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Illinois Women's Health Registry Website Debuts in Spanish

May 11, 2011 | by Marla Paul

CHICAGO --- The Illinois Women’s Health Registry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has launched a Spanish language version of its website to encourage Hispanic women to participate in local medical research with the aim of better understanding their health needs and access to health care.

Hispanic women in Illinois have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, obesity and new AIDS cases compared to white women, noted Candace Tingen, director of research programs for the Institute of Women’s Health Research, which includes the registry. “It’s important to include Hispanic women in research studies to understand what’s causing these disparities,” Tingen said. 

The site’s launch is timed to coincide with National Women’s Health Week.

Illinois has the 10th highest Hispanic population in the nation, so Northwestern is ideally suited for a new project to improve Hispanic women’s health through clinical trials and information outreach, Tingen said.

A national study in 2009 rated Illinois last in a measure of Hispanic women’s health in which 34 percent of Hispanic women in the state reported fair or poor health compared to 8.4 percent of white women. Hispanic women in Illinois also are more likely to be without health insurance, a personal doctor or health care provider than white women.

Tingen wants to register at least 1,000 Hispanic women for the registry in the next year. “We hope to provide a deep pool of women for studies on women’s health,” she said. “Then we can start to understand race and ethnic differences between women in our state. ”   

The Illinois Women’s Health Registry, launched in 2008 at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has registered more than 6,000 women but only 4 percent describe themselves as Hispanic.

The purpose of the registry is to encourage researchers to study diseases in both sexes as well as those specific to women. In the past, women often were excluded from clinical research.

The registry has helped fill nearly 20 clinical research studies at Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and other institutions across the state, including the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University.

Women who join the registry are asked to complete a detailed health history questionnaire. All the information will be self reported and no medical records will be requested. The registry will contain only information the woman supplies, and the data will be stored in a secure computer server.

All female Illinois residents 18 years and older, regardless of health status, are eligible to participate in the free registry. The health questionnaire is available in a paper version or electronic version.

For more information on the Spanish registry, visit https://whr.northwestern.edu/es.

Funding for the Illinois Women’s Health Registry was provided by Northwestern’s Feinberg School.
Topics: University News