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Local News

Nava Joins Junior League to Work for Women’s Health Care

Two new bills aim to strengthen preventative health care.

Top politicians and the Junior League of Santa Barbara have teamed up to introduce two key women’s health measures in the Legislature.

Assembly Bill 159, “The Healthy Mothers Act,” carried by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, aims to raise public awareness and design standard screening procedures for women who may be experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy. These disorders can take many forms, including depression, anxiety and psychosis. National studies indicate that one in eight women suffer from these disorders, and as many as 80 percent may go undiagnosed and untreated.

“It is with great pride that the Junior Leagues of California will be working with Assemblymember Nava in advocating for women and their families who suffer from PMAD. There may be as many as 800,000 new cases in the United States each year,” said Wendy J. Penbera, chairwoman of the State Public Affairs Committee, Junior Leagues of California, a partner in the effort to raise the awareness of PMAD.

Penbera joined Nava and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf in making the announcement Wednesday in Santa Barbara.

Also to be introduced is AB 359, which will work to ensure that digital mammography will be covered under the “Every Woman Counts” Cancer Detection Program administered by the state Department of Public Health when analog mammography is not available in screening for breast cancer. Analog mammograms are the only type of procedure currently covered by the program.

“My thanks to Supervisor Wolf for bringing this idea to me. I enjoy working with her, and together we will be improving health care for California women,” Nava said. “Breast cancer is a devastating disease, with more than 25,000 California women being diagnosed each year. By providing early screening and detection to all women, regardless of economic standing or geographic location, we will save lives.”

“I’m pleased that Assemblymember Nava has taken the initiative to sponsor a bill that will expand women’s access to preventative health care –– specifically allowing digital mammogram coverage for California women,” said Wolf, who participated in the introduction of this measure. Quoting statistics from the county Public Health Department, Wolf said that 1,200 women who reside in Lompoc and Santa Maria must travel to Santa Barbara to obtain analog mammograms, as many providers are switching to digital, which is not currently covered by the EWC program.

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