Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board: Indian Leadership for Indian Health

Women’s Health

Key Indian Health Issues:  Women’s Health Promotion

During different phases of a women’s life cycle there are complex interactions that exist between sex hormones, physiological changes, and emotional issues. During reproductive years, sex hormones profoundly influence reproduction and development, which creates a spectrum of gender specific health issues. With advancing age and onset of menopause, women’s risk factors for disease are comparably similar to men’s. Although the same disease may affect women as men, it is thought that biological mechanisms and psychosocial differences influence the natural history of disease differently in women. \"image\"
The leading causes of death among women are cardiovascular disease, malignant cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic lung disease, pneumonia/influenza, and diabetes. Additionally, women can be prone to osteoporosis, alcohol abuse, psychological disorders, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and violence.
Programs for health promotion and education apply integrated strategies appropriate to the local context. Most community programs to change health-related behavior seek to influence the social norms, cultural values, and economic and environmental conditions that affect health behavior at the community level. Such programs usually focus on any combination of the following actions: (1) interventions to promote health and prevent the development of disease (primary prevention); (2) screening for early detection and treatment of previously unrecognized cases of disease (secondary prevention); and (3) activities to help persons with known or established disease to more successfully manage their disorder (tertiary prevention).

Women’s health has long been a priority in Indian Country.  Initiatives include; cancer prevention through enhanced screening, reproductive health and promotion of child health through outreach to mothers and families.

Please visit our pages to learn more about our initiatives in women’s health.

Indian Health Services. Retrieved December 26, 2006, from

(n.d.). Encyclopedia of Medicine. Retrieved December 26, 2006, from Web site: