In 2003, the University of Arizona was awarded the prestigious designation as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (WCOE) from the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. The WCOE joined the ranks of 20 other institutions offering national models of comprehensive and innovative health care solutions for women.
The mission of the WCOE is to improve the health and wellness of women throughout the lifecycle, with an emphasis on underserved girls and women. The WCOE has as its core values to implement programs and conduct research that is girl/woman-centered, culturally competent, linguistically accessible, evidence-based and cost-effective. Our goal is to deliver programs that take a life course approach to the health of girls and women and that are responsive to the context of their lives.
Currently the WCOE leads a five-year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to avert cervical cancer through community-based initiatives in partnership with schools, local government and community-based organizations. Additionally, the WCOE is one of four lead entities for the National Children’s Study (NCS) Arizona Study Center. The NCS is a multi-year research project that investigates the influence of environmental factors on the health and development of more than 100,000 children by following them prior to birth and up to age 21.
When funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services ended, the WCOE sustained itself through institutional support and diversification of its financial portfolio. Through multiple community and academic collaborations the WCOE has become known as a resource for information on girls’ and women’s health.