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IU National Center of Excellence

The IU National Center of Excellence (IU NCoE) in Women's Health is a program of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Center’s goal is to improve the health of Indiana women and their families through education, research, and collaboration with health care partners throughout the state.

How the IU NCoE Impacts Women's Health

Making Healthy Choices is a statewide outreach program reaching rural and underserved teens, women, and families utilizing our Women's Wellness on Wheels (WOW) bus. Basic health screens, nutrition and healthy lifestyle education are provided with the goal of linking women with providers and resources within their own communities. Participants receive follow-up from NCoE health coaches to ensure they are connected and encouraged to take the recommended steps to improve their personal health.

Women of INfluence (WOI) Initiative – is an avenue for influential Indiana women from government, business, health care, education, and faith-based community organizations to come together providing education and empowerment in areas effecting women's health. Our WOI Symposium is held annually in September.

Fostering a Culture of Excellence in Women's Health – is accomplished by promoting "Best Practices" in medical care for women and making sure that providers are aware of these recommendations, encouraging legislation that is beneficial to women's health, and facilitating women's health research at the clinical, interdisciplinary and translational levels.

Leadership Development – Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, an expert in women's health, fosters leadership among physicians, scientists, and in business through these programs:

Negotiating the Divide is an educational forum on the discrepancy in pay between men and women, held annually near Equal Pay Day. Leaders from both medicine and business discuss how to negotiate and become a leader within your field of expertise.

Juleps in July is an event for women physicians and scientist (and those that support them) new to the practice or area to meet and network with other professionals.

R.E.E.P. Success (Rest. Eat Mindfully. Exercise. Plan.) is a healthy lifestyle program for businesses and community organizations to encourage their employees and families to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve performance and empower individuals to be leaders at work, home and in their communities.

Best Practices. The IU National Center of Excellence in Women's Health is positioned to become a thought leader working to answer challenges surrounding the health of the women in the state of Indiana. The IU CoE brings together a network of prominent health care providers, researchers, community leaders, and more to tackle the issues and barriers causing Indiana's women to receive a failing grade in women's health as reported by "Making the Grade for Women's Health".Through collaboration, these stakeholders will bring together innovative ideas to improve the state of women's health in Indiana based upon research and best practice.

Mission and Vision

The mission of the IU National Center of Excellence in Women's Health (IU NCoE) is to improve the health of Indiana women by educating, improving access to care, and empowering women to be advocates for themselves and their families. Our vision is for the health status of Indiana women to be among the best in the country; raising the comprehensive grade of failing to an "A."

History of the Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

In 1997, Indiana University was awarded support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to become a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health. The Centers are located in academic medical centers where they bring together the work of their schools and departments addressing women's health. The CoE at IU subsequently received support to be one of 11 national CoE Ambassadors for Change and to aspire toward the following goals:

  1. Develop and/or strengthen a framework to bring together a comprehensive array of services for women.
  2. Train a cadre of diverse health care providers that include allied health professionals and community health worker.
  3. Promote leadership/career development for diverse women in the health professions, including allied health professions and community health workers, and women/girls in the community.
  4. Enhance public education and outreach activities in women's health with an emphasis on gender-specific and age-appropriate prevention and/or reduction of illness or injuries that appear controllable through increased knowledge that leads to a modification of behavior.
  5. Participate in any national evaluation of the CoE program.
  6. Conduct basic, clinical and/or community-based research in women's health.
  7. Provide advice and guidance to other organizations interested in learning more about the CoE program.

The IU National Center of Excellence in Women's Health has been fortunate to enlist an extensive network of experts in the field of women's health. Advisory committee members represent a wide spectrum of organizations, both private and public, that address women's health issues in the state of Indiana. The IU National CoE in Women's Health has the following advisory committees, with additional areas of interest being explored:

  • Legislative/Action Committee will provide leadership as we seek to influence policy that pertains to women's health, and obtain state funding for essential women's health programs statewide (for example, screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections; smoking cessation; prenatal care and perinatal mortality; prevention of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease).
  • Regional Needs/Advisory Committee will tackle workforce issues and the diverse needs of Indiana's rural and urban women addressing them through a regional perspective lens. This committee will help the Center of Excellence understand the best way to reach specific populations to meet identified needs. This committee will consider strategies for optimizing the women's health training of current primary care providers and strategies to assure a continued pipeline of well-trained practitioners throughout the state. In addition, this group will help identify barriers faced by women in rural parts of the state and find ways to bridge gaps through partnerships with regional public health departments, practices, hospitals, and Area Health Education Centers, as well as outreach from urban centers including the University.
  • Sustainability Committee will help identify and shepherd potential funding opportunities for the IU National Center of Excellence in Women's Health through grants, gifts, volunteers, private individuals and corporations. The Center is looking to expand their reach in specific areas in the future. While there are not official advisory committees yet developed, a framework with interested individuals has been defined. These areas are:
    • Women Veterans: Women comprise 14% of our military and a significant number are returning from duty as survivors of physical or sexual trauma with post-traumatic stress disorder. It will be critical to collaborate with VA women's health leaders in Indiana to identify gaps between current and needed programs and services statewide.
    • Volunteers: As our programs grow, the need for volunteers will also grow. This group will help us identify and secure volunteers who can help in our clinics, in community based events, or other capacities as identified. If you would like to be a part of making a difference in women's health in Indiana, join any of these up and coming committees or an existing committee by contacting Teri Duell for more information.

Indiana University School of Medicine
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
550 University Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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