Sandra Bennett-Pagan, L.C.S.W.
26 Federal Plaza, Room 3835
New York, NY 10278
Program assistant: Genet Vega
Region II consists of:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands (comprised of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John)
Region II overview
This is a diverse region in terms of geography, demographics, health status, and health care services delivery. There is one Women's Health Center of Excellence in Region II located at the University of Puerto Rico (archive), Medical Science Campus, in San Juan, PR.
New Jersey's female population is approximately 4.3 million, with nearly 8 percent of the women living below the poverty level. The racial/ethnic distribution of New Jersey's women is 67 percent White, 14 percent African American, 13 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and .03 percent Native American. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injuries and suicides are among the leading causes of death for women in the state.
The New Jersey Office of Women's Health was created by legislation signed in January, 2002 (P.L. 2001, Chapter 376). It serves as the lead agency in State government in the area of women's health, in coordination with other public and private nonprofit agencies that provide women's health services. Specifically noted in the statute, the New Jersey Office of Women's Health identified cardiovascular disease, cancer, prenatal care, AIDS and violence against women as major public health concerns to be addressed through prevention, early detection of disease and quality of care. Additionally, the legislation mandated the establishment of a Women's Health Advisory Commission to provide assistance to the New Jersey Office of Women's Health in carrying out its duties.
Although the Office on Women's Health has only been operational for a few years, the State has a long history of providing health services with a focus on women, including family planning services, prenatal care, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening and adolescent health services. New Jersey will be unveiling a campaign in the next few months focusing on postpartumdepression.
New York has a population of over 18.9 million people of which 51.8 percent are women and 48.2 percent are men. The racial/ethnic distribution of the state's population is 73.6 percent White, 17.8 percent Black/African American, 13.7 percent Hispanic, 6.5 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and 0.5 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. Approximately 16.7 percent of New York's population lives below the poverty level. The leading causes of death for women are heart disease, malignant neoplasm, cardiovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and pneumonia. In addition, AIDS is among the top 5 leading causes of death for Black/African American and Hispanic women in New York State. (Source: Census 2000)
New York State's commitment to women's health is demonstrated by the variety and depth of public health programs and services that are offered to women throughout the state. Major components include primary health care, disease prevention and health promotion, early intervention, continuity of care, and elimination of health disparities. As a result of a 2002 grant from the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the New York State Department of Health created a profile on statewide women's health programs, with program descriptions and contact information to address heart disease, breast and cervical cancer, diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, family planning, and rape crisis intervention, and other issues. The New York State Department of Health focuses on health concerns which have direct impact on young, middle age and older women. (Source: Women's Health Programs in New York State, New York State Department of Health, 2004)
The island of Puerto Rico, located in the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. According to the 2000 Census, the estimated population was 3,808,610 representing a population density of 1,088 inhabitants per square mile. Females represented nearly 52 percent (51.9 percent) of the population, and children and adolescents between 0-19 years of age were 32 percent of the total. The maternal and child health population population comprised by children and adolescents (0-19 years) and women 20-44 years of age surpassed 50 percent (50.5 percent) of the total population of the Island. On the other hand, the population of female householders with no husband present was 21.3 percent. Among this group, 49 percent of them had children less than 18 years of age under their custody.
For women of childbearing age, the primary causes of death are breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, lung cancer, AIDS, hypertensive disorders, traffic accidents, homicides, and heart disease.
The provision of health care services in Puerto Rico was traditionally divided into 2 parallel systems: a public sector serving people of low economic resources, and a private system taking care of the population who paid out of pocket or through third party payers. An aggressive Health Care Reform launched by the government of Puerto Rico in 1994 radically changed the health care environment in the Island, where health care was assured to all low income residents, eliminating existing or potential barriers to the access of health care at all levels. As a response to these changes, the maternal and child health role within the Department of Health was refocused to assure that women, infants, children, adolescents and children with special health care needs receive high quality and comprehensive services.
Current Puerto Rico Department of Health programs which have direct impact on girls and women are the Adolescent Health Integrated Services Program, the Abstinence-Only Project, the Healthy Start Program, the Folic Acid Campaign, Puerto Rico Safe Kids Coalition, Rape Victims Centers, and others. The Department has also focused on reproductive health care issues, including the promotion of early entry into prenatal care, research on reasons for the high rate of C-sections in the Island, and education on the availability of family planning services.
The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, located in the Caribbean Sea, consists of three islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. The 2000 Census reports that the total population of the Virgin Islands is 108,612, with 52.2 percent female and 47.8 percent male. The median age is 33.4 years. The Virgin Islands reflect a Caribbean heritage, heavily influenced by American and Danish values blended with an African base and a large Hispanic presence, particularly from neighboring Puerto Rico. The demographics of the Virgin Islands is 76.2 percent black, 13.1 percent white, and 10.7 percent other. The Virgin Islands have one-third of their population below the poverty level. (Source: U.S. Census, 2000)
The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health addresses a range of health care needs, including heart disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The department approaches the Healthy People 2000 women's health objectives through partnerships with the Virgin Islands Infant Mortality Review Panel, the Virgin Islands Alliance for Primary Care, the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, the St. Thomas Family Resource Center, and many others. Ongoing challenges include AIDS, which became one of the leading causes of death in 1990, substance abuse, domestic violence, and teenage pregnancy.
Content last updated November 1, 2005.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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