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A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
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Empowering women to live healthier lives!

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Women's Health Coordinator

LCDR Angela Girgenti, R.D.H., M.P.H., C.P.H.
1301 Young Street, Suite 1124
Dallas, TX 75202
Phone: 214-767-3523
Fax: 214-767-3209
Email: Angela.Girgenti@hhs.gov
Region resources:

Region VI

Region VI consists of:

Region VI overview

Region VI is comprised of 5 states: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The region is sometimes grouped with the "south," "southwest" and even the "southeast" which illustrates the diversity of the states and their people. The least populated state is New Mexico and the most populated state is Texas. The landscape can be flat, mountainous, desert, green, swampy and sometimes below sea level. The people represent the picture of the next millennium. Women represent a little over half of the population. Ethnic/racial minorities represent approximately 35 percent of the population with Hispanics representing the largest and fastest growing group. Blacks are the second largest group and the Asian and Pacific Islanders represent the third largest API population in the nation. American Indians/Alaska Natives are solidly represented, being almost 10 percent of New Mexico's population and 8 percent of Oklahoma's population. As in the national projections, the minority populations are considerably younger than the majority population. The key health issues affecting the region are heart disease, lack of prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, intimate partner violence, and lack of health insurance. (www.hhs.gov/region6)

The State/Territory Women's Health Liaisons meet biannually with the Regional Office on Women's Health to discuss women's health activities in each of their states. Last year, the group attended the Region VI conference, "Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: Integrating Actions to Reach 2010." In follow-up to the conference, the state health liaisons decided to allocate their OWH resources to address the myriad of issues regarding access, education, outreach and research.

The regional Office on Women's Health (OWH) will be conducting a health information campaign, "Reach 10". During community presentations, professional meetings, and contacts with both the public and private sector, OWH information will be presented and each participate will be asked to distribute 10 womenshealth.gov brochures to 10 of their friends, family, and colleagues in the community. The office plans to reach a minimum of 10,000 women in the 5 state area.

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State of Arkansas

Arkansas is the birthplace of the 42nd President, William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton. Little Rock is the home of the new William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, which was dedicated in November 2004.

According to the state's tourist guide, the term "Arkansas" means "South Wind" and is derived from the Quapaw Indians (called Arkansea by certain other tribes). The spelling comes from early French usage and the precedent set by the Arkansas Gazette. The pronunciation was determined by the General Assembly of 1881 after scholarly investigation.

The population is roughly 2.7 million people. Arkansas ranks 32nd in total population and has one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the United States. Its population is diverse with 80 percent White and 15.7 percent Black, .8 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, .7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native and 3.2 percent Hispanic. Emerging populations are from Nicaragua, Mexico, and Southeast Asia, including Cambodia and Vietnam.

Females represent 51.2 percent of the Arkansas population. According to 2000 Census 52.5 percent of Arkansans reside in an urban community and the remaining 47.5 percent reside in a rural community. In Arkansas, 18.8 percent of citizens live below 100 percent federal Poverty Level. Female's account for 46.9 percent of citizens at or below 200 percent poverty level. Arkansas was the recipient of one of the first Family Planning Medicaid Waiver in 1997 and funding is available through February 2006.

The leading cause of death for females in Arkansas is heart disease. Other health concerns for the state of Arkansas are reproductive health, domestic violence, breast and cervical cancer, prostrate cancer, Motor vehicle accidents, obesity, and smoking.

"Healthy Arkansas" is a comprehensive effort to clearly define specific areas where behavioral changes can lead to healthier citizens. The burden of chronic diseases, including diabetes, stroke, lung and heart diseases, and cancer, is higher in Arkansas than in the nation generally. Tobacco use, obesity, and physical inactivity are the 3 primary causes of these and other serious chronic conditions. The Healthy Arkansas website provides strategies to reduce and/or eliminate the 3 primary behavior-related causes of these diseases with information on nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation. To visit this site log on to www.healthyarkansas.com.

In March 2005, House Bill 2431 legislated the merger of the Arkansas Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. The Arkansas Department of Health will become the Division of Health in the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services effective August 2005.

In Arkansas, Dianne Campbell as the women's health liaison has a collaborative relationship with programs in the agency and statewide community organizations.

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State of Louisiana

Louisiana has a rich history and cultural variety. The legacy of the original Native Americans, the French, Spanish, and Creole inhabitants of New Orleans, the South Louisiana Cajuns, African slaves and the free blacks, the European plantation owners, and the settlers of virtually every nationality can be seen in our unique 21 st century cultural mix.

Louisiana's total population is 4,468,976,according to the 2000 census population. There are 2,306,073 females, with 63.2 percent White; 33.3 percent black; 1.2 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders, 0.5 percent American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and 2.3 percent Hispanic. (www.census.gov). From information published by CDC, the leading cause of death for both males and females is cardiovascular disease. Other health concerns for females are cancer, especially breast, cervical and colon cancer, stroke, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, reproductive health domestic violence, and HIV/AIDS.

The woman's health liaison, Trina Evans-Williams, has held this position since 2000 and she is continuing to work with other offices in the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals-Office of Public Health- Family Planning Program to develop training programs and health education activities to help communities address women's health across the lifespan. She is the lead of the Louisiana Young Women's Health Summits that were held in May of 2003 and May 2005. She is the lead of the Young Women's Leadership Luncheons with Louisiana Legislators. She is also involved with National Centers of Excellence in Women's Health at Tulane/Xavier Universities.

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State of New Mexico

The Census Bureau estimates that the 2004 population of New Mexico is 1,903,289. While the state's population is small, it offers many wonders in the form of mountains, desert, and the history, art and culture of 3 peoples (Anglo, Hispanic, and Native American). Visitors stream into New Mexico to participate in some of the world's most famous sights and events, including the Kodak Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, the Fiesta de Santa Fe, the Gathering of Nations Powwow, Expo New Mexico (New Mexico State Fair), the Indian Market, hundreds of art galleries, high mountain skiing, river fishing and rafting — the list goes on and on. The population is diverse, culturally and linguistically, with 70 percent White, 10.5 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, 2.3 percent Black/African American, and 1.5 percent Asian and Pacific Islander, and 19.4 percent other race. Over 42 percent of New Mexicans consider themselves Hispanic. A language other than English is spoken by over 36 percent of the population, with over 12 percent of the residents living in non-English speaking households.

In terms of poverty, 18.4 percent of the Census 2000 population lived in poverty; 24.6 percent of children lived in poverty. Females make up 51.5 percent of the total population. According to the Women's Health Profile for the State of New Mexico, the health issues facing New Mexico women are heart disease, domestic violence, and breast and cervical cancer. The women's health liaison, Margie Montoya, CNP, works with communities to develop programs and support networks for family planning. This year she is working with a network of representatives from State and local government, health and human services organizations and providers, and women's advocacy groups to focus on policies and programs needed to ensure healthy women and families in New Mexico, including the potential for an Office of Women's Health at the New Mexico State level. (www.health.state.nm.us)

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State of Oklahoma

In 2000, the state of Oklahoma had a total population of 3,450,654. There are 1,754, 759 females, and the number of women of color include: 76.5 percent White, 7.5 percent black, 7.9 percent American Indian, 1.4 percent Asian and 4.7 percent Hispanics. The population is diverse, and live both in the rural and urban areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

The key health issues for women include heart disease, breast and cervical cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. The state liaison works with many diverse groups, and recently partnered with the National Indian Women's Health Resource Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to host a Tribal Young Women's Health Summit for tribes in Oklahoma and Louisiana. She works with the Oklahoma American Heart Association concerning women's heart health, and the University of Oklahoma Medical Center on areas of GYN health, esp. breast and cervical cancer. She is concerned about older women's health, esp. in the area of osteoporosis and incontinence problems. She works to address women's health inequities and supports community activities in the area of women's health promotion/prevention activities. She and her staff developed a 1 page Rx health handout, that is given to women to help them take steps to change and improve their health.

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State of Texas

The State of Texas is one of the most diverse states in terrain and people. It is the second largest in land mass and it is the third largest in population, behind New York and California. The state has 254 counties, and some of those counties border Mexico. The population (2000) is 20,851,820 people. There are 10,498,910 females with the race/ethnicity distribution being 71.2 percent white, 14.1 percent black, 1.8 percent American Indian, 2.2 percent Asian and 22.7 percent Hispanic.

The key health issues facing women in the state of Texas are heart disease, breast and cervical cancer, lack of prenatal care, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis and 1 in 4 women lack health insurance. The women's health team is working to improve women's health in Texas and will be focusing on professional physician training throughout the state concerning Perinatal HIV/AIDS Management. They are planning to partner with the state ACOG chapter and will be using the national ACOG training materials.

Content last updated July 12, 2011.

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