During Thursday morning’s plenary session at the 71st URJ Biennial, Ambassador Nancy Brinker will receive the Maurice N. Eisendrath “Bearer of Light” Award for Service to the World Community in recognition of her tireless work to find a cure for breast cancer through her founding of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, who served as the American ambassador to Hungary from 2001-2003 and is currently serving as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control, has successfully led the battle to make cancer research, prevention and treatment permeate the public sphere. After receiving her award, Ambassador Brinker will speak. Breast cancer treatment and research is one of a number of urgent women’s health issues. Although incredible advancements have been made, thanks in large part to the work of Ambassador Brinker’s foundation, the fight against breast cancer is far from over; over 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and last year breast cancer was the cause of death for 460,000 people worldwide. In the face of these statistics and those about other women’s health issues, one thing is clear: Prevention is key. In July an Institute of Medicine panel recommended eight preventive clinical services for women that should be offered without co-pays. The panel submitted these recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help facilitate the implementation of the women’s health amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While the fifth recommendation (requesting “the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”) has received consistent media coverage since July, the other seven recommendations should not be neglected as we consider some of the main fights for women’s health. The panel’s other recommendations include insurance coverage without cost-sharing for:
- Screening for gestational diabetes
- High-risk DNA testing
- Annual counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- Counseling and screening for HIV on an annual basis
- Comprehensive lactation support
- Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence
- At least one well-woman preventative care visit annually for adult women to obtain the recommended preventative services, including preconception and prenatal care.