Caring for Lives the Community
Women's Health Initiative
In 2001, doctors and hospital administrators determined that one of the greatest areas of need at General Hospital is to improve the quality of care provided to women patients, and specifically to increase General's capacity for the early detection of breast cancer. In these meetings, it became increasingly evident that the problem went far beyond the need to increase lifesaving diagnostic services. The SFGH Foundation was urged to look at a campaign designed to address the needs of "the whole woman."
Programs funded through the SFGH Foundation Women's Health Initiative include:
The Women's Breastfeeding CenterMission: to Provide a Baby-Friendly Environment that Enables More Women to Breastfeed Located in the Women's Health Center, the Women's Breastfeeding Center offers many services that provide support and encouragement for breastfeeding. Staffed by an IBCLC (International Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Counselor) and several certified lactation counselors who provide individual help to breastfeeding mothers in at least five different languages (English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese) with other languages available through interpreter services. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding." There is evidence suggesting breastfeeding may decrease the rate of sudden infant death syndrome during the first year of life, infection, obesity, overweight, diabetes, and asthma (among others) in older children and adults. Breastfeeding has also been associated with increased cognitive development. The Breastfeeding Center offers resources, encouragement, and materials to help mothers breastfeed. A Breastfeeding Support Group meets twice a week, which provides support and encouragement to continue breastfeeding. The IBCLC and lactation specialists help with issues and questions related to breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Center also has a book and video library loan program for both our prenatal and breastfeeding mothers, and offers numerous breastfeeding supplies such as electric and manual breast pumps, nursing pads, freezer bags, and Lansinoh cream. Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Center:Low-income women in the Bay Area die of breast cancer at twice the rate of their more affluent peers. Low income women have less access to regular screenings and examination. The new Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Care Center will double SFGH's mammography capacity to 10,000 screenings annually and contribute to ongoing breast cancer research. This new 4,500 square foot facility will provide state-of-the-art digital mammography, expanded diagnostic services, multi-lingual patient education, and clinical research trials to help give all women a better chance of survival.
Women's Options Center:The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is not a meaningful choice unless you have access to an abortion when you need it, in an environment that is safe and sensitive. The Women's Options Center at SFGH is the provider of choice for women with complicated cases such as mental health issues, high blood pressure or rape trauma. The Center receives referrals from private clinics unwilling to perform services at Medi-Cal rates. The Women's Options Center is one of the fastest growing programs at the hospital, serving women from San Francisco and the broader Northern California area. The Center provides a caring, comfortable and secure setting for patients making delicate decisions regarding family planning. Improvements to Women's Clinics:Women's health services are scattered all over the Hospital, sometimes making it impossible for an already overwhelmed patient to navigate the complex systems she must cope with to receive treatment. Improvements to the physical layout and to inter-departmental communication systems will allow General Hospital to provide "wrap around care" that integrates multiple services for women.
Educational and Outreach Services:Many patients seen at SFGH come from households where English is not the primary language spoken, or from a background where English language literacy skills are limited. In order to make diagnosis and treatment less bewildering, SFGH must employ education techniques such as picture-driven computer terminals, translators, and a staff that is culturally sensitive.