The Orange County Women’s Health Project is an exciting nonprofit collaborative launched in 2011 to address the lack of coordination around women’s health issues in Orange County, California.
Nearly half of Orange County’s three million residents are women, but unlike other counties, Orange County has no Office of Women's Health, Commission on the Status of Women, and until recently, no coalition to focus on women's health issues across the county. Instead, local organizations and medical practices operate independently and tend to focus on discrete medical conditions (i.e. breast cancer), demographic segments of the population (i.e. Latina women), or geographic regions (i.e. South County). Moreover, on a county-wide level, women have historically been joined with families and children in local health initiatives, or overlooked as a category altogether in various reports and publications.
This is simply not acceptable. Women face greater obstacles in accessing health care than men (particularly if they are low-income or women of color), experience medical issues (such as heart disease) differently than men, are subject to unique medical conditions (such as pregnancy-related issues), have historically been excluded from medical research, and tend to outlive men. As caregivers, women make most health decisions for their families, and women are significant health consumers themselves.
It is time to make women’s health a priority in Orange County. Through our extensive outreach and signature Orange County Women's Health Summits, the county's many diverse stakeholders have joined together to create a central voice and develop a cohesive policy agenda for women’s health in Orange County. The OCWHP is honored to lead a diverse coalition in advancing women's health through collaboration, education, and advocacy.