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About the WISEWOMAN Program

About WISEWOMANBackground

The WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) program is located at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, within the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP). WISEWOMAN consists of 21 CDC-funded WISEWOMAN programs in 19 states and 2 tribal organizations. Through these 21 programs, WISEWOMAN provides screening for heart disease and stroke risk factors and lifestyle programs for low-income, uninsured, or under-insured women aged 40–64 years.

The purposes of the WISEWOMAN program are: 1) assuring that cardiovascular screening is provided to women ages 40-64 who are participants in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP); 2) working with community-based organizations to provide evidence-based prevention services to those women in need (through individualized lifestyle coaching and/or agreements with organizations such as the YMCA, Weight Watchers, and those that provide Diabetes Primary Prevention Programs); 3) improving the management and control of hypertension by integrating innovative health system-based approaches and strengthening community-clinical linkages (such as team-based care, self-measured blood pressure monitoring, and pharmacy medication management programs); and 4) gathering and reporting program related evaluation data, including impact measures.

The WISEWOMAN program focuses on reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors among high-risk women. Addressing risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, inactivity, diabetes, and smoking greatly reduces a woman’s risk of CVD-related illness and death.

CDC Program Activity

CDC's state-based National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers an established framework that provides the opportunity to target other chronic diseases among women, including heart disease, the leading cause of death among women. Women determined eligible by NBCCEDP may also participate in WISEWOMAN. Although more than half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke occur in women, heart disease in women is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Addressing risk factors such as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, and smoking greatly reduces a woman's risk of cardiovascular disease-related illness and death.

Why is WISEWOMAN Important?

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. In 2013, 321,441 women died from the disease.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a "man's disease," around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
  • The lifetime risk for all CVD in those free of known disease at 45 years of age is almost 1 in 2 for women.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and whites. For Asian American women, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  • Almost two-thirds of the women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Source: Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

WISEWOMAN Enhances Hypertension Control

  • Colorado is examining the use of clinical systems of care that have proven successful in blood pressure control, and expanding successful systems for tracking clients with uncontrolled hypertension, and ensuring staff are trained appropriately.
  • Vermont is identifying uncontrolled high blood pressure and referring individuals to community health teams for support with blood pressure monitoring. Vermont is developing communication systems between the lifestyle program coordinators, health coaches, and providers to support the implementation, tracking, and evaluation of self-measured blood pressure monitoring activities. Individuals enrolled in the self-measured blood pressure program can also identify financial barriers to medications and receive needed support.

WISEWOMAN Facilitates Stronger Community-clinical Linkages

  • Michigan is working with screening staff and community navigators to identify women with uncontrolled hypertension and link them to needed services. The community navigators serve as a liaison between the clinic, WISEWOMAN participants, and community resources. Their role is to facilitate and strengthen community-clinical linkages to enhance hypertension control.
  • Pennsylvania is partnering with Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) providers to extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP-ED) to clients, and identifying local grocery store or pharmacy chains in rural areas to link women with local resources for healthy eating and blood pressure monitoring after their initial screening. Community scans are being used to identify local grocery stores and pharmacies in close proximity to program screening clinics for potential partnerships.
  • Utah is partnering with a variety of organizations to ensure clients have access to needed resources such as medications, nutrition programs, and physical activity resources. Utah is identifying gaps in resources and is implementing a community resource tracking system to maintain up-to-date information on available resources.
  • Nebraska is using Community Health Workers (CHWs) to identify and coach eligible women in the community. CHWs refer women with CVD risk to needed medical services and lifestyle programs.