The Wise Woman by Maria Dorfner

Twenty years ago, I developed a series called, “Healthy Living.”  The following information is something I’d alert viewers to because it helps women take steps to prevent disease or catch it early enough to be treated.

I want to make sure uninsured or underinsured women ages 40 to 64 are aware of this terrific program.  After all, if good  programs are out there, but you don’t know about them –they don’t do anyone any good.   Take a look and see if it can help you or a woman you know.  Prevention and early detection are a part of staying healthy.

It’s called, The WISEWOMAN program, which is administered through CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP).  It provides low-income, under-insured or uninsured women with chronic disease risk factor screening, lifestyle intervention, and referral services in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease. The priority age group is women aged 40–64 years.

CDC funds 21 WISEWOMAN programs, which operate on the local level in states and tribal organizations. WISEWOMAN programs provide standard preventive services including blood pressure and cholesterol testing.

WISEWOMAN programs also offer testing for diabetes.

Women are not just tested and referred, but can also take advantage of lifestyle programs that target poor nutrition and physical inactivity, such as healthy cooking classes, walking clubs, or lifestyle counseling. Women who smoke are encouraged to quit and are referred to proactive quit lines or quit-smoking classes. The interventions vary from program to program, but all are designed to promote lasting, healthy lifestyle changes.

WISEWOMAN Program Requirements

To join a WISEWOMAN Program, if offered in your state (Program Locations), you must answer YES to All of the following questions:

  • Are you a woman at least 40 years old and not older than 64 years old?
  • Are you already participating in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP)?
  • Are you either uninsured or underinsured?
    • Uninsured—you do not have health insurance.
    • Underinsured—you have health insurance, but not enough to cover your needs.
  • Are you eligible for Medicare, but are unable to pay the premium (monthly payment) to enroll in Medicare, Part B?

Note: Unfortunately, you cannot join WISEWOMAN if it is not offered in your state.

WISEWOMAN Program Locations

CDC funds 21 WISEWOMAN programs, which operate on the local level in states and tribal organizations.

Women are not just tested and referred, but can also take advantage of lifestyle programs that target poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and smoking, such as healthy cooking classes, fitness competitions, or quit-smoking classes. The interventions may vary from program to program, but all are designed to promote lasting, healthy lifestyle changes.

WISEWOMAN Program Locations

  1. Southcentral Foundation
  2. Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
  3. California Department of Public Health
  4. Connecticut Department of Public Health
  5. Illinois Department of Public Health
  6. Iowa Department of Public Health
  7. Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  8. Michigan Department of Community Health
  9. Minnesota Department of Health
  10. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
  11. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  12. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  13. Oregon Department of Human Services
  14. Pennsylvania Department of Health
  15. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
  16. South Dakota Department of Health
  17. Utah Department of Health
  18. Vermont Department of Health
  19. Virginia Department of Health
  20. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services
  21. Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Note: To join the WISEWOMAN program, you must be enrolled in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) in your state. Although NBCCEDP is available in all 50 states, the WISEWOMAN program is not. The states listed above are the only states that have WISEWOMAN programs. If there is not a WISEWOMAN program in your state, but you are still in need of medical care, visit the HRSA Find a Health CenterExternal Web Site Icon for a list of health centers.

Contact the CDC:

  • CDC/NCCDPHP/DHDSP
    4770 Buford Hwy, NE
    Mail Stop F-72
    Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
  • Call: 1-800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: 1-888-232-6348
    Fax: 770-488–8151
  • cdcinfo@cdc.gov

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