Women's Health Initiatives

Women's Health Programs

We are committed to improving the health of women at all stages of life. Our women’s health initiatives help at-risk women access everything from pregnancy and gynecologic care to screenings for breast and cervical cancers.

Avon Breast Collaborative

Low-income and minority women are less likely to get mammograms due to multiple social and economic factors. They are also more likely to have undetected breast cancer, which leads to high rates of breast cancer mortality.

Through the generous support of the Avon Foundation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Erie Family Health Center (Erie) have developed a plan to improve breast health for some of Chicago’s most vulnerable women.

The Partnership to Reduce Mammography Disparities program employs several strategies to improve mammography completion rates and breast health services for Erie’s female patients.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides free and discounted screening and diagnostic mammograms as well as treatment to all eligible Erie patients whether they have insurance or not. Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Erie work together to provide information about:


A patient tracking system was implemented to:

  • Document mammography referrals, including the rate of completion and the rate of abnormal results
  • Identify patients requiring follow up care and treatment
  • Track completion rate for those requiring follow up care

Outreach and education

Erie employs community health workers who live in the community and assist residents with finding trusted information and resources to better understand and manage their health.

Northwestern University also worked with Erie to develop a multimedia educational program in both Spanish and English to address educational, attitudinal and motivational barriers women in the community may have to receiving a mammogram.

Prentice Ambulatory Care Clinic (PAC)

Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides care to low-income women at the Prentice Ambulatory Care (PAC) Clinic, including:

The PAC Clinic, located on the Northwestern University campus, is modeled after a standard obstetrics/gynecology physician practice and emphasizes continuity of care. Services include:

  • On-site specialty care for women with high-risk pregnancy or diabetes
  • Specialized care and counseling for HIV patients through the comprehensive women’s and perinatal HIV program, which provides multidisciplinary care at every stage to women with HIV

Annually, the PAC Clinic provides more than 6,000 patient visits, and in fiscal year 2008, more than 500 babies were delivered. Since the HIV program launched in 1999, 100 percent of the infants born to mothers in the program have been HIV-free.