U Center of Excellence Program Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Improve Health Care Among Utah Women

U Center of Excellence Program Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Improve Health Care Among Utah Women

Nov 11, 2007 5:00 PM

Program will focus on prevention and health promotion of diabetes

The Utah Women's Health Information Network (UWIN), a program of the University of Utah's Center of Excellence in Women's Health, has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve health care for Utah women.

UWIN will focus first on diabetes, a rising health concern among Utah women. With 50,000 women diagnosed with the disease, and an additional 14,000 undiagnosed, Utah ranks 10th in diabetes death rates among U.S. females. The University of Utah will collaborate with community and public health partners, including the Utah Department of Health, Association for Utah Community Health, and Utah Navajo Health Centers Inc. to create an infrastructure for distributing health information to providers and patients and implement preventive-care programs.

According to Yvette LaCoursiere, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine and principal investigator for UWIN, the project provides a platform to increase education and improve health care. "We are very excited about this project and the opportunity to collaborate with so many great community partners," she said. "The concept of UWIN has the potential to develop a women's health network that could improve care for women throughout the state."

The four major components of the UWIN project include

Improving the availability of health information for health-care providers and patients. Several telehealth and Web-cast seminars as well as the annual Utah Diabetes Conference will feature gender-focused issues in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. A partnership between community clinics and public libraries will improve the reliability and availability of health information to patients via the state's health education network, Utahealthnet.

Evaluating physical activity and nutrition interventions at the community level. Two pilot programs are being implemented in community clinics to improve physical activity and nutrition among patients. The PACE (Patient-centered Assessment and Counseling for Exercise and Nutrition) program will be implemented in six community clinics, while The BodyWorks Pilot is a program aimed at parents of teens to teach healthy nutrition choices.

Improving gestational diabetes tracking and implementing a project to improve outcomes. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death among Utah women, and that number is higher for Native Americans. The Sweet Success project encourages early recruitment into diabetes and pregnancy programs among the Navajo, and My Bright Future: Women's Health and Wellness program is a provider-directed education program that promotes women's physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.

Introducing a statewide Web-based diabetic retinopathy program. A statewide infrastructure will be established to perform retinal screening and a virtual retinal reading center will be developed.

The projects will be implemented in the Salt Lake Valley, Ogden, Bear Lake, Provo, and the Four Corners Region over the next three years.

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Media Contact:

Chantelle Turner, Health Sciences Public Affairs, (801) 581-7387, chantelle.turner@hsc.utah.edu

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