The Orange County Women's Health Project was founded in the Summer of 2009 by five Orange County women:
- Susan Bryant, PhD: then the Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Irvine
- Karol Gottfredson: then the Academic Coordinator, Intern Credential Program, UC Irvine Department of Education
- Stephanie Kight: then the Senior Vice President, Community Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties
- Ellen Olshansky, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN: then the Director and Professor, UC Irvine Program in Nursing Science
- Allyson Sonenshine, JD: then a Nonprofit Consultant, and Founding Project Director of the Orange County Women's Health Project (OCWHP)
This group of visionary women spent approximately 18 months planning and researching local health data. During that time, they conducted community outreach and led three focus groups (each with a combination of healthcare providers, nonprofit executives, and researchers). These activities confirmed their suspicions about the lack of coordination around women’s health issues and provided the incentive to move forward.
In July 2011, the group formally launched the OCWHP as a fiscally-sponsored project of Charitable Ventures of Orange County and set about building a coalition of women's health stakeholders and planning for the inaugural Orange County Women's Health Policy Summit, to be held in the spring of 2012.
- Summer 2011: OCWHP secures graduate student from UC Irvine Public Health to collect and analyze data from over 200 existing data sources about women's health in Orange County.
- Fall 2011: Planning begins for the first Orange County Women’s Health Policy Summit. The OCWHP convened a planning committee with representatives from 30 different community-based organizations and individuals that met monthly to set the vision and plan the event. OCWHP also convened a data committee to assemble 40 Women's Health Indicators for Orange County Women and identified three priority health issues affecting Orange County Women.
- May 15, 2012: Presented, along with our partners, the inaugural Orange County Women's Health Policy Summit, which was attended by over 150 healthcare providers, nonprofit and public agency staff, academic researchers and educators, elected officials, students, and activists.
- Spring 2013: Secured partners to co-lead and collaboratively launched three Orange County Women's Health Task Forces - Breast & Cervical Cancer, Health & Domestic Violence, and Teen Reproductive Health. Each Task Force focuses on a health issue affecting a significant number of women in Orange County and for which documented disparities or systems gaps exist. Task Forces are responsible for studying the need in greater detail and preparing policy recommendations to address the disparities and/or systems gaps in Orange County.
- October 15, 2013: Presented, along with our partners, the 2nd Orange County Women's Health Policy Summit, which featured presentations about federal, state and local implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the impact on women, as well as Progress Reports from each of the Task Forces.
- September 2014: Awarded a multi-year grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation to oversee the establishment of a countywide, integrated and collaborative Health & Domestic Violence System in Orange County.
- October 17, 2014: Published 4 Policy Briefs and presented the third 2014 Orange County Women's Health Policy Summit, which introduced the Task Forces' policy recommendations regarding breast cancer, cervical cancer, domestic violence, and teen reproductive health.