Addressing women’s health disparities: A call for equity this Women’s History Month

Portrait of grandmother and granddaughter hugging

As we celebrate Women's History Month, it's crucial to highlight the persisting disparities faced by women in the healthcare sector. Despite medical advancements, women continue to encounter unique challenges, particularly in preventative healthcare measures. It’s important to address the health disparities experienced by women, develop strategies for addressing these challenges, and build a future of equitable healthcare.

Disparities in healthcare measures for women

  1. Hypertension management: Studies indicate that women encounter higher rates of hypertension and are more susceptible to developing high blood pressure at a younger age than men. Disparities in blood pressure control among women underscore the need for tailored interventions to ensure equitable healthcare outcomes.
  2. Alzheimer's disease: Approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, with two-thirds being women. The disproportionate prevalence highlights the need for increased research and tailored interventions for women facing this debilitating condition.
  3. Bone health: Women constitute 80% of Americans with osteoporosis, experiencing bone loss earlier than men. Recognizing and addressing the gender-specific aspects of bone health is crucial in preventative care.
  4. Maternal health: Women experience challenges such as limited access to prenatal care, higher rates of maternal mortality, and postpartum complications.
  5. Menopause and beyond: A significant number of women with menopausal symptoms go undiagnosed, and conditions like lupus and uterine health concerns lack comprehensive understanding and effective treatment options.


Strategies for healthcare leaders to address disparities

  1. Promoting inclusivity in research: Healthcare leaders can actively support and participate in research initiatives that focus on women's health, ensuring that studies are inclusive and representative of diverse populations. This will contribute to a more generalized understanding of female health needs and form better preventive strategies.
  2. Community outreach and education: Launch targeted community outreach programs that emphasize the importance of preventive healthcare for women. Provide educational resources that address common misconceptions, emphasize the benefits of regular check-ups, and promote awareness about available preventive services.
  3. Telehealth solutions: Implement and advocate for telehealth solutions to overcome barriers like transportation, childcare, and time constraints. Telehealth can make preventive healthcare more accessible to women, allowing them to consult healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes.
  4. Culturally competent care: Healthcare leaders should prioritize culturally competent care that recognizes and respects the diversity of women's experiences. This includes understanding cultural nuances, language preferences, and tailoring preventive healthcare approaches to individual needs.
  5. Remote Monitoring Programs: Remote Monitoring Programs (RPM) have proven to be particularly beneficial for women facing health disparities; these programs provide comprehensive support for effective management of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and COPD in the comfort of one’s home. In Modivcare’s recent study of women enrolled in both a Medicaid plan and our RPM services, 48% of women diagnosed with hypertension who were initially uncontrolled were brought under HEDIS control within six months.
  6. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) services: Health plans and Medicare and Medicaid plans can offer NEMT services to ensure women have access to transportation for medical appointments, screenings, and preventive care, addressing transportation barriers and improving healthcare access for underserved communities.


Looking towards a future of equitable healthcare

As Women's History Month unfolds, it's crucial to confront the enduring disparities in women's healthcare. Whether it's addressing hypertension management or enhancing maternal health, women grapple with distinct challenges that require targeted intervention. Healthcare leaders possess the power to enact change by championing inclusivity in research, embracing telehealth solutions, and advocating for culturally sensitive care. Through a unified dedication to equitable healthcare, we can ensure that women receive the comprehensive care they deserve.



Chronic Condition Case Study: Member Engagement and Hypertension Management

To Address Women's Health Inequity, It Must First Be Measured - NIH

Women’s Health Equity and Inclusion - NIH

Women’s Health Equity Initiative


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