The Department of Administration’s (DOA) Secretary Machelle Sanders joined Council Director Mary Williams-Stover and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) Study Director Elyse Shaw at the university’s College of Health & Human Services to provide a review of data and policy recommendations from the 2019 Health and Wellness report.
The report provides detailed data analysis on North Carolina women and health issues relating to chronic disease, physical and sexual health, access to health care and sexual assault.
Data from the report shows that, while progress has been made in North Carolina since the inaugural release of the 2013 Status of Women in North Carolina report, there is still work to be done.
“We’re seeing improvements in women’s health but not for everyone. Many women face health challenges and barriers to health care, especially in our rural counties,” said Secretary Machelle Sanders. “Improving the health of women strengthens families, communities and our entire economy, and this report underscores the need to close the health insurance coverage gap.”
Key findings from the report include:
~North Carolina ranks 11th highest in infant mortality and 9th highest in stroke mortality among women – and the problem is even worse in rural counties.
~North Carolina’s mortality rates for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast cancer, among other diseases, have decreased since the 2013 report.
~In North Carolina, more than one-third of women (35 percent) have experienced at least one type of intimate partner violence (IPV) and more than 35 percent of North Carolina women report having experienced some form of aggression or control by an intimate partner.
~Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, North Carolina ranks in the middle or bottom on indicators of health and wellness. North Carolina’s best ranking is for heart disease mortality (27th out of 51) and its worst is for AIDS diagnoses (44th).
~There are wide disparities in North Carolina women’s disease mortality rates by race and ethnicity. The heart disease rate among Black women in North Carolina is more than three times higher than the rate of Hispanic women, the racial and ethnic group with the lowest rate. Black women also have a rate of breast cancer mortality that is more than three times higher than the rate for Hispanic women.
“Women’s health issues impact all of us, no matter our gender, region or race. This report is an important resource for decision makers, grantmakers and advocates and can help bring needed attention and action to make North Carolina the best place for women and families,” said Council Director Mary Williams-Stover.