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Health department receives kudos for helping women

August 13, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Health Department has been recognized for its efforts to make health services available to local women.

The department received an award from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health's Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health for serving the highest number of women among 35 West Virginia health departments and primary care providers participating in the WISEWOMAN program.

Through it, women, ages 40 to 64 and with low incomes and limited or no insurance, receive free blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screenings to determine their risk of developing heart disease or diabetes, said Karen McClain, administrator of the Brooke County Health Department.

Health officials also share information about how healthy lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, exercising more and eating healthier, that help to ward off such health problems.

According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease, the source of heart attacks, is the leading cause of death for American women.

The organization reports that nearly twice as many women die from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases than all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

Sandy Rogers, a nurse with the department involved in health promotion and education, said she and others learned of the WISEWOMAN program while attending a conference and were eager to implement it in its first pilot year.

It's the third year for the program to be offered in West Virginia. Established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 20 states, it's known formally as Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation.

In West Virginia it's part of the state's breast and cervical cancer screening program through a collaboration by the state Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia University School of Nursing.

Through the breast and cervical cancer screening program, the health department and others in the state provide free screenings for cervical cancer and referrals for breast cancer to women of various ages.

Pap tests and clinical breast and pelvic exams are available to women, ages 25 to 49, and they and mammograms are available to women, ages 50 to 64.

Because the services are offered free or for a small cost, the patients must meet certain income levels.

For information, call the health department at (304) 737-3665.

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