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Women's Health Initiative

The California Medical Association Foundation has initiated the California Women's Health Initiative (CAWHI), a long-term, statewide initiative to improve the health of women by:

  • Improving communication between physicians and their women patients.
  • Increasing collaboration between physician organizations, women's organizations, consumer groups and government agencies.
  • Enhancing physicians' knowledge regarding gender differences in medicine and healthcare.
  • Empowering patients to be proactive in their health decision-making.
  • Enhancing the role of office staff and allied health professionals to help patients navigate and best utilize the health system and resources in their communities.

- 75% of women have never spoken to their physician about osteoporosis. For each patient diagnosed with osteoporosis, two to three remain undiagnosed.

- According to a study commissioned by the Heart Association, 92% of American women are unaware that heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death among women.

- Over the past ten years the mortality rate from lung cancer has declined in men but has continued to rise in women. This trend is under-recognized in women and is due predominately to increased rates of cigarette smoking in women.

Older Women's Health Conference
The first activity of the CAWHI was: Bridging Medical Care & Communities to Improve the Health of Women 50+. The purpose of the Older Women's Health Conference was two-fold. The first was to bring together leaders from physicians', women's and community-based organizations to strengthen relationships and increase understanding and collaboration. The second purpose was to provide a clinical component to address serious health problems facing older women in California including depression, healthy aging, heart health, menopause and gynecological cancers, and osteoporosis. The conference provided the platform to begin a long-term commitment to organizational change resulting in a collaborative approach to women's health.

Cawhi's Advisory Committee
We are pleased to have partners including representatives from physician's, women's and community-based organizations, the California Department of Health Services, political organizations, disease specific associations, and cultural and ethnic health organizations. We have an advisory committee representing 35 organizations that is helping the Foundation shape the CAWHI.


  • The National Women's Health Information Center [NWHIC]
  • Administration on Aging
  • American Menopause Foundation
  • National Black Women's Health Project
  • California Black Women's Health Project
  • North American Menopause Society
  • Society for Women's Health Research
  • American Medical Women's Association
  • Older Women's League
  • California Department of Health Services Office of Women's Health
  • The Office of Women's Health, Minority Women's Health

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