in making sure zero women die of cervical cancer each year. But the screening guidelines can be confusing, especially when they change drastically or are not perfectly clear. How do you know what to tell your patients or which course of action is best for each age group?

NPWH has a number of resources geared toward providing clarity on cervical cancer screening guidelines and recommendations, as well as, helpful professional education resources, articles, and a cervical cancer screening toolkit.

Professional Education:

 Informational Resources: 
Toolkit:

Together we can end cervical cancer forever!

Happy New Year

Last year was such an exciting year for us. The 18th Annual NPWH Premier Women’s Healthcare Conference in Salt Lake City, UT was an enormous success. In addition to our annual conference, we hosted our 2nd Annual Women’s Sexual Health Course for NPs in Orlando, FL, which was so popular that we had to close registration early. We also developed numerous cutting edge CE activities, including journal articles, newsletter series, and webinars.

In 2015, we updated the Well Woman Visit Mobile App to include cardiovascular health recommendations and the latest CDC STD guidelines. The launch of our new continuing education portal and revamped website have made it easier to take courses and access NPWH resources. We worked with Healthy Women to develop a cervical cancer screening toolkit, which you can pre-order now. NPWH teamed up with Bedsider to deliver grants to 6 clinical sites to help improve contraceptive use and understanding in their practice. The Bedsider projects will conclude in 2016.

Additionally, a number of the NPWH Board members were recognized as outstanding WHNP professors. NPWH’s CEO, Gay Johnson, published an article in the Nurse Practitioner Perspectives journal on the attitudes and sentiments of patients and providers toward cervical cancer screening. Susan Rawlins (Director of Education) and Susan Kendig (Director of Policy) were interviewed about the women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) specialty for an article in Advance Healthcare Network for NPs & PAs.

We hope that 2015 was just as positive and productive for you as it was for us. We are looking forward to what 2016 has in store.

Thank you for your continued support of NPWH and the future of women’s health care.

NPWH Attends the HHS Provider Roundtable Meeting

On December 16, NPWH participated in the monthly Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Provider Roundtable. Dr. Debra Houry, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, spoke about the draft CDC Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. The guidelines provide suggested direction on a number of topics, including discussing risks and benefits with patients, nonpharmacological therapies, and duration of treatment. The draft guidelines are posted on the federal register and open for public comment from Dec. 14, 2015-Jan. 13, 2016. The CDC is looking for feedback and comments from providers of special populations (e.g. pregnant patients). We encourage to take a look at the draft guidelines and provide comments/feedback. The HHS Pharmaceutical Forum and the open enrollment deadline extension were also discussed during the meeting.

Spending Bill: No Major Changes to Women’s Health Programs or Policies

On December 15, Congress released a long awaited budget deal which will fund the government through FY16. Women’s groups expected the deal to contain policy riders which would be seriously harmful to the health of women and their families. Surprisingly, the bill does not contain harmful policy riders and maintains current funding levels for important preventative women’s health programs, including the PALS Act. Read the statement from NPWH and other women’s health care organizations regarding our support and applause for Congress’ protection of women’s access to mammograms.

Read more about the spending bill here.

NPWH at the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics Stakeholder Meeting

On Thursday, December 3, NPWH along with 15 stakeholders attended the meeting, including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society for Women’s Health Research, and Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, American College of Nurse Midwives attended the Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics Stakeholder Meeting.

The meeting focused on the new FDA pregnancy and lactation labeling rule with a history of pregnancy labeling, problems with the old system, processes used to develop new labeling rule, and examples of the requirements of the new labeling rule. The CDC presented on the Treating for Two initiative, the magnitude of medication use in pregnancy, and the objectives of the program. The objectives of Treating for Two include:

  1. Reduce fetal exposure to tetratogenic medications,
  2. Prevent birth defects and other adverse pregnancy outcomes,
  3. Improve women’s health by informing safe and effective treatment of conditions during pregnancy and the reproductive years
  4. Increase confidence in using medications during pregnancy that are not associated with adverse outcomes

Learn more about the Treating for Two initiative here.

NPWH Attends Capitol Hill Briefing on the Health of Women Veterans

On Tuesday, November 17, NPWH attended a Women’s Policy, Inc. briefing, “Returning Home: Health Challenges Facing Women Veterans Following Deployment”. The speakers included an NPWH 2015 Conference speaker, Patricia Hayes, PhD, Chief Consultant for Women’s Health Services in the Office of Patient Care Services for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Shurhonda Love, a veteran and the Assistant National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans; and Lauren Augustine, a veteran and Legislative Associate for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

The briefing highlighted the progress the VA has made in creating additional services for women veterans. It also addressed the work that still needs to be done to employ more women’s health focused providers who will provide gender sensitive care to veterans for their basic as well as complex health needs. The “I’m One. I am a Proud Veteran” campaign was also discussed. The campaign aims to give women veterans the opportunity to stand up and be recognized for their service.

If you work with or know women veterans please send them this link and encourage them to join this important campaign:
http://www.womenshealth.va.gov/WOMENSHEALTH/OutreachMaterials/ImOne/ImAProudVeteran.asp

NPWH Attends FDA Office of Women’s Health — Women’s Health Update Meeting 

The meeting gave women’s health organizations the opportunity to discuss their Women’s Health Priorities for 2016. One of the key points of the meeting was a discussion about the need for women from diverse backgrounds in clinical trials. The FDA is launching an awareness campaign and NIH developed an outreach toolkit for clinical research. The FDA requested feedback from meeting attendees for ideas on how they can collaborate with women’s health organizations, like NPWH, to get more women from diverse backgrounds involved in clinical trials. The evolution of women’s health at the FDA was also addressed.