The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supports a wide range of programs that increase and promote access to health care for vulnerable groups. HRSA’s five Bureaus—the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Bureau of Health Professions, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Bureau of Primary Health Care, and Healthcare Systems Bureau—as well as the Office of Rural Health Policy, all support programs that address the specific needs of women. Highlighted below are some core programs representing a few ways that HRSA serves women across the lifespan. The Nation’s network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) provide low-cost primary health care services to women, men, and children who are uninsured or underinsured, or who lack access to private-sector providers. Of the 12.4 million people served by FQHCs in 2003, 7.3 million, or 59 percent, were female. All Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act programs serve women. In 2003, 352,334 (31.4 percent) of the 1,121,032 clients served by CARE Act providers were females. This includes both HIV-infected and -affected clients. The CARE Act’s Title IV is the cornerstone of the Act’s response to HIV/AIDS among underserved women, infants, children and youth. Comprehensive care for pregnant women has been shown to be equally critical in reducing perinatal transmission rates, which at some Title IV sites is zero percent. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs funded under Title II of the CARE Act, provide HIV-related prescription drugs to people with HIV/AIDS who have limited or no prescription drug coverage. The programs serve approximately 136,000 clients each year. In June 2003, the programs served a total of 85,825 clients, 21 percent of whom were women.1

The Bureau of Health Professions’ Division of Health Careers Diversity and Development is committed to developing culturally competent health professionals by ensuring grantees have implemented policies, practices, and initiatives which demonstrate their commitment to diverse populations in need. The Division of Medicine and Dentistry supports cultural competency training through grants and contracts, such as Cultural Competency in Medical Education: A Guidebook for Schools, developed under a contract with the American Medical Student Association Foundation. The mission of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program is to assure the health of all mothers and children, including children with special health care needs. All programs work to reduce infant mortality and incidence of handicapping conditions among children; increase the number of appropriately immunized children; increase the number of children in low-income households who receive assessments and follow-up services; and provide and ensure access to comprehensive perinatal care for women. The development of comprehensive, family-centered, community-based, culturally competent, coordinated systems of care for children with special health care needs is also part of the Block Grant Program.

Graph: Infants Born to Women Receiving Prenatal Care Beginning in the First Trimester by States[d]

1Davis MD, Aldridge C, Penner M, Kates J, Chou L, Kubert D. National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report, May 2004.