Newsletter The Women’s Health Activist® is a bimonthly publication of the National Women’s Health Network. We’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
adapted by NWHN staff from a report by Charon Asetoyer, Kati Schindler and Anna Jackson
THE WELL-KNOWN CANADIAN ANTHROPOLOGIST on Japanese women, cultural nuances and the eastward creep of the western medical model.
by Ahuva Segal
For seven weeks this winter, I was an outsider looking in on American government and society.
I had left the Australian summer to intern with NWHN and spend time with my sister, and from the minute I stepped off the plane I found myself constantly (and unconsciously) comparing everything. Food portions? Very big! Cars? Even bigger! Houses? Bigger yet! But another subject that I found myself comparing was universal health care — something Australia has and the United States desperately needs.
By Georgana Hanson
by Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D.
Now that the FDA has banned ephedra in over-the-counter products, companies are touting an array of other herbs and nonherbal products claimed to speed weight loss. Are herbal weight-loss products safer than drugs? Not necessarily. Weight-loss supplements containing the plant ephedra - taken by an estimated 12 million people in 1999 - were associated with heart attacks, strokes, kidney stones and psychiatric problems, among other problems. (No adverse effects have been associated with the traditional use of ephedra to treat asthma.)
by Rupsa Mallik
In light of the NWHN's goal of furthering the establishment of universal health care, we asked women's health activists around the world to share how health care is delivered in their countries. Following are excerpted responses of New Zealand's SANDRA CONEY, formerly executive director of Women's Health Action; Chile's DEBORAH MEACHAM, editor of the quarterly magazine of the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network; and India's SUNDARI RAVINDRAN, who has been active in the international women's health movement since 1981.
by Cynthia Pearson
What's in a look? We asked ourselves this question often during the last year as NWHN moved forward to the new design, name and expanded nature of this newsletter. In addition to this column and the usual mixture of news and analysis, each issue brings you the hard-hitting column " Prescription for Change" by Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., the "Young Feminists" page by NWHN interns and "G-Spot/Sore Spot," NWHN's own approach to giving the thumbs up thumbs down to developments (and setbacks) in women's health.
by Leah Thayer
by Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D.
A recent study in the Lancet (Nov. 20. 2005) found that a previous Cesarean section increased the risk that a woman's next child would be stillborn. This may not be an obvious cause for celebration, but bad news about C-sections is good news tor women's health. Once a last-ditch recourse to save mother or child, surgical birth is now routinely touted as a modern, convenient, safe mode of delivery, even for births that would have progressed swimmingly on their own.
by Jennifer Cook, Linda Galib and Kiersten Hoskisson
Do you ever look in the mirror and adjust your fat to see what body shape you might miraculously morph into? Well, we do. Three otherwise proud feminists in our early 20s, we also spend more time than we care to admit tweezing our eyebrows, shaving our legs, obsessing before the mirror in search of zits, and torturing our feet into stiletto heels so the important people on Capitol Hill might catch a glimpse of our "intern potential."
by Teresa Harrison
A growing body of research suggests that covering the cervix may play a key role in preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In a project now underway in Africa, members of the reproductive health community are evaluating cervical barriers such as diaphragms and cervical caps - - which have long proven effective as safe, effective, woman-controlled contraceptives for a dual role in protecting women against HIV and other STIs.
Longtime NWHN staffer Beverly Thomas is a recipient of Public Citizen's first annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Award. McCarthy, who died in November or 2002, spent 24 years at Public Citizen, primarily as managing editor and office manager of its Health Research Group, whose publications include the newsletters Health Letter and Worst Pills, Best Pills News.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new version of the oral contraceptive pill that changes a woman's bleeding pattern to produce only four "periods" each year. Marketed under the brand name Seasonale, the new pill is the first product approved for this combination of contraception and menstrual suppression.
We're pleased to be able to offer you two thought-provoking articles on childhood obesity. Why would a women's health newsletter address this issue? The Network believes that the current focus on childhood obesity has implications for the health of women, and that it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be a good thing for programs to spotlight the role of the food industry in creating a heavier and less healthy population, including children, especially if those programs advocate for policies that create change in the environment.
by Eileen Schnitger and Christina Romero
In April, Women's Health Specialists sent two representatives to Cuba to explore health care and other aspects of everyday life for women there. As a feminist organization that strives to empower women to make their own medical decisions, we would seem an unlikely match for a country whose policies are famously top-down, with little tolerance for decision-making at the individual level. But we were impressed by much of what we saw.
by Carmel Aronson
Last summer, after experiencing the sophomore academic crisis that strikes so often at nontraditional liberal arts colleges, I began looking for an internship in the field of feminist health care. After years of study in the matter, I wanted some hands-on experience in the topic about which I felt most passionate. I came across the National Women's Health Network by accident but was so inspired by its mission statement that I decided to apply to its internship program.
by Georgana Hanson
Since the initial results of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) were published last July, defenders of menopause hormone therapy have claimed that the study's conclusions are faulty because of flaws in the design of the trial. This backlash is based on a number of myths being propagated by spokespeople for Wyeth, which manufactures Premarin, as well as by other hormone defenders in the ob-gyn community.