30 Achievements in Women's Health in 30 Years (1984 – 2014)

Woman smiling

Addressing sex differences in health

Not only is a woman’s body obviously different from a man’s, but each cell in a person’s body has a sex. So it is no surprise that diseases, and the medications and medical devices used to treat them, may affect women differently. Yet the prevention, management, and treatment of many health conditions still often follow the one-size-fits-all approach.

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Women smiling

Addressing minority women's health

We’ve worked hard over the past 30 years to improve the health of all Americans. In 1985, HHS released its first-ever national report on the health of minorities – the Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. At the time of this landmark report, 60,000 more deaths occurred each year in minority populations than in the white population. The report’s results prompted HHS to establish the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in 1986.  Over the years, OMH’s campaigns and programs, such as the 2011 National Partnership for Action plan, have helped raise awareness of and worked to overcome health disparities for minorities.

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Two women hugging

Recognizing the needs of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women

Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face health disparities linked to social discrimination and denial of their civil and human rights. As a result of these disparities, HHS set up the first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Issues Coordinating Committee in 2010. The committee developed a set of recommendations, first released in 2011 and updated annually.

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Woman and others working at a call center

Creation of women's health information resources

OWH launched the National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC) in 1998 with support from ACF, AHRQ, AOA, ATSDR, CDC, FDA, CMS, HRSA, IHS, NIH, and SAMHSA. The original function of NWHIC was to provide a gateway to the vast array of federal health information available at a time when the Internet was still a new technology. A key part of the NWHIC was the toll-free call center — an alternative way to reach people who needed women’s health information.

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Healthcare

Affordable Care Act improves women's health

The 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as healthcare reform, is the most important advance in women's health policy since 1965. The law increases the number of American women who can get health insurance, lowers the costs of health care for many women, and improves the quality of the health care women receive.

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