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Empowering women 40 and over to take action for their health: Lessons learned from an educational intervention

Eve Mitchell, MPH, Ana Núñez, MD, Candace Robertson, MPH, and Lucia Beck Weiss, MS. Women's Health Education Program, Drexel University College of Medicine, 2900 Queen Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19129, 215-991-8450, ecm32@drexel.edu

Many women are unaware of the changes associated with menopause except for vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes. Additionally, women lack sufficient information about modifiable pertinent health risks as well as effective strategies to advocate for their own health needs. Our project aim was to assess women's health beliefs, knowledge and awareness of menopausal health risks. Methods: Two series of focus groups were conducted with peri-and post-menopausal women (n=51). In an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of a Menopause Education Tool (MET), participants discussed health beliefs, attitudes about health care, and communication with health care providers. A revised MET was then piloted in 2 clinical offices. Results: 40% of focus group participants responded that the program changed how often they planned to see their PCP and many of the women responded that the brochure facilitated their understanding of 1) health risks; 2) facts that women need to know but have not thought about yet; 3) the importance of modifying risky behaviors and lifestyle. Of the women who participated in the piloting in clinical offices (n=51), 32.4% of responders were unaware of health risks associated with menopause. Overall, 82.4% of responders stated that the brochure would help them prepare for a doctor’s visit. Lastly, 91.4% of responders stated that the brochure helped them understand health conditions for which they may be at greater risk. Conclusions: The Menopause Education Tool (MET) program greatly impacted women's perceptions of health risk as well as raised important questions for healthcare providers.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Menopause, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Midlife Health and Wellness

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA