In Touch
A Publication of the
Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

Volume 6, Number 4, December1998

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Current Events

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Awardss & Prizes

Press Releases







Featured Articles:
Expanding the Circle: 1998 Annual Report
Women's Health Issues Welcomes New Readers
On the Agenda
Board Changes for 1999
Fourth Annual Leadership Award
Managed Care Summits Set
Staff News

Expanding the Circle: 1998 Annual Report

We intensified our efforts this year to further the mission of the Jacobs Institute to study women's health care issues, facilitate informed dialogue, foster awareness, and disseminate information. We drew attention to important information about current women's health concerns through seminars, events, and publications. We brought together voices representing many points of view to address complex and controversial topics in women's health. In the years to come, we will strive to send the message even further, to widen the circle of communication, to deepen the understanding of women's health issues.

Tackling Managed Care Concerns

We continued to foster discussion about managed care as we completed the seminar series "Women's Health and Managed Care: Defining Issues and Monitoring Trends." In the final three seminars of eight such events held in Washington, DC, over two years, physicians, researchers, managed care administrators, public health officials, and others addressed the issues of Medicaid, treatment of chronic health conditions, and quality assessment in the context of managed care. The series brought forth a wealth of research and incited intense discussion of issues surrounding managed care. It was made possible by support from The Commonwealth Fund, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, and the Lilly Center for Women's Health (Eli Lilly & Company).

Next year, we will ensure that the findings from the managed care series are translated into practice by convening meetings with health plan medical directors and with health care purchasers to deliver the resulting recommendations and develop strategies for implementing them in health care plans. Further, to ensure that information is available, we will publish all of the Insights briefing papers that accompanied each of the seminars in a supplement to Women's Health Issues in early 1999.

Understanding Current Technology

With our ongoing breakfast seminar series, we continued to provide up-to-date information and expert opinion on new research and technology as it applies to women's health. Our March breakfast seminar featured genetic counseling specialist Karen Johnson, who focused on the status of genetic testing, its applications, and the challenges it presents to health providers and advocates. In June, Preston C. Sacks, MD, addressed selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) as a potential alternative to estrogen or hormone replacement therapy and as therapy for breast cancer. In December, Jacqueline Horton, editor of State Profiles on Women's Health, Molly Stauffer of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Joan Henneberry of the National Governors Association discussed current issues related to women's health at the state level. The series continues in 1999.

Providing Practical Information

Our new publication, State Profiles on Women's Health, provides members valuable state-by-state information on health policy issues of particular relevance to women's health in one convenient resource. Data on each state is presented in a standard chart form, allowing comparisons with other states and with national data. State Profiles on Women's Health is made possible through generous educational grants from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, and Westat. With publications like State Profiles, the Women's Health Data Book, Women's Health Issues, and Insights, we reach not only our members but numerous other organizations and individuals concerned with women's health.

Fostering Research

We continue to foster new research with our annual Jacobs Institute of Women's Health-Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Scholarship Award in Women's Health. In 1998, William G. Swartz earned the $30,000, 12-month grant to assess the impact of work-related physical demands on pregnancy outcomes among active-duty women of childbearing age in the US Army. Past winners include Barbara A. Bartman, MD, MPH, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, whose research found that the proportion of postmenopausal African-American women who receive a prescription for estrogen is significantly lower than that of Caucasian women, raising serious questions about access to health care. Bartman published her findings this year in Women's Health Issues.

The Next Steps

With the aid of a recent grant from The Commonwealth Fund, we'll assess the impact of managed care on obstetrician-gynecologists through a national survey of the Fellows of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on how managed care affects practice patterns. We will also establish an annual conference on women's health issues, beginning in fall 1999. We will work with The Commonwealth Fund to identify conference topics, organize the conferences, and invite leaders in the field of women's health to attend. Proceedings from the annual conferences will be published in Women's Health Issues.

Recognizing Contributions

To recognize the achievements of those involved in women's health care, we presented the second annual Excellence in Women's Health Awards at a luncheon in April at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Actress Lynda Carter emceed the event, as the Institute presented its first-ever Warren H. Pearse Lifetime Achievement Award to Luella Klein, MD, FACOG, the first woman president of ACOG and current director of its Women's Health Issues Division. Sen. James M. Jeffords and U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, received the 1998 Excellence awards for their nationwide efforts to improve health care for women.

Widening the Circle

The Jacobs Institute welcomed to the Board of Governors this year Carol Weisman, University of Michigan professor, author, and women's health advocate. We appreciate the efforts of our Board members and their deep commitment to the organization's goals. We will miss outgoing Board members Mary K. Chung, Deborah Dingell, and Connie Ryan, and we thank them for their valuable contributions.

We are also fortunate to receive valuable contributions from over 1,100 members and donors, without whom our work would not be possible, and we thank them as well. The support of our members ensures that we can continue to serve as a forum for dialogue and a resource for information on issues affecting women's health. To renew your membership or to become a member,click here.

Finally, to ensure that our message radiates to a global audience, the Institute this year updated its presence on the World Wide Web. Visit us virtually at for news on events, awards, grants, and publications or links to other health-related organizations. Our web site is one more way we're expanding the circle of communication to reach more people.

Martha Romans, Executive Director
Jacobs Institute of Women's Health
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Women's Health Issues Welcomes New Readers

In 1999, through separate agreements with NASPOG, the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology, and NAPWH, the National Association of Professionals in Women's Health, the Jacobs Institute will broaden its circle of influence even further. Both organizations will become official sponsors of the journal Women's Health Issues, which will allow their members to subscribe directly to the journal as a benefit of membership in these complementary organizations. A multidisciplinary organization, NAPWH offers leadership, resources, and support to women's health professionals. Since its formation in 1971, NASPOG has fostered scholarly and clinical study of the biopsychosocial aspects of ob-gyn medicine.

In addition, through an arrangement with the Council on Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG), ob-gyn residency program directors in the United States and Canada receive complimentary subscriptions to Women's Health Issues, thanks to an educational grant from Pfizer Inc and the efforts of Jacobs Institute Board member Ruth B. Merkatz, PhD, RN, Director/Team Leader for Women's Health at Pfizer. With this new arrangement, we have an opportunity to contribute to the understanding of current and future women's health care providers.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)

On the Agenda

December 11, Women's Health in the States: Current Issues and Trends, Jacobs Institute of Women's Health breakfast seminar with Jacqueline Horton, editor of State Profiles on Women's Health, Molly Stauffer of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Joan Henneberry of the National Governors Association, at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, DC, 8-10 am. For more information, call the Jacobs Institute at 202-863-4990.

December 11-13, Ninth International Nursing Conference on Ending Violence Against Women, at the Austin Marriott at the Capitol in Austin, TX, sponsored by the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International and the Migrant Clinicians Network. For registration information, call Jillian Hopewell at 512-327-2017.

March 13, 1999, The Women's Center's 14th Annual Leadership Conference, at the McLean Hilton in McLean, VA (near Washington, DC); includes featured speaker Steve Case, CEO of America Online, among others. For more information, call Cheryl Minicucci at 703-281-4928.

March 18-21, 1999, Prevention 99: Scientific, Political and Social Priorities for the 21st Century, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Crystal City, VA (near Washington, DC), the annual meeting of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine. For more information, call 202-466-2569, or visit the group's web site at

June 1-2, 1999, third annual National Symposium on Overcoming Barriers to Condom Use, at New York University in New York, NY. Abstracts for presentations will be accepted until December 15, and entries for a poster contest on local condom-related programs will be accepted until April 19. For more information, contact the cosponsor, Pharmacists Planning Service, Inc., at [email protected], or write to PPSI, 101 Lucas Valley Road, Suite 210-E, San Rafael, CA 94903.

June 2-5, 1999, the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Seattle, WA. For more information, call the College's meetings department at 317-637-9200, or visit its web site at

June 25-27, 1999, Finding Our Voice: Shaping a National Agenda, annual meeting of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. For more information, contact Rodney Samaan at 202-289-5400, or visit the organization's web site at

July 17-23, 1999, Annual Meeting of the National Wellness Coalition in Stevens Point, WI. For more information, contact the group at 1-800-243-8694, or visit its web site at

The Women and Epilepsy Initiative, sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation, strives to increase awareness about issues specific to women, such as the relationship of contraception and pregnancy to epilepsy. For a free information packet including both provider and patient materials, call the Foundation at 1-800-332-1000, or visit the group's web site at Providers can order up to 25 copies of materials for the cost of shipping by calling 1-800-213-5821.

The Institute of Medicine has added a two-page update to the 1992 Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation: An Implementation Guide. The update covers current information on recommended weight gain and folate intake during pregnancy, calcium needs during pregnancy and lactation, and contraindications to breastfeeding. The 133-page paperback book is $12.95 plus shipping; to order, call 1-800-624-6242 (or 202-334-3313 in the Washington, DC, area).

STD Advisor is a new monthly newsletter from Flynn Publications with practical information on managing and preventing STDs. Subscriptions are $229. Call 1-800-662-2424 for a free issue or to order.

Strong Women, Inside & Out, a coalition of national organizations convened by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and OWL: The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, offers an information kit about osteoporosis and Medicare coverage of bone mass testing. The information includes a poster, a sample newsletter article, and tips for working with local television stations on disseminating a public service announcement featuring Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore. For a copy of the information kit, call 202-736-1656.

Your Thyroid: Gland Central, a packet of information on thyroid disease to help health care providers educate patients, is available from the American Medical Women's Association. The packet includes a color diagram of the thyroid gland and the organs it influences, question-and-answer sheets on the thyroid, and information on detecting mild thyroid disorder. For more information, visit the group's web site at, or call 212-453-2000.

Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children, from the American Association of University Women, is a follow-up to the AAUW's 1992 report, How Schools Shortchange Girls. For details visit the AAUW's web site at To purchase the new report, call 1-800-225-9998, ext. 487, for more information.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)

Board Changes for 1999

Ezra Davidson Jr, MD, FACOG, past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), joins the Board of Governors in 1999. He is the associate dean of primary care at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, CA. At both Drew and the University of California's Center for Health Science, Dr. Davidson also serves as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

Dr. Davidson's current appointments include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director, the NIH Advisory Committee on Clinical Research, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Roundtable on Health Care, and the California Wellness Foundation Board of Directors. He was cochair of the National Advisory Board for Ethics in Reproduction.

Dr. Davidson earned his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. He has lectured and presented papers around the country and has numerous publications to his credit.

Vicki L. Romero also joins the Board in 1999. Ms. Romero is President and CEO of 2021 Healthcare, a firm that specializes in consulting with healthcare providers in strategic planning, business development, women's health services, and other management issues. Before joining 2021 Healthcare, Ms. Romero was president of the Baton Rouge Market for Columbia Healthcare System of Louisiana. Prior to that, she served as president and CEO of the Women's Health Foundation.

Ms. Romero holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA; she currently resides in Baton Rouge, LA. Among her numerous professional and community activities, she has served on the State Advisory Council to the Louisiana Healthcare Alliance and on the Board of Directors of the National Perinatal Association.

Nicholls State University recently presented Ms. Romero with the 1998 James Powell Outstanding Alumni Award. Among other honors, she received the 1994 Woman of Achievement award from the American Society of Women Accountants. In 1997, the Baton Rouge Business Report named her one of the top 25 women in business.

Ms. Romero has given presentations throughout the country on such topics as improving organizational performance, trends in women's healthcare, healthcare reform, and women in senior management for a wide variety of professional associations and organizations.

The Jacobs Institute extends its gratitude to outgoing Board members Mary K. Chung, Debbie Dingell, and Constance M. Ryan for their dedicated service in furthering the Institute's mission. Ms. Chung, of San Francisco, CA, is President of the National Asian Women's Health Organization. She joined the Jacobs Institute Board in January 1996 and has been active on the Board's Long Range Planning Committee.

Ms. Dingell, of Detroit, MI, and Washington, DC, is President of the General Motors Foundation. Since joining the Board in January 1996, she has served on the Resource Committee, and she co-chaired the 1997 and 1998 Excellence in Women's Health Awards.

Ms. Ryan, of Omaha, NE, is President of Streck Laboratories. She also joined the Board in January 1996 and has served as chair of the Resource Development Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)

Fourth Annual Leadership Award

"Women's Decision Making about Hormone Replacement Therapy" is the topic for this year's Jacobs Institute of Women's Health Leadership Award, a manuscript competition established by Women's Health Issues, the Jacobs Institute's journal. Author of the best submission receives a $1,000 prize. Manuscripts should address patient, physician, or other influences on women's decisions regarding use or non-use of hormone therapy. The deadline for the award is March 31, 1999. For details, call the Jacobs Institute at 202-863-4990.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)

Managed Care Summits Set

The Jacobs Institute has entered into partnerships with the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) and the Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) to convene two summit meetings on women's health and managed care in the spring of 1999, one for managed health care plans and the other for employer-purchasers of health care. Eli Lilly & Company and Merck have signed on as funders for the project, joining The Commonwealth Fund, Cigna Healthcare, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. The summit meetings will bring together representatives from managed care plans and from health care purchasers to synthesize the findings from the Institute's recent symposium series into sets of action items on women's health for health plans and employers.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)

Staff News

Julie Gonen gave presentations outlining the work of the Institute's women's health and managed care project to the National Association of Professionals in Women's Health (NAPWH) in September, to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in October, and to the American Public Health Association (APHA) in November. She has also been invited to contribute a chapter on women's health to a forthcoming textbook on the new healthcare consumerism to be published by McGraw-Hill in 1999.

Martha Romans presented highlights from State Profiles on Women's Health to NAPWH in September and to the Council of State Governments Health Task Force in San Antonio in December. She also contributed a chapter to the second edition of Women's Primary Health Care, Seltzer and Pearse, eds.up_arrow.gif (847 bytes)