Recommendations for Preventive Services to Women and Girls

Recommendations to IOM on Prevention Services for Women CPHAN and EQUAL 

The California Public Health Association-North[1] and EQUAL Health Network[2], transmitted the following recommendations to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women for its consideration.  The recommendations strongly support preventive services that are necessary for women’s health and well-being and should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines for preventive services for women. These services address gaps that exist in recommended preventive services for USPSTF Grade A and B preventive services guidelines for women and in Bright Futures and USPSTF Grade A and B guidelines for adolescents. We highlight specific services and screenings that should supplement currently recommended preventive services for women. 

Recommendations for Preventive Services to Women and Girls

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations fail to address any preventive reproductive health services for women, and critical gender‐specific preventive services that promote wellness, well‐being and healthy outcomes for women. We ask the Institute of Medicine Study Committee to include the following on its list of recommended preventive services for women:

1. Provide comprehensive family planning, preconception and interconception services.

a. The comprehensive range of family planning services (clinical assessment, education and counseling, method provision), prescriptions and devices are essential to health and reproductive health.

b. Preconception and interconception care are needed preventive services to ensure women are healthy when they become pregnant.

2. Provide comprehensive prenatal and post‐partum care to pregnant and parenting women.

a. Prenatal care services for all pregnant and postpartum women include case management, health education, nutrition and psychosocial risk assessments and referrals.

b. Integrate clinical activities from basic through subspecialty services as supported by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

3. Provide a comprehensive annual well‐woman visit.

a. A well‐woman visit provides preventive care and to manage gender‐based complex health needs. This would include sensitive and comprehensive preventive health counseling.

4. Routinely screen for intimate partner violence and conduct periodic assessments about violence.

a. Include an assessment of intimate partner violence (IPV), teen dating violence, reproductive coercion, IPV during pregnancy, sexual violence.

b. Screen for depression, substance abuse, and chronic illnesses.

5. Provide optimum nutrition screening and counseling along with support of physical activity.

a. Follow the Healthy People 2020: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives13 for healthy eating and physical activity for women and adolescents

6. Routinely screen and treat eating disorders.

a. Include both nutrition counseling and behavioral health treatment to address eating disorders.

7. Promote a comprehensive range of breastfeeding and support services

a. Provide breastfeeding promotion, education and counseling services to women, by qualified individuals based on the level of intervention required, including information about breastfeeding related durable medical equipment, supplies and banked human milk.

b. Follow The Healthy People 2020: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for increasing breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration rates.

Adapted from: Written testimony submitted to the Institute of Medicine Study Committee on preventive services for women. Sacramento: The Office of Women’s Health, Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services (2011).

The California Public Health Association-North (CPHA-N) represents the diverse public health work force, community needs, and interests in Northern and Central California, provides leadership in public health in California, and initiates and supports action to meet needs or remedy problems including education and legislation. It provides opportunities for persons actively engaged or interested in the broad field of public health to share knowledge and experiences in order to achieve the primary goal of protecting and promoting public, environmental and personal health.

** EQUAL Health Network brings together partners from public health, women’s health and the public to advocate for Equitable, Quality, Universal, Affordable – EQUAL – health care. EQUAL is a project of the Center for Policy Analysis, an independent 501c3 organization working for a healthier world.

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