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Events > Women, Policy & the CMWF Survey

Listening to Women’s Voices: Further Findings and Policy Implications from the Commonwealth Fund’s Survey on Women’s Health
June 6, 2001


This briefing presented information from the 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey and discussed policy implications.


Researchers mining data from a women’s health survey found that those who needed health care services the most—women with chronic illnesses, for example—were the least likely to receive care. And while more women are getting Pap smears and mammograms, many physicians still do not counsel their female patients about exercise and smoking. 


Speaker Barbara Gault, PhD showed that poor women were not only more likely to have chronic illnesses, but were also more likely to confront obstacles in receiving health care.


Presenter Karen Donelan, ScD found that caregivers tended to have lower incomes, less education, and were less likely to be full-time employees. Caregivers are more likely to be in poor health themselves, and are “substantially more likely to have symptoms [of] depression” than non-caregivers.


Dr. Karen Scott Collins spoke about the necessity of physician counseling as one of the best techniques of preventive care.  Dr. Collins noted a disturbing trend—the more sensitive the subject, the less likely the doctor is to discuss it with the patient. Furthermore, race and ethnicity affected the type of counseling a woman received. African-American and Hispanic women were more likely than white women to be counseled on STDS, alcohol or drug use, and domestic violence and Asian women received less counseling in general.


Speakers: Barbara Gault, PhD, Director of Research at the Institute for Women’s Policy; Karen Donelan, ScD, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health

Karen Scott Collins, MD, MPH, Vice President, The Commonwealth Fund

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