U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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HRSA Programs Related to Women’s Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is the Federal agency responsible for providing access to high-quality, culturally competent health care for uninsured, underserved, and special needs populations. A systems approach is at the core of HRSA’s efforts to promote access to health care. Systems of care provide integrated and coordinated community based services, including primary and preventive care, and involve the consumer in health care decision-making.

HRSA’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH) addresses women’s health issues across the lifespan. The Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative (BFWHW) provides materials on topics such as physical activity and healthy eating, emotional wellness, and maternal wellness. Spanish versions of all materials will be completed in 2010. BFWHW tools, data books, and reports can be found on the OWH Web site at www.hrsa.gov/womenshealth.

The HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) provides resources and services for women living with HIV/AIDS through the Ryan White Program, specifically Part D, which addresses the needs of women, infants, children, youth, and their families. As of the end of 2009, HAB supported systems of care for women living with HIV/AIDS through 98 Part D grantees. In 2009, HAB also funded a new Special Project of National Significance under Part F of the Ryan White Program, entitled Enhancing Access to and Retention in Quality HIV/AIDS Care for Women of Color. Grantees will develop and test innovative, gender-specific strategies to keep affected women in continuous care.

The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) funds a national network of over 1,080 grantees through the Health Center Program. In 2008, BPHC-funded health centers offered primary health services to over 6.5 million uninsured Americans for a sliding-scale fee. Women comprised 59.2 percent of health center users, over 900,000 of whom were aged 25–29 years.1 Systems of care models are central to BPHC’s work. Many health centers operate within a network which includes several health centers. Some community health center networks provide a system of care for the homeless, including primary health care, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and oral health care. Public housing primary care programs are located in or near public housing developments and provide comprehensive services to residents. Community health centers often provide translation services, transportation, and patient education programs in order to ensure access and continuity of care.

The Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) works to address the shortage of health professionals and clinicians, especially in underserved rural and urban areas. Programs such as the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Payment Program; the Nurse Education, Practice, and Retention Program; the Health Careers Opportunity Program; and various scholarship programs are designed to promote the recruitment, placement, and training of diverse health care professionals.

HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) supports the Title V MCH Block Grant. Through a Federal-State partnership, MCHB aims to provide a comprehensive system of perinatal care for women. In addition, the Healthy Start Program works to improve the quality of and access to local systems of care in order to improve health outcomes for pregnant women in the interconceptional period. The Healthy Start system of care includes:

1 Uniform Data System, 2008. Unpublished data.

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