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England appoints Women’s Health Ambassador to tackle gender health gap

The Women’s Health Ambassador will support the implementation of the upcoming women’s health strategy

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Women’s health and care will be improved following the appointment of Dame Lesley Regan as the government’s first ever Women’s Health Ambassador for England.

The strategy aims to tackle the gender health gap and ensure services meet the needs of women throughout their life. Bringing with her a raft of expertise spanning a 42-year career in women’s health, Dame Lesley Regan will support the implementation of the upcoming women’s health strategy.

She will continue in her role as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College London St Mary’s Hospital Campus, and remains in active clinical practice.

“Having spent my career working with and caring for women, it is a great honour to be appointed as Women’s Health Ambassador for the first government-led women’s health strategy in England,” she said.

“This is an important opportunity to get it right for women and girls, and make a real difference to 51 per cent of our population by addressing the inequalities that exist across society. I look forward to working with women, girls, health services, charities, policy makers, the government and other key partners to implement this strategy.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “The healthcare system needs to work for everyone, and I am committed to tacking inequalities which exist within it, particularly for women.

“Closing the gender health gap is critical for a fair health and care system in the future. I look forward to working closely with Dame Lesley on our shared mission to ensure all women feel listened to by the health and care system and are able to access the support and services they need.”

Closing the gender health gap is vital to the government’s wider levelling up ambition. A lack of support, awareness and understanding of health conditions specific to women can be harmful not only to the health and happiness of women, but the health of the economy.

One in four women consider leaving their job as a result of the menopause, and ensuring women have the right support in place to stay in the workplace for longer will not only enable them to live fulfilled lives, but help to boost the economy and help tackle the rising costs of living.

The Civil Service recently signed the Wellbeing of Women Menopause Workplace Pledge, committing to ensuring those going through the menopause are supported.

Dame Lesley will be instrumental in driving forward the system-level changes needed to close the gender health gap and eradicating deep seated biases.

“Since we launched our Women’s Health call for evidence over a year ago, we have made great progress in raising the profile of women’s health,” said Maria Caulfield, Minister for Women’s Health. “From the formation of the UK-wide menopause taskforce and publication of our vision document, to legislating to ban hymenoplasty and virginity testing and appointing a chair of the HRT taskforce to help more menopausal women access this lifeline medication.

“The appointment of Dame Lesley as the Women’s Health Ambassador for England is yet another step in the right direction to giving women’s health the platform and profile it needs.”

She added that: “We are embarking on an important journey to eradicate the gender health gap. There is no quick fix. But I look forward to working together with Dame Lesley as we take the next steps to implement our women’s health strategy and beyond.”

The appointment of Dame Lesley will be followed by the appointment of a deputy ambassador who will work closely with her and be responsible for increasing awareness of the women’s health strategy and its ambitions, better understanding the barriers and issues of concern of under-served groups of women and girls.

This is the latest step taken by the government to ensure women’s healthcare needs are met. This includes taking action to increase access and reduce the cost of HRT meaning women can pay a one-off charge equivalent to two single prescription charges, currently £18.70, for all their HRT prescriptions for a year.

The government hopes that the creation of a prepayment certificate will mean women can access HRT on a month-by-month basis if need be, easing pressure on supply, while keeping the cost of HRT low. The system will be implemented by April 2023.

 

Sorina Mihaila is the Femtech World editor, covering technology, research and innovation in women's health. Sorina is also a contributor for the neuro-rehabilitation magazine NR Times.

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Tech4Eva launches its fourth edition and call for application

Tech4Eva is searching for entrepreneurs ready to address the unmet health needs of women worldwide

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Tech4Eva, a pioneering accelerator programme dedicated to the femtech sector, is opening its call for applications, inviting femtech start-ups to join its mission to improve women’s health.

The programme is searching for entrepreneurs ready to address the unmet health needs of women worldwide, promising to help entrepreneurs to take their start-ups to the next level.

What is Tech4Eva?

Tech4Eva, is a joint programme between EPFL Innovation Park and Groupe Mutuel for companies developing innovative technology solutions to improve women’s health globally.

What is Tech4Eva looking for? 
Why join?

Applying to the Tech4Eva accelerator programme is a pivotal step for any femtech start-up looking to elevate its impact and reach in the women’s health sector.

Here is an overview of the benefits the programme offers:

  • Strategic refinement: Sharpen your business model and go-to-market strategy with expert guidance, positioning your start-up for sustainable growth and success.
  • Enhanced visibility: Participate in roadshows to showcase your innovative solutions, broadening your exposure to key stakeholders in the Tech4Eva femtech ecosystem.
  • Direct connections: Gain invaluable access to a network of investors and potential customers.
  • Personalised coaching: Receive targeted technical and business coaching tailored to your start-up’s unique challenges.
  • Peer learning: Benefit from Peer2Peer sessions that foster exchange of insights and experiences with fellow founders.
  • Community engagement: Become an integral part of a global femtech community, connecting with like-minded innovators committed to transforming women’s health.
The time is now

This is more than a call for applications, it’s a call to action. The Tech4Eva accelerator programme offers more than growth – it offers a chance to be part of a movement set to redefine the future of women’s health.

If your start-up is ready to take the next step, your time is now. Apply here to join the Tech4Eva programme now.

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Investors launch female-focused angel network in the north of England

The Leeds-based group aims to build a diverse investment community for women entrepreneurs in the north of England

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Two UK-based businesswomen have launched an angel investment network to back women-led start-ups in the north of England.

Co-founded by Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham, Lifted Ventures was launched based on research showing that female-led businesses generate on average double the revenue for each pound invested, despite receiving minimal funding.

Funding has been identified as a top barrier for women in tech and business, with the Alison Rose Review revealing that less than one per cent of all venture funding goes to all-female-founded start-ups.

Dargue and Oldham, who led the NorthInvest angel network and co-founded Fund Her North and Women Angels of the North, said they came together to this new venture to build on their work in closing the early-stage gender and ethnic funding gap in the UK.

The Leeds-based group aims to build a diverse investment community for women entrepreneurs in the north of England, planning to create networks for angels and supply its capital to women-led startups.

“Too often the conversation focuses on disparity, gender funding gaps, barriers and challenges. Lifted Ventures is focusing on opportunity,” said Oldham, co-founder of Lifted Ventures and board member of the UK Business Angels Association, told UKTN.

“One of our main aims is to educate and inform investors on the proven business benefits and greater economic returns which result from supporting female-founded businesses.”

Lifted’s angel networks, Oldham said, would include education programmes to support new and experienced investors who want to gain a better understanding of how to back female-led businesses.

“We understand that female-led businesses and women angels need tailored pathways to ensure that they’re successful,” explained Jordan, co-founder of Lifted Ventures.

“The education programmes we’re developing aim to provide investors and founders alike with the practical resources and knowledge they need to ensure success.”

She aded: “We believe that investment should be accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background, ethnicity, gender, neuro or physical diversity.”

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US maternity clinic raises a US$28m to expand nationally

Oula plans to expand its hybrid care approach and launch new services for those in their reproductive years

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The US maternity care clinic Oula has raised a US$28m in funding to introduce new services and expand nationally.

Oula aims to brings together the best of midwifery and obstetrics to deliver, what the start-up describes as, “whole-person” care.

Since its launch in 2021, the clinic, which can currently be found in three locations in New York City, has focused on providing a better care experience for women, combing modern medicine with a more personalised approach.

Now, with nearly US$50m in total funding, Oula plans to expand its hybrid care approach to more markets beyond New York City and launch new services for those in their reproductive years.

“The power of Oula’s collaborative approach to care is that patients feel seen and heard during a transformative moment in their lives, health systems are able to address the evolving expectations of their communities and we can move the needle on unacceptable outcomes and disparities in maternal care,” explained Adrianne Nickerson, co-founder and CEO and of Oula.

Elaine Purcell, co-founder and COO of Oula, said: “We’ve not only proven that this model works, but that it’s what patients from all backgrounds, birth preferences, and income levels are looking for.

“Whether you can afford concierge care or are on Medicaid, we are building a modern and compassionate pregnancy care model that delivers better outcomes than the system has proven to do. We deserve better and yes, you can have it all.”

Clara Sieg, partner and founding member at Revolution Ventures, which co-led the funding round alongside Maverick Ventures, said: “Pregnancy outcomes in the US have consistently deteriorated over the past two decades.

“Oula is solving this mounting crisis by reimagining the maternal experience with midwifery-first, team-based care supported by virtual wrap-around services and a tech-enabled platform.

“We are excited to partner with the team as Oula scales its care model and empowers women to receive personalised, trusted support throughout pregnancy.”

David Singer of Maverick Ventures, added: “We are thrilled to back a company that effectively aligns the needs of mothers, health systems and payers, and breaks the false binary between unmedicalised and hypermedicalised care.”

Instead of waiting for the standard eight-week ultrasound, Oula allows patients to book an appointment as soon as their positive pregnancy test, supporting patients in the postpartum period.

The clinic also plans to introduce pre-conception coaching visits and expanded miscarriage support options in the coming year.

Joanne Schneider, Oula’s chief experience officer, said: “Oula is distinct in the pregnancy landscape today not only in redesigning the standard pregnancy and birth experience, but also in filling the gaps where the medical system typically fails patients: early pregnancy care and postpartum. Even when there aren’t any medical needs, these are times when people need emotional support.

She added: “Miscarriages are extremely common, so I was shocked at how isolated I felt when I had my own miscarriage. It’s not considered a big deal medically, but it’s a very big deal when you are going through it.”

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