“The passion you share for our work can generate a wider circle of change”

Dear Friend of The Women’s Collective,
We have much to be thankful for this holiday season and you are at the top of our list! The financial support you provide makes such a profound difference in our ability to serve women and girls in the Washington DC area.  For over twenty years TWC has provided a wide range of health and social support services, including mental health.
 
Despite changes in the health care landscape and the lack of resources available to community based organizations, TWC continues to make a difference in the lives of women, girls and their families.  Thanks to the incredible efforts of our staff, volunteers and friends like you, we remain committed to our community. 
 
As you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, will you help us provide for families who are less fortunate? We hope you will consider TWC in your year-end giving during this holiday season. 
 
As you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, will you help us provide for families who are less fortunate? We hope you will consider TWC in your year-end giving during this holiday season. 
Your donation can provide the following :
$10: Transportation to health and social services appointments.
$30: School supplies and a uniform for a child
$50: An HIV or Hep C test, a hot meal for a family of four
$75: Groceries for one week

$100: Individual and family therapy

You can donate by sending a check directly to The Women’s Collective, via Network for Good, or the Catalogue for Philanthropy. You can also help by inviting your friends and family to support The Women’s Collective.

The passion you share for our work can generate a wider circle of change,

thank you for your kindness and please stay in touch!
Sincerely,
 
Patricia Nalls
Founder/Executive Director 
The Women’s Collective
202-483-7003
“When I was at my lowest point, The Women’s Collective was there to not only lift me up, but to show me that I had a lot to live for.  I’m here today because of TWC!”
Donate Now
-Dana S (TWC client).

Recap & Comment: DC Commission for Women Inaugural Policy Conference

On October 18, 2014 the DC Commission for Women hosted an Inaugural Policy Conference. The Women’s Collective was in attendance, attending the opening and panel sessions, as well as providing free HIV testing at the event. Specifically, we attended the DC Healthy Women panel, which gave an overview of key issues affecting the health of DC women.  Of particular issue to our clients, the panel discussed the effects of HIV in the city, as well as access to reproductive health care.

The DC Health Department spoke about HIV. They gave the sobering reminder that nearly 1 in 5 new cases of HIV in DC occur among African American heterosexual women. However, there is also encouraging news about the HIV epidemic in DC. Overall, the number of new infections in DC is decreasing. Additionally, for those diagnosed with HIV, access to health care is improving. Currently, 86% of people are linked to care within 3 months of an HIV diagnosis, compared to 50% in 2005

However, the panel discussed some actions we can take or continue to support, in order to improve health outcomes and access to care for people living with HIV. These include free access to condoms and clean needles to reduce the risk of HIV transmission; promoting HIV as a routine part of health care, so that all people will know their HIV status; and changing discussions around sex and sexuality, so that they are positive and affirming.

In addition to these actions discussed by the panel, The Women’s Collective is working to support health care access among women living with HIV. Towards this end, we identified access to high quality health care, that is both culturally competent and trauma informed, as one of our policy priorities. Health care access is crucial for women living with HIV, because there are gender-based disparities in HIV outcomes, particularly related to viral load suppression. For instance, a smaller proportion of women in care achieve viral load suppression, when compared to men in care. To address these disparities, and enable women living with HIV to be linked to care, retained in care, and achieve viral load suppression, we believe that support services, such as those provided by The Women’s Collective and made possible through Ryan White funding, can be effective. As such, we believe that in the changing health care landscape, Ryan White funding for support services needs to continue.

Reproductive health care was also discussed at the Healthy DC Women panel. Shockingly, in DC, 70% of pregnancies are unintended. We recognize that this statistic points toward the need for comprehensive sexual education, access to contraception, and access to abortion. However women in DC face particular restrictions: Congress has banned DC from using its own funds to pay for medically necessary abortions for Medicaid recipients. Policies such as this severely restrict a low-income woman’s ability to access reproductive health care, which could have long-lasting effects on her health and ability to meet her basic needs.

While the health forum, in particular, pointed to areas where policy change is very much needed, we want to applaud the focus on women’s issues by the DC government. Recognition of and meaningful discussion about the specific issues women in Washington, DC face is a crucial first step. We hope that this conference and the continued work of the DC Commission for Women can support the creation and enactment of policies to protect the rights and improve the well-being of women in Washington, DC.

It’s National Women’s Health Week!

NWHW-logo

This week is National Women’s Health Week (#NWHW) sponsored by the Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. National Women’s Health Week also serves as a time to help women understand what it means to be well.

We know that women frequently put their own needs behind those of their families—including the need for comprehensive and quality health care. Moreover, 80% of mothers assume responsibility for their children’s medical visits and are the drivers of their family members and extended family members accessing care. This week, take the time to put your own health care needs first!

Now that the Affordable Care Act has been fully implemented, be sure to take advantage of the myriad of covered services:

–          Routine anemia screenings for pregnant women

–          Breast Cancer Genetic Test Counseling (BRCA) for women at higher risk of breast cancer

–          Mammography screenings for women over 40

–          Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings

–          Breastfeeding support and counseling for pregnant and nursing women

–          Cervical cancer screening

–          Immunizations

–          Contraception

–          Domestic violence screening and counseling

–          Osteoporosis screening

–          HPV DNA testing

–          STI screening and counseling – including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV

If you want to learn more, stop by HealthCare.gov and be sure to check with your insurance carrier to verify your coverage!

Ryan White Part D Funding: What about Women and Families?

Family 1 SlideOn March 4, 2014 President Obama released his proposed budget for FY 2015. While his budget doesn’t go into effect without congressional approval, and it’s unlikely that congress will approve it without making any changes—the President made an important change in the way HIV related services are funded. The proposed budget condenses Part D of the Ryan White Program (which focuses on providing supportive services and medical services to women and families) into Part C (which provides comprehensive services without a focus on any specific group impacted by HIV/AIDS).

This proposal isn’t itself particularly concerning—Part D funds have always been very competitive and difficult to compete for so the compression of Part D into Part C may open up some new funding opportunities for community-based organizations (CBOs) that had been previously shut out of Part D funding. It also makes sense from the standpoint that there are less children being born with HIV and therefore a reduced need for funding those targeted services.

But we can’t forget about women and families.

The real concern with this proposal is the small part it plays in a larger movement in HIV/AIDS advocacy and funding that increasingly forgets about women and families and their unique needs and barriers. Language matters. Even though there are no funds being diverted out of the Ryan White program, removing “women and families” sends a problematic message about the focus of HIV/AIDS advocacy and services, who is living with HIV, and what their needs are. It lumps everyone living with HIV/AIDS into the same boat when they have distinctly different and complex needs—for women and families, those needs are often ignored.

There’s an argument that women and families served by Part D of the Ryan White program can get those same services through providers that receive Part C funding. That’s technically true. But those providers often don’t have woman-focused or youth-focused services that we know are effective. Women and youth may have a more difficult time articulating their needs and getting those needs met. As a woman-focused CBO, we have a first-hand view of what those needs are. Women aren’t just looking for access to quality health care or treatment. They’re looking for food so they can feed their families; housing so they can provide their families with stability and safety; employment so they can feel empowered to take care of themselves and their families; childcare so they can get to doctor’s appointments and to work; education so they can better themselves and set a good example for their families…

The needs of women go well beyond just taking medicine and adhering to treatment. As we lose focus on women and their needs, we are making it more difficult for them and families to enter and stay in care. The Women’s Collective urges the President and Congress to ensure that in the fight against HIV/AIDS, women are not left behind.