Women’s Health is a huge priority for the Wellness Program at Star C. Because most of our residents are refugees, they truly represent women from around the world, most specifically, the third world. As third world women, they haven’t experienced the modern luxuries that western women take for granted: sex education, safe and accessible birth control, pre-natal care, epidurals, tampons. The list could go on and on.
Our mission in the Star C Wellness program is to provide all of our residents access to medical care, resources and education. Our female residents happen to be the ones with the most un-met needs. Here’s why: The majority of our residents have limited English proficiency which results in a number of them working jobs that require hard, physical labor and little communication. As a result, many of these jobs go to men. This factor combined with traditional culture leads to many women not working and staying at home. Because the women are home and the men work long hours, often far from home, the women are commonly the ones taking care of everything else for the household. Fortunately, it’s common for these labor jobs to offer health insurance, but most of the time the husband gets coverage and can’t afford the premium for his wife. The children are usually eligible for Medicaid, leaving the mother as the only one without health insurance. In the end, the women in our community – the ones who tend carefully to their husband’s and their children’s needs – aren’t able to take care of their own health.
In addition to scheduling residents for annual exams with an OBGYN at Oakhurst Medical Center, we bring experts on-site to teach women about their bodies and how to take care of themselves at the various stages of womanhood. These classes cover female anatomy, family planning options, feminine hygiene methods, breast health, HIV and STD prevention, to name a few. Most recently, we held a class taught by Lorrie King (MPH).