Gov. Steve Beshear joined the Kentucky Commission on Women (KCW), the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the University of Louisville Healthcare at the Park DuValle Community Health Center in Jefferson County today to unveil a new bilingual, interactive wellness kiosk that provides important health information especially for women.
The bilingual touch-screen kiosk provides a wide range of information on general women's wellness and breast health, including symptoms and treatment options for diabetes, asthma, cancers, weight management, smoking cessation, STDs, depression, heart health, domestic violence, breast health and HIV-AIDS. Each topic is programmed with women's health stories, preventive measures, suggested follow-up questions to ask a healthcare provider and encouragement to visit a medical professional. The kiosk also includes a telephone that is programmed to connect the user with immediate assistance, if needed or desired.
"Women are often so concerned with taking care of their children, their spouse, their parents and other loved ones that they put off taking time to care for themselves," said Gov. Beshear. "Providing easy access to important health information will allow visitors to this center to quickly get answers to the questions they have about their own health, receive counseling from a health care provider if they want additional information or put them in touch with a physician if they feel they need further evaluation."
According to the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C., Kentucky's female population ranks in the bottom third of nearly every women's health indicator. After hosting two women's health summits and gathering input from 62 agencies, partners and organizations, the KCW believes that the root of the problem is getting women to take control of their health.
"Health statistics for Kentucky women are alarming. It is essential that we take steps toward reversing them," said First Lady Jane Beshear. "The first step toward wellness is education, and Jefferson County's new interactive kiosk will be a critical tool in informing women about health risks and providing them with information on where to get help."
The kiosk design is similar to that of an automated teller machine. Health information is provided in a manner that serves multiple reading abilities for easy comprehension and recollection. The touch-screen technology attracts visitors and allows for the information to be provided in both audio and visual formats to appeal to a broader audience.
"The kiosk itself is not a new device, but using it to function as a wellness guide where the underserved can access a vast amount of general health information, navigate easily and locate assistance, could prove to be the innovative wave of the future, and certainly is a new concept to Kentucky," said KCW Executive Director Eleanor Jordan. "This is a fun way to get women to be inquisitive about their health and gently encourage behavior toward wellness and prevention. The more of these kiosks we place in targeted areas where they can become a "private trusted source,' the greater chance we have of empowering women and, over time, changing the health and wellbeing statistics for Kentucky's women."
The Park DuValle kiosk is the first of several that the KCW hopes to place in underserved areas around the state.
"Often during visits to a health care provider, patients may not know what to ask concerning their health conditions," said Park DuValle Community Health Center Chief Administrative Officer Ann Hagan-Grigsby. "Park DuValle Community Health Center is excited to be the first place in Kentucky where health education information is literally at the patients' fingertips. This innovative use of technology provides a safe and private resource for women to get answers about health concerns and information about what to ask their doctors. We hope that use of the Women's Wellness Information Guide will ultimately help to improve health awareness and outcomes."
The kiosk was developed by St. Andrew Development Inc. of Pennsylvania, and was purchased with a federal grant provided to the HIV-AIDS Branch of CHFS, a portion of which was designated to fund this outreach program.
"We were immediately attracted to this project because of its comprehensive approach, cultural competency and literacy-level appropriate manner using multicultural images and audio of women," said Sigga Jagne, manager of the HIV-AIDS Branch in the CHFS Department for Public Health. "This is a wonderful tool that makes the user feel like she is listening to a girlfriend talk about health issues."
"Our work with the Kentucky Commission on Women is evidence of this administration's commitment to making sure that all Kentucky women have ready access to healthy lifestyle information," said Frank McKee of St. Andrew Development. "We applaud their efforts and consider ourselves privileged to be working with such a fine agency advancing a very noble cause."