2018 and Beyond at NPWH

We hope you had a healthy and productive 2018! As the year winds down, I wanted to share some highlights of this past year and major initiatives we’ll be working on in 2019.

We’re Developing New Patient Education Tools

  • We shared the first look at our exciting women-patient focused digital resource,  H.E.R Hub (Health. Education. Resources). It features short videos, easy-to-use handouts, and perspectives from leading WHNP experts on a variety of women’s health conditions, like bacterial vaginosis and STD’s, and general healthy women advice, like to what to expect at a pelvic exam, getting pregnant, and menopause. We have been populating the portal with content all year and are still working to build it out with future funding that will enable us to officially launch in 2019!

We Continue to Provide Leading and Unique Clinical Education Resources

  • Close to 150 of you joined us in Phoenix for our 5th annual Women’s Sexual Health Course for NPs. Save the Date: The 2019 WSHC will be held May 30-June 2, 2019 in Orlando, FL. Keep an eye out for more information and registration opening in February 2019. Read more about the 2018 course here.
  • The 21st Annual Premier Women’s Healthcare Conference was our largest yet, with almost 1,000 people joining us in San Antonio! Click here to read a recap, including details on our Inspirations in Women’s Health Award winners. Save the Date: please plan to join us for next year’s conference in Savannah, GA, October 16-19, 2019.

We’re Growing in Number 

  • Almost 800 new members joined us in 2018! Welcome to NPWH. We encourage you to add your practice to our “Find an NP” database on the NPWH website. Adding your information to the database will not only help your practice grow, it will also help those seeking health care services to find excellent care. We are also always looking for submissions to our new Member Spotlight If you would like to nominate yourself or another member to be featured, please let us know.

We’re Building a (b)Older Women’s Health Coalition so Women Can Be Healthy At Any Age

  • We convened leaders from healthcare, research, government, consumer, and advocacy organizations for our second annual Healthy At Any Age Summit in April. There, we began to catalogue the interconnected web of issues facing aging women and laid the groundwork for the (b)Older Women’s Health Coalition.
  • We met again in November to discuss how the Coalition would work and what topics it would prioritize first. The Coalition, consisting of members from a variety of organizations that touch the health and wellbeing of older women in some way, will work with policymakers, clinicians, researchers, and the general public to advocate for improved policies for women’s health as they age, better research, and strengthened clinical education and resources to treat older women. To read more about the Coalition and its goals, please click here.

We’re Advocating for Smart Policies

  • When the USPSTF issued recommendations that removed co-testing for cervical cancer, we responded with a website and campaign that set the record straight on why co-testing is the best choice for protecting women. We were thrilled that the USPSTF’s final recommendations retained co-testing as the preferred method for cervical cancer screening. Click here to read a statement from NPWH and other women’s health organizations. We will be launching an updated version of our website, testforcervicalcancer.org, in January.
  • Our Director of Policy, Sue Kendig, represents NPWH on a variety of coalitions, including the Council for Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care and the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health. These collaborative efforts target reducing maternal mortality and improving patient safety in all aspects of women’s health care. Sue also represents NPWH on the Advisory panel charged with overseeing the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI).  NPWH is one of four partners and the only nursing organization in this ACOG led initiative, funded by HRSA, charged with identifying the gaps in women’s preventive services not covered by the IOM and USPSTF recommendations. In 2017 – 2018, WPSI issued recommendations regarding postpartum screening for gestational diabetes, and urinary incontinence screening.
  • NPWH, along with ACNM and AWHONN, partnered with the University of Alaska to work on an exciting CDC-funded effort to reach over 30,000 women’s health nurses on preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Susan Rawlins, our Director of Education and Beth Kelsey, our Director of Publications, represents NPWH in this effort and traveled to Atlanta to meet with our fellow partners. Susan is also the NPWH liaison for ACOG’s Committee on Gynecologic Practice.
  • Gay Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, along with a small group of other national organizational leaders, participated in a private meeting with Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA on November 19, 2018. The meeting was to hear Mr. Gottlieb’s priorities and their relationship to the unique needs of women’s health.  We shared with him how vital the office of Women’s Health is in research, policy and outreach.
  • Most recently, Jacki Witt, Immediate Past Board Chair, and Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos, Secretary, represented NPWH at the new ACOG initiative on Maternal Mental Health. The group of provider organizations and industry partners are working together to develop tools to improve maternal mental health.

We appreciate your support this year and look forward to working together again in 2019. Thank you for your continued support of women’s health.

Sincerely,

G Johnson

Gay Johnson, CEO

Alcohol Free Holidays for Baby and Me

Reprinted with permission from Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation, American Nurses Association.

It’s the holiday season. Time for family, friend, and co-worker get-togethers. Time for shopping wrapping, and giving gifts. Time for holiday traditions. Maybe there will be some traveling.  For many people, alcohol is a part of the holidays…a cup of eggnog at the company party, a glass of wine to relax after a long day of shopping, a new year’s toast with a glass of champagne. For some people, alcohol is used to relieve stress and although the holidays are hopefully enjoyable, they can also be stressful.

But wait…what if you are pregnant or could be pregnant? What if a close friend or family member is pregnant? We want to share some very important facts regarding alcohol use and pregnancy that many people, even nurses, may not know. Alcohol is a teratogen with the potential to disrupt fetal development throughout an entire pregnancy. Fetal alcohol exposure can cause a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Disabilities may manifest as developmental delays and impairments affecting attention, learning, memory, self-regulation, and social/adaptive skills. FASDs can be prevented when women abstain from alcohol throughout their entire pregnancy.

The American College of Nurse-MidwivesAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists American Academy of PediatricsAssociation of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal NursesCDC, and National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, among other professional health associations, all agree there is no known safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol use during pregnancy because we cannot predict how any mother/baby pair will react to the teratogen.

So, if you or someone for whom you care are or might be pregnant, here are a few tips to plan for an alcohol-free holiday season.

Stress management 

You just had a somewhat stressful day of shopping. The stores were crowded, you couldn’t find the perfect gift for that special someone, and your feet hurt. Now you are home and want to relax. Don’t reach for the wine glass and bottle of wine. Instead, take a relaxing bath with candles and soft music. Or curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Watch a fun holiday movie – How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, A Rugrats Chanukah, A Rugrats Kwanzaa, A Wonderful Life.  Are your feet still hurting? Get a foot massage.  Revisit last December’s Healthy Nurse/Healthy Nation blog – Overcome Holiday Overwhelm for more tips on stress management during this holiday season.

Holiday socializing 

It’s time for that New Year’s Eve party with special friends. You know that cocktails and champagne are traditionally included in the celebration. How do you ring in the new year? Plan ahead. Share some mocktail (non-alcoholic cocktail) recipes  with the host of the party. Bring a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne with you. Drink your non-alcoholic beverages in wine, cocktail, or champagne glasses. Volunteer to be the designated driver.

Support from others 

Get support from your significant other, friends, and family. You may want to share with them what you know about FASDs. The September 2018 blog September is FASD Awareness Month – Fetal Alcohol What? provides facts and helpful resources. Seek professional help if needed. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, get help. Contact your healthcare provider, a local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local behavioral health treatment facility.

Spread the word 

Together we can make a difference if we all spread the word that FASDs can be prevented by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Have a frank discussion not only with your patients, but also  your daughters, sisters, friends, spouses, nieces, granddaughters– any loved one who is or might be pregnant. Tell them alcohol is a teratogen and there is no known safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol use during pregnancy. Help them have an alcohol-free pregnancy.

This post was written by:

  • Beth Kelsey, EdD, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP, Director of Publications, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
  • Elaine Germano, CNM, DrPH, FACNM, Special Projects Technical Advisor, American College of Nurse-Midwives
  • Marilyn Pierce-Bulger, APRN Owner/Manager, FASDx Services, LLC and Board of Directors member, Alaska Center for FASDs, Anchorage, AK.
  • Susan Rawlins, MS, WHNP-BC, Director of Education, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
  • Catherine Ruhl, MS, CNM, Director, Women’s Health Programs, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

    With the support of the Collaborative for Alcohol Free Pregnancy: Partnering for Practice Change, the University of Alaska Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services.