August 17, 2022, is National Nonprofit Day.
HealthyWomen’s authentic founder, Violet Bowen-Hugh, M.D., was a power 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 girls, irrespective of their socioeconomic standing, had entry to dependable well being info. As an academically gifted girl who graduated on the high of her class, Bowen-Hugh was the primary girl in her household to finish highschool. She went on to attend faculty and, upon her commencement, started a profession in accounting.
Bowen-Hugh made a superb life for herself, however she had a deeply rooted want to assist others. And in the summertime of 1954, she realized that want may now not be denied. Inspired by a feminine doctor — considered 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 faculty.
After graduating, Bowen-Hugh turned a resident on the Columbia Hospital for Women, considered one of solely seven girls’s hospitals on the time, the place she practiced obstetrics and gynecology, ultimately changing into head of the division. Still not able to cease dreaming, Bowen-Hugh continued combating for increased high quality healthcare for ladies and advocated for extra analysis to be achieved on well being points particular to girls.
It was this advocacy that alerted Bowen-Hugh to the shortage of scientifically correct details about girls’s healthcare wants, which led to the creation of the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC) in 1988. Eventually rebranded to HealthyWomen in 2009, NWHRC was created to understand Bowen-Hugh’s dream of offering girls with medically vetted, trusted details about their healthcare considerations and to reply questions on diagnoses and supply suggestions for wholesome residing.
The NWHRC started as a 1-800 quantity that girls may name for details about medical circumstances they’d been recognized with and common well being recommendation. The girl who answered the telephone was Beth Battaglino. Similar to Bowen-Hugh’s origin story, Battaglino started by acquiring levels in enterprise and political science however all the time knew she wished to be a nurse. To get her foot within the door, she utilized for a volunteer coordinator place at Columbia Hospital for Women, however the recruiter noticed one thing particular in Battaglino and really useful she work for the NWHRC as an alternative. During 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 evening. Over time, the group flourished and started branching out into new methods to tell its target market. One of its hottest choices was a bimonthly publication that centered on well being circumstances distinctive to girls. This publication was the precursor to our well-liked Real Women, Real Stories collection, as girls shared their experiences with totally different diagnoses in every version. Along with the publication, Battaglino additionally created a database of present well being subjects, assets, organizations and assist teams that the NWHRC may present its callers, which turned the template for the HealthyWomen web site.
Beth Battaglino speaks on the fifth Annual HealthyWomen Event, March 2022
The mid-’90s noticed a push to combine girls’s well being and wellness into present way of life publications like Cosmopolitan and Redbook, and the normalization of discussing girls’s well being subjects allowed the NWHRC to make a reputation for itself. However, the late ’90s introduced monetary woes to Columbia Hospital and its closing was imminent. Recognizing that the NWHRC was nonetheless a vital 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. As the small however mighty crew of girls labored to maintain the NWHRC afloat, they obtained a name from representatives at Johnson and Johnson who wished to study extra concerning the group and the way the 2 corporations may 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 formidable 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 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 Bed, Bath & Beyond.
As time and expertise superior, the NWHRC transitioned into the net house by changing into the primary ever web site that comprehensively addressed girls’s well being and wellness points, and in 2009, it rebranded as HealthyWomen. Since then, the location was acknowledged by Forbes Magazine as a high web site for ladies three years in a row, and Oprah Magazine acknowledged the location as its high girls’s well being web site in 2010.
Over time, Battaglino’s function 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 many years, girls have trusted HealthyWomen’s extremely researched and dependable info to have interaction, educate and empower them.
It’s been an honor to be a company that girls depend on — and one the HealthyWomen crew hasn’t taken evenly at any time in our historical past.
Listen to our CEO discuss extra concerning the historical past and evolution of HealthyWomen.