Women’s Health

The Issue:

Healthy women are a cornerstone of healthy families, communities, and economies. Not only do women make up half the adult population, but they are gatekeepers to the health of their children, partners, and aging relatives. They lead family health decisions, behaviors, and care seeking, and have been known to put the needs of others before their own.

A fragmented set of women’s health systems in Central Texas means underserved women often struggle to access continuous, comprehensive women’s services, including reproductive health care and their contraceptive method of preference. Access to services is shaped by the individual, community and systemic factors.

Women of color experience alarming perinatal health inequities in access and outcomes.  In addition, they harbor higher rates of morbidity and mortality over their life courses. Many women’s health inequities persist even after controlling for income and education. Inequities in the social determinants of health contribute to women’s health inequities.

Our Plan:

Our goals are twofold:

  • Empower women to attain good health. Good health, in return, empowers women to attain their best lives.
  • Advance women’s health equity.

Who We Serve:

St. David’s Foundation’s Women’s Health work focuses on low-income women as well as women of color across the socioeconomic spectrum. Many of these women live in the eastern crescent of Travis County and in central Texas’ rural areas.

St. David’s Foundation maintains a Teen Pregnancy Prevention focus area serving adolescents up to age 18 with crossovers into our Women’s Health work, which serves women 19 and over.

With some of the Foundation’s community investments, we will improve child health as we improve women’s health and vice versa.  While leveraging two-generational impact is desired, for alignment, women’s health proposals should have a clear women’s health outcome.  If women are a vehicle to improve child health without a strong women’s health benefit, the work may be a better fit under a different focus area.

How We Will Do It:

As a new women’s health funder, our approach is evolving as we are learning.  Our initial investments include:

  • Ensuring access to community-based, comprehensive preventive services with an emphasis on reproductive health.
  • Enrolling women in coverage programs for which they are eligible, and promoting the use of covered women’s health benefits.
  • Ensuring more underserved pregnant women receive early and adequate prenatal care through models with demonstrated outcomes.
  • Improving women’s health throughout the postpartum period through our Focus on the Fourth initiative.  This area includes contributing to maternal mortality prevention.  Read about Focus on the Fourth here.
  • Supporting grassroots efforts that center underserved women in driving the change they desire in both social determinants of health and programs/services.

For More Information


Elizabeth Krause
Contact
Elizabeth Krause, Senior Program Officer
ekrause

“I decided to steer my career toward public health when I took a women’s medical issues class at my women’s college where I was also a peer health educator – what we now might call a community health worker. Years later, the opportunity and responsibility to build St. David’s Foundation’s new women’s health focus has renewed my sense of professional purpose. To me, women’s health is fundamentally about empowering women, families, and communities.”

Our Focus on the Fourth Women's Health Grantees

Focus on The Fourth: Our First Women’s Health Grantees

Strategic Priorities