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Femtech company launches reproductive health literacy programmes for Gen Z and millennial women

The classes combine group education, one-to-one health coaching and interactive exercises

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The California-based femtech company Wingwomen has launched fertility-focused reproductive health literacy programmes to support Gen Z and millennial women.

The new programmes feature a curriculum for preconception and postnatal health for women including those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, Hashimoto’s, diabetes, preeclampsia, advanced maternal age, sickle cell disease, as well as perimenopause.

The new website hosts a range of virtual reproductive health literacy programmes which combine group education, one-to-one health coaching and interactive exercises.

The company aims to improve fertility and pregnancy outcomes amongst women who may face additional challenges to conception due to preexisting health conditions and impact positive behaviours.

The offerings come less than a year after the historic overturning of Roe v Wade, at a time when access to reproductive health care and access to reproductive health literacy programmes have become limited.

In the US, more than 18 million women face issues like infertility, miscarriage, and preterm birth.

PCOS, for example, is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting eight to 13 per cent of women of reproductive age in the US. Endometriosis is estimated to impact 10 per cent of women (190 million) globally.

“Wingwomen is on a mission to support positive health outcomes from preconception to perimenopause for Gen Z and millennial women,” said Adonica Shaw, Wingwomen founder and CEO.

“After being diagnosed with preeclampsia in 2017, I had no idea what steps I needed to take to reestablish my health, and I didn’t understand medical terminology.

“After experiencing the frustration women have around understanding their reproductive health firsthand, I wanted to create something that would make this process easier for other women and their families.

“Our team believes that by encouraging reproductive health literacy, we can contribute to healthier conception and pregnancy outcomes in the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods to benefit the next generation of mothers.”

Mark P. Trolice, M.D, Wingwomen medical board member, said: “Reproductive health disorders in women have long remained in the shadows of research and advocacy.

“Funding for vital medical studies and education are dramatically deficient and the number of women affected by these disorders is staggering. This results in impaired quality of life and negative effects on the economy from missed days of work.

“A woman facing infertility has been shown to have an equivalent emotional impact as being diagnosed with cancer or other major medical disorders,” Trolice continued.

“By understanding and gaining knowledge on managing their disease, women become empowered to potentially improve their physical and mental health.”

Dr Linda D. Bradley, Wingwomen medical board member, said: “Ameliorating poor health outcomes requires a trio of interventions: utilisation of patient educational platforms that are easily navigated, interaction with health care teams that are culturally competent, and practice cultural humility.

“The mission and vision of Wingwomen support women throughout their reproductive life cycle.”

Research has shown that low health literacy in pregnant women and those hoping to conceive, can impact their ability to find, understand, navigate, and apply health information before, during, and after pregnancy, and may be associated with maternal obesity, prolonged infertility, and complications during pregnancy and birth for both mother and child.

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Start-up raises US4.2m to address disparities in women’s mental health

LunaJoy Health seeks to address the complex needs of high-risk women

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LunaJoy Health co-founders Sipra Laddha, MD and Shama Rathi, MD

The US telehealth start-up LunaJoy Health has raised US$4.2m in funding to address disparities in women’s mental health.

LunaJoy aims to eliminate inequalities in mental health and “redesign” the way women access care.

The platform, which offers mental health therapy, counselling and medication management, is developing care models that cater to underserved populations, providing care that seeks to address the complex needs of high-risk women.

The funding round, supported by Y Combinator, FoundersX Fund, Goodwater Capital, Magic Fund, VentureSouq, Nurture Ventures and NorthSouth Ventures, is hoped to help the company expand its capabilities and close disparities in maternal health care.

“The support from our investors, coupled with the current focus on maternal health improvements through TMaH funding, sets the stage for the change we need to see so badly across the industry,” said Sipra Laddha, co-founder and CEO of LunaJoy Health.

Mental health is a lifetime pursuit, and we want to design a way to engage and support women with a variety of needs and varying degrees of risk.

“By using technology, we can measure and treat symptoms more effectively, delivering a better service model to meet rising demand and a shortage of therapists in the US.”

This financial and strategic support, Laddha said, will help LunaJoy roll out its “novel” integrated care programme, LunaCare, across select communities in need of maternal mental health.

The investment will also facilitate the integration of advanced technology solutions to enhance care coordination and patient monitoring.

Surbhi Sarna, partner at Y Combinator, said: “LunaJoy Health’s mission to bring a new standard to maternal health care for Medicaid mothers aligns perfectly with our goal of supporting scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

“We are proud to back such a vital initiative that promises significant impact.”

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New survey to ‘amplify’ marginalised voices in healthcare decision-making

UK charities enter partnership to address gender gap and advocate for inclusive healthcare policies

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The gynaecological health charity Cysters and Endometriosis UK have announced a partnership to amplify women’s voice in healthcare decision-making.

Despite progress in healthcare data collection, there remains a gap in representing the experiences of marginalised groups, particularly for those impacted by conditions and diseases like endometriosis.

Decision-makers in Parliament and the NHS often rely on data and statistics to inform policy and resource allocation. However, these datasets may not accurately reflect the experiences of marginalised communities.

A recent report from Endometriosis UK that gathered data on the experiences of being diagnosed with endometriosis in the UK found that whilst the ethnicity of respondents who identified as ‘white’ was proportionate to the data collected in the Census 2021, the remaining data was not illustrative of the ethnic diversity of the UK, with 15 per cent of respondents choosing not to respond to the ethnicity question.

To address this gap and advocate for inclusive healthcare policies, Cysters and Endometriosis UK are launching a new survey initiative aimed at amplifying the voices of marginalised groups in healthcare decision-making.

“We know that the current statistics are not inclusive of all communities, particularly marginalised groups,” said Neelam Heera-Shergill, founder of Cysters.

“By encouraging those from marginalised communities to share their experiences through this survey, they will be helping us to advocate for the changes that are needed, backed by evidence from their communities.

“In addition to delving into the diagnosis journey for people of colour and the unique barriers they encounter. We aim for this research and findings to pave the way for additional funded research on all menstrual-related conditions affecting people of colour.”

The survey seeks to gather insights into the experiences of marginalised communities, particularly concerning conditions and diseases like endometriosis.

Participants are encouraged to share their experiences openly and honestly, knowing that their responses will contribute to shaping more inclusive healthcare policies.

Sarah Harris, a researcher at Cysters, said: “We urge everyone to participate in this survey and share it far and wide. Together, we can ensure that all voices are considered in the conversation surrounding healthcare policy and resource allocation.”

The survey is anonymous and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. To participate, visit Delayed Diagnosis of Endometriosis Among People of Colour in the UK Survey.

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Menstrual care start-up launches period equity initiative across college campuses

The initiative is hoped to facilitate access to period care and educate students on the use of more sustainable products

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Cherie Hoeger, founder and CEO of Saalt

The US menstrual care start-up Saalt has launched a new initiative aimed at addressing period poverty and environmental sustainability.

The Period Equity Initiative aims to reduce 100 million tampons from the environment while combatting period poverty.

Institutions, including Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Utah and the University of Nebraska, are already participating in the programme.

One in five female college students in the US have had to decide between buying period products and paying for other basic essentials like food and other bills according to a nationwide survey.

The initiative, a direct response to the demand for more units for student populations, underscores the issue of period poverty, which affects students across America, challenging the misconception that it is solely an “overseas problem”.

Saalt aims to make period care accessible and affordable through the subsidisation of reusable period products, such as cups, discs, and period underwear, to participating universities and their campus affiliates.

The project is hoped to not only facilitate access to period care, but also educate students on the use of more sustainable products, which are designed to be reused rather than discarded.

“Every day we hear from customers about how life-changing Saalt cups are for them,” said Cherie Hoeger, founder and CEO of Saalt.

“Creating period equity and managing the environmental impact created by disposables are pressing matters that demand urgent attention and innovative solutions.

“Through our Period Equity Initiative, we’re taking a proactive approach to tackle these challenges by leveraging our expertise and aligning with universities across America to make a big impact closer to home.”

The Period Equity Initiative, Hoeger added, furthers Saalt’s commitment to making period care more affordable, accessible and sustainable.

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