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 the uninsured, underserved, and special needs populations. At the core of HRSA’s efforts is an understanding of social determinants and their influence on health and well-being. According to Healthy People 2020, social determinants reflect a range of personal, social, and economic factors, as well as the environments in which people are born, live, and age.
- HRSA’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH) promotes an integrated approach to women’s health across the lifespan, taking into account social, economic, and environmental contexts through collaborative activities across the agency. Collaborations include the Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative (BFWHW), which offers consumer, provider, and community tools on physical activity and healthy eating, emotional wellness, and maternal wellness, and a cross-agency Violence Prevention Workgroup addressing policy, training, education, and outreach.
- The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) supports access to comprehensive perinatal care to improve the health of women before, during, and after pregnancy through the Title V MCH Block Grant and the Healthy Start Program. MCHB also supports community-based doula services; home visitation and education; well-woman care including mental health care; family planning; and preconception health.
- 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 and youth, and their families. HAB funds two Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) that address women’s health:
- “Enhancing Access to and Retention in Quality HIV/AIDS Care for Women of Color”
- “Enhancing Linkages to HIV Primary Care and Services in Jail Settings.”
- The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) funds the Health Center Program, which provides comprehensive primary health care to low income populations, the uninsured, those with limited English proficiency, migrant and seasonal farm workers, the homeless, and those living in public housing. In 2009, Community Health Centers served nearly 8 million women aged 18 and older, representing 62.9 percent of all adults served.
- The Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) supports the supply, quality, diversity and distribution of health professionals by expanding capacity of education and training opportunities. BHPr administers grants to institutions that support health professions programs. Selected programs that contribute to women’s health include: interdisciplinary programs in public health, programs to strengthen the primary care and geriatric workforce, scholarships for disadvantaged students, loans for health professionals, and the Area Health Education Centers that develop and sustain academic-community partnerships to support health equity initiatives.
- HRSA’s Office of Health Equity (OHE) works to reduce disparities and improve health equity for all communities including special needs of minority and disadvantaged populations. The HRSA-funded Su Familia: National Hispanic Family Health Helpline has become a trusted source for both consumers and health care providers in Hispanic communities throughout the nation. The Helpline works in partnership with local, national, public, and private organizations, such as the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.
- HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) seeks to support and address the needs of rural populations. One such community-level resource is the Rural Health Care Services Outreach program. ORHP also funds Rural Research Centers, several of which focus on the social determinants of health in rural communities. An example of a current research project addressing women’s health-related issues is the “Quality of Women’s Care in Rural Health Clinics: A National Analysis.”