A year after being launched, Porter's Healthy Woman program has found a niche among a growing number of women in the region who have found information they can use to improve both their health and well-being.
Some of the programs have focused on early diagnosis of heart disease and menopause; others have looked at stress-busters and the importance of finding ways to laugh.
Janet Brown says the Healthy Woman initiative has been widely successful in reaching out to women throughout the area and sensitizing them to the importance of health care programs that are geared for women.
Mrs. Brown is the Dean and Professor of the College of Nursing at Valparaiso University, a member of the Porter Board of Trustees and a member of the Healthy Woman Advisory Council.
"I hear comments from women who have been able to take advantage of the programs offered through Porter's Healthy Woman," she says. "Overwhelmingly, I hear that women are grateful to have relevant, emerging health information available to them. Even more than that, though, I hear women saying the program is giving them permission to look after their own health. For many women, the notion of placing a premium on taking care of themselves is a new concept. No one has ever before given them permission to do that."
"During the Healthy Woman anniversary event in November, the speaker- Bobbe White- talked about the need for women to laugh," she says. "Laughing is something any of us can do at almost any time. It is inexpensive and it is good for all us. It acts as a stress reducer. Those are the types of topics that have been offered during Healthy Woman programs this year and which have been very helpful."
Porter's Healthy Woman Coordinator Karen Martine, says the year-old program already has more than 400 members- and is growing by the month.
"Members of Porter's Medical Staff and the health system's educators are working with me to bring programs to the community that are useful and new to our area," she says. "We have been thrilled with the response we have seen from women in our region. Juggling all of the responsibilities women today have is challenging. our goal is to continue to bring innovative health and well-being programming to the communities we s that can make life just a little less stressful."
Christine Maassel, a member of the Healthy Woman Advisory Council, says in its first year, the program has proven to be valuable.
"I think this initiative is a huge value-added for our community," she says. "Women, who have had a long history of taking care of everybody else, need to know how to take care of themselves and this program helps them do that."
Mrs. Brown says women fill a great many roles- homemaker, career woman, mom- to name a few.
"These roles often overlap and we all have to make choices because rarely is there a gap that screams, 'This time is for you.' It is hard to manage all of these puzzle pieces and we, as women, have a responsibility to ourselves to carve out time for our own health and well-being," she says. "I believe the future of this program is very bright. There has been great interest in Healthy Woman and there is certainly a need in the community to do more educational programming for women. With continued good leadership, there are no limits to the potential of the Healthy Woman program."
There is no cost to join. For more information, look on Porter's web site, www.porterhealth.com, and click on Healthy Woman, or call 219.263.4437