New York, NY (PRWEB) October 30, 2013
Through the Teen Health Awareness Campaign, launched earlier this year with Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) co-founder Padma Lakshmi, New York State Senator Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, and members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), the New York State Department of Health has recognized the importance of combating three diseases that cause significant harm to young people – endometriosis, obesity, and alcohol and substance abuse – and has asked the Endometriosis Foundation of America to take action.
In response, this month the Endometriosis Foundation of America is launching its adolescent outreach and education program, Endometriosis Nation Promoting Outreach and Wide Recognition (ENPOWR). The program is designed to educate adolescents about the signs and symptoms of endometriosis in order to increase awareness and to promote early intervention.
“This is a disease that affects one in ten women in the United States and 176 million women worldwide,” said Lakshmi, who was diagnosed with the disease when she was 36. “Many of these women are misdiagnosed or don’t get diagnosed for at least a decade. We have to do something to change that.”
Funded with $200,000 in seed money from Senator Klein through the Teen Health Awareness campaign, the Endometriosis Foundation of America hired a Director of Education and Outreach who is now visiting young people at schools and other community-based organizations to present information about endometriosis symptoms and treatments. The outreach program is designed to act as a compelling tool for empowering youth to spread the word about endometriosis to others, as well as to seek medical attention for themselves, if necessary.
“Finally, endometriosis is recognized as the devastating disease it is, as it is now joined with two of the most visible and critical health issues facing our youth. The Teen Health Awareness Campaign is the first initiative in the United States focused on including endometriosis as a disease equivalent to obesity, and alcohol and substance abuse,” said Mady Schuman, Executive Director of the EFA. “The triumvirate created here is a milestone for women’s health and healthcare in general. Increasing knowledge about endometriosis and treatment is an important way to increase diagnosis rates, yet few education interventions have addressed these topics. Through ENPOWR, we will educate teens in middle schools and high schools statewide, as well as educate the three key groups who have contact with adolescent females; parents, healthcare staff and school staff.”
In addition to ENPOWR, Lakshmi and Senator Klein are engaged in a media campaign encouraging teens across New York State to take part in an online survey, http://www.TeenHealthNY.com, asking them to “weigh-in” on how much they know about these three important health issues. The survey, also part of the Teen Health Awareness campaign, is online now and will provide the EFA and NYS policymakers with input straight from the source about where additional educational resources may be needed.
The Teen Health Awareness campaign is going to be funded partly through a newly created Healthy Teen Awareness and Education Fund. The IDC, which included the Fund as part of this year’s Senate budget resolution, is hoping to raise as much as $1 million for the Fund’s programs through voluntary taxpayer donations, beginning next year. If enacted in the state’s final budget package this year, the Healthy Teen Awareness and Education Fund will appear as a “check-off box” on all future state income tax forms. The check-off box will enable New Yorkers to make donations directly on their tax form.
For more information on ENPOWR or the Teen Health Awareness Campaign, please visit http://www.endofound.org or call the EFA at 212.988.4160.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) strives to increase disease recognition, provide advocacy, facilitate expert surgical training, and fund landmark endometriosis research. Engaged in a robust campaign to inform both the medical community and the public, the EFA places particular emphasis on the critical importance of early diagnosis and effective intervention while simultaneously providing education to the next generation of medical professionals and their patients. For more information visit http://www.endofound.org.