Women's Health Initiatives
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, we are committed to improving the health of underserved women at all stages of their lives. Our women's health initiatives help at-risk women access everything from pregnancy and gynecologic care to screenings for breast and cervical cancers. Learn more about our key programs below.
Avon Breast Collaborative
Due to multiple social and economic factors, low-income and minority women are less likely to get mammograms. They are also more likely to have undetected breast cancer, which leads to high rates of breast cancer mortality. Through the generous support of the Avon Foundation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Erie Family Health Centers have developed a plan to improve breast health for some of Chicago's most vulnerable women.
The Partnership to Reduce Mammography Disparities program employs several strategies to improve mammography completion rates and breast health services for Erie's female patients.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides free and discounted screening and diagnostic mammograms and treatment to all eligible Erie patients, whether they have insurance or not.
A patient tracking system was implemented to:
- mammography referrals
- rate of mammography completion
- rate of abnormal mammography results
- Identify patients requiring follow up treatment and care
- Track completion rate for those requiring follow up care
Streamlining Referral Process
Northwestern Memorial and Erie worked together to provide information about:
- Transportation to Lynn Sage Breast Center
- Navigating Northwestern Memorial's campus
- Processes for accessing additional diagnostic services if needed
Erie employs community health workers who live within the communities and assist residents with:
- Finding health resources
- Learning about their health conditions
- Seeking medical care
- Education - We collaborated with Erie to develop a multimedia educational program in both Spanish and English to address educational, attitudinal and motivational barriers to receiving mammograms.
Prentice Ambulatory Clinic (PAC)
Northwestern Memorial provides care to low-income women at the Prentice Ambulatory Care (PAC) clinic, which is located at Northwestern Memorial. That care includes:
- Gynecological, prenatal and postpartum care
- Blood work
- Fetal testing
- Patient education
- Counseling services
The PAC clinic, which is modeled after a standard obstetrics/gynecology physician practice, emphasizes continuity of care.
- PAC patients who need special attention for high-risk pregnancy or diabetes receive specialty care at the same location
- Patients with HIV receive specialized care and counseling through the comprehensive women's and perinatal HIV program, which provides multidisciplinary care to HIV-positive women at every treatment stage
- Since the program launched in 1999, 100 percent of the infants born to mothers in the program have been HIV-free. Annually, the PAC clinic provides more than 6,000 patient visits, and in fiscal year 2008, more than 500 babies were delivered by PAC patients