What You Need To Know About The Global Women's Health Initiative Project

 An accomplished physical therapist, Dr. Rebecca Stephenson dedicated much of her life to the research of a variety of topics within women’s health, including high-risk pregnancy, breast cancer and pelvic disorders. The primary author of the second edition of Obstetrics and Gynecologic Care in Physical Therapy, she is one of the foremost authorities on how physical therapy can be used to improve recovery from surgery, illness and injury.

 Recognizing the potential for physical therapy to aid the recovery of women in developing countries who did not have access to medical services, Dr. Stephenson partnered with Terry Benedict, a filmmaker known for works like The Conscientious Objector and the founder of the Shae Foundation, to establish the Global Women’s Health Initiative in 2015.

They began connecting with therapists and healthcare providers around the world to develop a network that could serve women dealing with health issues that often require simple, short-term solutions, such as breast health checks, prolapse, and osteoporosis. In the past three years, they have served women in several countries, including Ethiopia, Nepal, and Niger. Here are some things everyone should know about this up-and-coming nonprofit:

 

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They offer scholarships.

 

 

 More specifically, they offer them to female students interested in attending the Women in Physical Therapy Summit, a national conference held across the country for women who are currently working in the field of physical therapy or preparing to enter a career in the industry. Attendees have the chance to network with industry leaders and influencers, and use the knowledge gained at this event to help further the organization’s cause while representing the GWHI as a student ambassador.

Upon returning from the event, the student representative spends the next year serving as an ambassador for GWHI developing marketing, social media and fundraising plans alongside the current board members— a unique opportunity for students who are interested in working as a physical therapist or managing a business or nonprofit related to kinesiology.

 

Their volunteers are making a difference in the world.

 

 Most of the health issues treated by representatives of the GWHI are problems that would be considered short-term and easily treatable in most developed nations. Some of the most common services they offer are teaching pregnant and post-partum women effective exercises to relieve common pains associated with pregnancy, including cramps, back pain and difficulties walking.

They also encourage the women they meet to perform regular wellness checks and teach them to how to detect and evaluate signs of serious diseases, like breast or cervical cancer, and obtain proper treatment for them at local health centers.

Even after they leave, the knowledge they impart stays with the people – volunteers train local health professionals in each area they visit to assess and treat common issues and injuries faced by people in their community.

 

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They believe empowered women empower women.

 

 One of the main areas that the GWHI focuses its efforts on is in developing educational programs for women in developing countries who are interested in becoming physical therapists, nurses or doctors to better serve their communities. By educating these women, they empower them and offer them an opportunity to become financially independent while helping other women gain access to the medical treatment they need.

The GWHI regularly fundraises for these educational programs and partner with other organizations that offer similar opportunities, such as the Worldwide Fistula Fund, which also offers medical training programs for women in developing countries. These efforts began largely because the women serving on the board of the GWHI recognized how their work to empower others could have a lasting impact on these communities.

 

The GWHI is still a small non-profit, but it’s growing quickly. Headed by several talented individuals often hailed as pioneers in their field, this organization has the potential to set the global standard for physical therapy services.