Commissioner Discusses Women’s Health at Latest BWH Visit
Physicians from through-out the BWH community were honored on November 8 for their years of dedicated service to the hospital at the annual Brigham and Women’s Hospital Physician Recognition Dinner. Co-sponsored by the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization and the BWH Medical Staff Organization, the dinner at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel drew more than 600 guests.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, headlined the agenda of the Annual Meeting of the Medical Staff and spoke about the women’s health trends across the state. BWH’s Executive Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and the chief of the Division of Women’s Health in the Department of Medicine Paula Johnson, MD, MPH, introduced the keynote speaker, whose remarks focused on prevention.
“This is a rugged time for prevention in the state,” said Koh, who explained that prevention programs were heavily cut from the budget to help offset a growing state budget deficit. That being said, Koh encouraged all physicians at the December 5 meeting to communicate the power of prevention to their patients and to share their views with opinion leaders in Boston statistics to bolster the case for education and prevention:
- Out of the 56,000 deaths that occur over a year's time in the Commonwealth, 15,000 are due to heart disease and 14,000 are caused by cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death for women.
- An impressive 90 percent of female Bay Staters, ages 50 to 64, have had a mammogram in the last two years. Koh explained that Massachusetts continues to have some of the highest mammography rates.
- 200 million fewer packs of cigarettes are sold in Massachusetts than were 10 years ago. 50 percent less women in Massachusetts smoke during pregnancy than did in 1990. Koh highlighted how the state's Tobacco Control Program has served as a model for the rest of the world.
- Women continue to make up a greater proportion of those infected with HIV. Currently women comprise 28 percent of the AIDS population, double the amount from ten years ago.
- The average age of a woman giving birth is now over 30, impacting infertility rates and other life factors in the state.
- Massachusetts babies that are born to African American women, who are born in the United States, have a significantly higher infant mortality rate.
Koh’s remarks followed the BWH Medical Staff Annual Meeting, co-sponsored by the MSO and the BWPO, at which 2002 MSO Chair Frederick Schoen, MD, PhD, announced the following 2003 slate of officers: Ramon Martin, MD, chair; Steven Ringer, MD, PhD, chair-elect; Leonard Lilly, MD, vice-chair; Edmund Cibas, MD, secretary; and Roseanna Means, MD, Private Staff representative.