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Indiana State Department of Health

Office of Women's Health Office of Women's Health

Welcome to Indiana State Department of Health’s Office of Women’s Health webpage.  The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) is so pleased that you have chosen to learn about how our state is working to help improve the health of women.  We believe that every woman should have access to free, up-to-date and reliable resources to find out information about her health.  The Office of Women’s Health wants to ensure that each woman and girl in Indiana is aware of her own health status, risks and goals, and can achieve optimal health through access, education and advocacy.  Our website is inclusive of all OWH’s programs, and has a page of resources to help guide you in improving your health.  If you have any questions or need information that is not included on our website, please feel free to call 317-233-9156 or email  Thank you so much for visiting our site, and we wish you good health!

Warmest regards,
Laura Chavez, MPH, CLC, CHPE
Director, Office of Women’s Health

News to Use

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and normal acts in which a new mother can engage with her newborn.   It provides warmth, nutrition, engagement and constant opportunity for new mothers to learn about and bond with their new babies.  However, just because breastfeeding is natural, does not mean it comes naturally to a new mother and baby.  Many women struggle the first few weeks before breastfeeding becomes well-established.  It is vital that every new mother be surrounded by ample support during the first six weeks after her baby is born to ensure that breastfeeding is successful. 

There are many ways that you can help support a new breastfeeding mom in your life: 

  • Don’t be embarrassed!  Allow mom to nurse her newborn in front of you just like she would if she were providing a bottle;
  • Take on some responsibilities.  A new mom’s only job is nursing her baby.  Don’t ask if she needs help with dishes, laundry or childcare, just assume she does and offer to lend a hand! 
  • Be a resource, not a barrier!  If mom is getting frustrated or overwhelmed with nursing, help her connect to a lactation consultant, WIC or the La Leche League for help instead of encouraging her to stop nursing; 
  • Know that breast is best.  Many people are unaware of the current recommendations for nursing moms and babies and mistakenly give incorrect advice.  Take a breastfeeding class with mom to learn! 
  • Build the right environment.  Set up a nursing station next to the mother’s favorite nursing chair. Water is a must, but you may also include reading material, clean cloth diapers (for burps), TV remote, ipod and/or telephone.

For more information on breastfeeding support and resources, please visit the Maternal and Child Health division’s website at  Or health professionals can reference the CDC’s Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies at

Spotlight on Women's Health

Diabetes, the most common disorder of the endrocrine (hormone) system, occurs when blood sugar levels in the body consistently stay above normal.  Diabetes can lead to very serious complications for women and can lead to disability or premature death.  There are many risk factors for diabetes, including, but not limited to:

  • A parent or sibling with diabetes;
  • Physical inactivity;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • Women who have a history of Gestational Diabetes or had a baby weighing more than nine pounds;
  • Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome;
  • History of low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides or high blood pressure;
  • Carrying excessive weight around the abdominal area;
  • Smoking; and
  • Certain medications.

There are many ways to prevent or take steps to manage your diabetes.  The Indiana State Department of Health has many resources to help you determine your risk and help you find ways to get healthier.  Some steps to take include:

  • See your doctor.  Your doctor is your best partner in determining your risk for developing diabetes, or helping you manage your symptoms.  If you do not have health insurance, visit the HIP 2.0 website to learn about affordable options available to help.
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  This might mean taking steps to eat healthier foods and exercise more.  For great tips and support to live a healthier life, visit the INShape Indiana webpage.
  • Quit smoking.  Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and disability for women and men worldwide.  Quitting tobacco is an important step to reduce your risk for diabetes and many other conditions.  Call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for help 24/7.
  • Take a class.  If you are looking to change your lifestyle and are living with chronic disease, consider the "Living a Healthy Life" program.  This is a community-based education course to help you take charge of your health and lead a more productive and satisfying life.
  • Determine your risk.  Take the Diabetes Risk Test below, provided by the American Diabetes Association.  You can use the results to talk to your doctor about your individual health needs and options. 

Visit to find a Diabetes Prevention Program near you.

Movers and Shakers: Hoosiers Making an Impact on Women's Health

Michelle Corrao is the Assistant Director for Prevail, a victim awareness and support program in Hamilton County, IN.  She has been with Prevail for fourteen years and has held a number of positions including Sexual Assault Advocate, Director of Community Relations, and Interim Executive Director.  Michelle works tirelessly to empower survivors and advocates. Michelle has been the featured presenter at regional conferences in Indiana, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Austin, TX sharing her story to promote healing, hope and awareness of sexual assault.   She was honored in Washington D.C. by US Attorney General Eric Holder with the “Special Courage Award” and was the first to receive the “Distinguished Hoosier Award” from Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Michelle has also been featured on the Biography Channel series “I Survived.” By sharing her personal story, Michelle hopes to teach others that this field is not about “winning” the case, but making sure the survivor feels validated.

The Office of Women’s Health recognizes that advancements in women’s health do not happen on their own.  There are many amazing women and men behind the scenes working to improve the health of our Indiana communities through tireless efforts and advocacy for women’s health.  If you know an individual whose creativity, innovative work or diligent efforts have made a real difference in your community, and would like this individual considered to be highlighted in the “Movers and Shakers” section of the OWH webpage, please email Laura Chavez, Director of the Office of Women’s Health, at

Keep up with OWH!

  • Visit the Office of Women’s Health webpage for regular updates on women’s health-related issues and community services and programs that help promote women’s health and wellness across the state.
  • Follow OWH on Twitter @inwomenshealth for daily updates on women’s health facts and resources.

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