NPWH is 30! At our founding in 1980 by a group of NPs working in Planned Parenthood clinics, women’s health focused on reproductive function. Back then, little was acknowledged, or even known, about gender differences with regard to overall health. For the most part (save for the obvious differences in certain body parts), women were considered little men when it came to health. A revolution occurred when it was revealed that women had been excluded from most clinical trials. There was no evidence-based way to know whether a drug worked the same way in a woman as it did in a man! Little was known about any difference between the genders with regard to disease presentation or progression. Now we know better (see cardiovascular disease, to name one example).
NPWH evolved along with these new revelations about women’s health and, at the same time, continued to maintain a high degree of expertise in contraception, pregnancy, menopause, and female sexuality. Our founding mothers gave us that solid foundation.
As we enter the next decade of our organizational life, I thank all the founding mothers but, in particular, Fran Way, who was there at our founding and continues to be involved even though she has really retired this time; Miriam Manisoff, long retired, who managed the meager membership rolls from PPFA until I took them over as the first staff person for NPWH; and Sylvia Clark, our first board chair, who cheered us on until her dying day which, unfortunately, was way too soon. Thank you and all our early supporters. NPWH could not have happened without you.
Susan Wysocki, WHNP-BC, FAANP
President and CEO, NPWH