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HealthyWomen: 35 Years of Participating, Educating and Empowering Girls

August 17, 2022, is Nationwide Nonprofit Day.

HealthyWomen’s unique founder, Violet Bowen-Hugh, M.D., was a power of nature. Born and raised in Clendenin, West Virginia, Bowen-Hugh got here from an underprivileged background, which impressed her to create a spot the place ladies, irrespective of their socioeconomic standing, had entry to dependable well being data. As an academically gifted girl who graduated on the high of her class, Bowen-Hugh was the primary girl in her household to finish highschool. She went on to attend faculty and, upon her commencement, started a profession in accounting.

Bowen-Hugh made a very good life for herself, however she had a deeply rooted want to assist others. And in the summertime of 1954, she realized that want might now not be denied. Impressed by a feminine doctor — one in all solely 48 feminine docs within the state — who was treating her nephew within the hospital, she determined to observe her dream and attend medical faculty.

After graduating, Bowen-Hugh grew to become a resident on the Columbia Hospital for Girls, one in all solely seven ladies’s hospitals on the time, the place she practiced obstetrics and gynecology, finally changing into head of the division. Nonetheless not able to cease dreaming, Bowen-Hugh continued combating for increased high quality healthcare for ladies and advocated for extra analysis to be finished on well being points particular to ladies.

It was this advocacy that alerted Bowen-Hugh to the dearth of scientifically correct details about ladies’s healthcare wants, which led to the creation of the Nationwide Girls’s Well being Useful resource Middle (NWHRC) in 1988. The NWHRC realized Bowen-Hugh’s dream of offering ladies with medically vetted, trusted details about their healthcare considerations and to reply questions on diagnoses and supply suggestions for wholesome dwelling.

The NWHRC started as a 1-800 quantity that girls might name for details about medical circumstances they’d been identified with and basic well being recommendation. The lady who answered the cellphone was Beth Battaglino.

Much like Bowen-Hugh’s origin story, Battaglino started by acquiring levels in enterprise and political science however all the time knew she wished to be a nurse. To get her foot within the door, she utilized for a volunteer coordinator place at Columbia Hospital for Girls, however the recruiter noticed one thing particular in Battaglino and beneficial she work for the NWHRC as an alternative.

Throughout the day, Battaglino labored as a part of this well being useful resource for ladies, and he or she studied to be a registered nurse at night time. Over time, the group flourished and started branching out into new methods to tell its target market. One in all its hottest choices was the Nationwide Girls’s Well being Report, a bimonthly publication, which centered on well being circumstances distinctive to ladies. The publication was a precursor to our fashionable Actual Girls, Actual Tales sequence, as ladies shared their experiences with the featured prognosis in every version. Together with the publication, Battaglino additionally created a database of present well being matters, sources, organizations and assist teams that the NWHRC might present its callers, which grew to become the template for the web site.

Beth Battaglino speaks at the 5th Annual HealthyWomen Event, March 2022Beth Battaglino speaks on the fifth Annual HealthyWomen Occasion, March 2022

The mid-’90s noticed a push to combine ladies’s well being and wellness into current way of life publications like Cosmopolitan and Redbook, and the normalization of discussing ladies’s well being matters allowed the NWHRC to make a reputation for itself. Nevertheless, the late ’90s introduced monetary woes to Columbia Hospital and its closing was imminent. Recognizing that the NWHRC was nonetheless a vital useful resource, Battaglino and two of her colleagues developed a marketing strategy to take over the NWHRC and maintain it working — a plan that paved the way in which for HealthyWomen to return into existence. Because the small however mighty group of ladies labored to maintain the NWHRC afloat, they obtained a name from representatives at Johnson and Johnson who wished to study extra in regards to the group and the way the 2 corporations might accomplice. Battaglino’s ensuing pitch led to a grant that not solely stored the useful resource heart in existence however allowed the NWHRC to be much more bold than earlier than. Recognizing that the general public and the media’s curiosity in well being and wellness wasn’t abating anytime quickly, Battaglino created a advertising and marketing plan that positioned the middle as a go-to useful resource for ladies’s way of life manufacturers and magazines and well being editors. This led to partnerships with manufacturers like Prevention and Mattress, Bathtub & Past.

As time and know-how superior, the NWHRC transitioned into the web area by changing into the primary ever web site that comprehensively addressed ladies’s well being and wellness points, and in 2009, it rebranded as HealthyWomen. Since then, the positioning was acknowledged by Forbes Journal as a high web site for ladies three years in a row, and Oprah Journal acknowledged the positioning as its high ladies’s well being web site in 2010.

Over time, Battaglino’s position at HealthyWomen has advanced, and he or she grew to become CEO in 2006, positioning HealthyWomen because the go-to well being useful resource for ladies.

For greater than three a long time, ladies have relied on HealthyWomen’s extremely researched and dependable data to have interaction, educate and empower them.

It’s been an honor to be a corporation that girls depend on — and one the HealthyWomen group hasn’t taken flippantly at any time in our historical past.

Hearken to our CEO speak extra in regards to the historical past and evolution of HealthyWomen.



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