As the inaugural chair of the Department of Women’s Health, I am aware of my responsibility to the people of Austin and Travis County to not only improve the care for women and children in our area, but to demonstrate a model for other communities and the nation.
With input from multiple groups and partners, we will address some significant challenges, including health care disparities. The challenges women face in obtaining health related resources before pregnancy (preconception), and in accessing care between pregnancies (interconception) has led to episodic care that does not allow for continuous assessment and treatment of underlying disease. Importantly, increased acuity affects not only the health of the mother, but the health of her children as well. This challenge is one that we are already beginning to address with our partners in the Community Care Collaborative, which is focused on developing an integrated delivery system that integrates health services within a structure that also addresses social determinants of health.