By Laura Horne
The Tulane Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (TUXCOE) increases women’s health collaboration among the Tulane/Xavier-affiliated communities and strives to enhance women’s health through communication, empowerment and prevention.
Senior program manager Stacey Cunningham believes that the center’s work, although concentrated in local regions such as Tremé, Algiers, and St. Bernard Parish, also has a global impact.
“Our work cuts across boundaries and locations, because women’s health is particularly necessary for community development,” says Cunningham, who served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and Guyana before working with the TUXCOE center. “Studies have shown that when girls are educated and moms are healthy, this allows for advancement in their communities.”
TUXCOE strives to provide for the mental and physical well-being for all women across the lifespan through four core programs: patient clinical care that is welcoming and comfortable for women, health information and education through a collaborative network of community partners, interdisciplinary research on women’s health, and leadership development programs for women in New Orleans.
“Healthy moms make healthy families, healthy families make healthy communities, and healthy communities make a healthy world,” says Cunningham. “Thus, when the women in a community are healthy, the whole community benefits.”
The center improves women’s health through a capacity-building approach that is global in nature. By looking for opportunities to collaborate with communities and providing the information and tools to support them, they help women work toward their own goals, within their own context.
“We look to apply what has been learned elsewhere and create products, procedures, and approaches that can be applied anywhere,” says Cunningham. “We’re not limited by what has been done in the past or even in the United States.”
Whether public health practitioners are working in the United States or in another country, Cunningham believes that everyone has a responsibility to contribute to global health. “In the United States, we have a stake in the health of communities in Kenya. Healthy Kenya means a healthy planet.”