August 17, 2022, is Nationwide Nonprofit Day.
HealthyWomen’s unique founder, Violet Bowen-Hugh, M.D., was a drive of nature. Born and raised in Clendenin, West Virginia, Bowen-Hugh got here from an underprivileged background, which impressed her to create a spot the place ladies, regardless of their socioeconomic standing, had entry to dependable well being data. As an academically gifted lady who graduated on the high of her class, Bowen-Hugh was the primary lady in her household to finish highschool. She went on to attend school and, upon her commencement, started a profession in accounting.
Bowen-Hugh made a very good life for herself, however she had a deeply rooted need to assist others. And in the summertime of 1954, she realized that need might not be denied. Impressed by a feminine doctor — certainly one of solely 48 feminine docs within the state — who was treating her nephew within the hospital, she determined to comply with her dream and attend medical college.
After graduating, Bowen-Hugh turned a resident on the Columbia Hospital for Ladies, certainly one of solely seven ladies’s hospitals on the time, the place she practiced obstetrics and gynecology, finally changing into head of the division. Nonetheless not able to cease dreaming, Bowen-Hugh continued preventing for increased high quality healthcare for ladies and advocated for extra analysis to be performed on well being points particular to ladies.
It was this advocacy that alerted Bowen-Hugh to the dearth of scientifically correct details about ladies’s healthcare wants, which led to the creation of the Nationwide Ladies’s Well being Useful resource Middle (NWHRC) in 1988. Ultimately rebranded to HealthyWomen in 2009, NWHRC was created to understand Bowen-Hugh’s dream of offering ladies with medically vetted, trusted details about their healthcare issues and to reply questions on diagnoses and supply suggestions for wholesome residing.
The NWHRC started as a 1-800 quantity that girls might name for details about medical situations they’d been identified with and common well being recommendation. The lady who answered the cellphone was Beth Battaglino. Much like Bowen-Hugh’s origin story, Battaglino started by acquiring levels in enterprise and political science however at all times knew she needed to be a nurse. To get her foot within the door, she utilized for a volunteer coordinator place at Columbia Hospital for Ladies, however the recruiter noticed one thing particular in Battaglino and really useful she work for the NWHRC as a substitute. In the course of the day, Battaglino labored as a part of this well being useful resource for ladies, and she or he studied to be a registered nurse at night time. Over time, the group flourished and started branching out into new methods to tell its target market. Considered one of its hottest choices was a bimonthly publication that centered on well being situations distinctive to ladies. This text was the precursor to our standard Actual Ladies, Actual Tales collection, as ladies shared their experiences with completely different diagnoses in every version. Together with the publication, Battaglino additionally created a database of present well being matters, assets, organizations and assist teams that the NWHRC might present its callers, which turned the template for the HealthyWomen web site.
Beth Battaglino speaks on the fifth Annual HealthyWomen Occasion, March 2022
The mid-’90s noticed a push to combine ladies’s well being and wellness into current way of life publications like Cosmopolitan and Redbook, and the normalization of discussing ladies’s well being matters allowed the NWHRC to make a reputation for itself. Nonetheless, the late ’90s introduced monetary woes to Columbia Hospital and its closing was imminent. Recognizing that the NWHRC was nonetheless a necessary useful resource, Battaglino and two of her colleagues developed a marketing strategy to take over the NWHRC and hold it working — a plan that paved the best way for HealthyWomen to return into existence. Because the small however mighty group of girls labored to maintain the NWHRC afloat, they acquired a name from representatives at Johnson and Johnson who needed to be taught extra concerning the group and the way the 2 firms might associate. Battaglino’s ensuing pitch led to a grant that not solely saved the useful resource middle in existence however allowed the NWHRC to be much more bold than earlier than. Recognizing that the general public and the media’s curiosity in well being and wellness wasn’t abating anytime quickly, Battaglino created a advertising and marketing plan that positioned the middle as a go-to useful resource for ladies’s way of life manufacturers and magazines and well being editors. This led to partnerships with manufacturers like Prevention and Mattress, Tub & Past.
As time and know-how superior, the NWHRC transitioned into the web house by changing into the primary ever web site that comprehensively addressed ladies’s well being and wellness points, and in 2009, it rebranded as HealthyWomen. Since then, the positioning was acknowledged by Forbes Journal as a high web site for ladies three years in a row, and Oprah Journal acknowledged the positioning as its high ladies’s well being web site in 2010.
Over time, Battaglino’s position at HealthyWomen has advanced, and she or he turned CEO in 2006, positioning HealthyWomen because the go-to well being useful resource for ladies.
For greater than three a long time, ladies have relied on HealthyWomen’s extremely researched and dependable data to interact, educate and empower them.
It’s been an honor to be a corporation that girls depend on — and one the HealthyWomen group hasn’t taken flippantly at any time in our historical past.
Hearken to our CEO discuss extra concerning the historical past and evolution of HealthyWomen.