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Downstate Women Urged to Help Medical Research

Sign up for Illinois Women’s Health Registry, Lt. Gov. Simon says

SPRINGFIELD --- Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon encouraged Southern and Central Illinois women to improve medical research and treatment by signing up for the Illinois Women’s Health Registry. The registry was created and is maintained by the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The registry is designed to help medical professionals understand why diseases affect women differently than men. Currently most of the women enrolled are from the Chicago area, so downstate women’s health needs may be under-represented.   

Simon’s message yesterday came as she presented a proclamation from Gov. Pat Quinn declaring the day Women’s Health Day. She was joined by officials from Northwestern’s Feinberg School -- who arranged to get the proclamation –- and from the Illinois Dept. Public Health and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“As women we are often juggling careers, volunteer work, families and any number of things,” said Simon. “It is easy for us to put our health on the back burner. But I encourage women, particularly in downstate communities, to take 30 minutes to participate in the Illinois Women’s Health Registry. Just 30 minutes could help improve the quality of health care through Illinois for generations to come.”

The registry enables women to take a confidential survey that contains questions about family health history, stress and other issues affecting their health. Beyond influencing research, the registry helps women understand their own health needs.

“The registry will help researchers include more women in their studies so we can better understand how and why illnesses develop in women, how to understand sex and gender differences and what women can do to lead healthier lives,” said Teresa Woodruff, director of the Women’s Health Research Institute.  “Women are the health navigators for their families, and we believe that healthy women lead to a healthy state.”

For the latest in women’s health research visit the institute’s blog.

To celebrate National Women’s Health Week, the institute held a special event May 14 featuring posters on current local research on women’s health and a lecture on nutrition and women’s health. 

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