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Your Environment. Your Health.

Women's Health Awareness

Women's Health Awareness Transforming Communities by Enhancing Women's Health


Women’s Health Awareness (WHA) is an initiative within the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Clinical Research Branch (CRB), Office of Human Research and Community Engagement (OHRCE) that:

  • Provides evidence-based community interventions to promote wellness, environmental health literacy, and environmental public health
  • Increases community health resiliency
  • Advances health equity by improving health care access and quality

WHA Mission Statement

Our mission is to inform and empower women to take responsibility for their health, understand their health options, and identify services, thereby increasing equal access to services, resources, and products that best help them prevent and reduce poor health.

How WHA Ties Into the Women's Environmental Health Across the Lifespan Program

The WHA initiative is housed within the Women’s Environmental Health Across the Lifespan Program. This program is designed to enhance research for understudied, underrepresented, and underreported (U3) populations of women.

The objectives of the Women's Environmental Health Across the Lifespan Program are to:

  • Develop sustainable, collaborative community partnerships
  • Discover environmental health concerns in local communities
  • Increase environmental health awareness in underserved communities
  • Address environmental health disparities in U3 communities
  • Develop evidence-based research interventions to enhance community resiliency;
  • Develop improved research strategies for engaging the U3 population
  • Provide experiential-based training opportunities for a diverse workforce in environmental public health and community engagement
  • Develop an understanding of cultural humility and cultural competency of diverse populations

WHA aligns with two themes of the NIEHS 2018-2023 Strategic Plan:

  • Promoting Translation – Data to Knowledge to Action
    • Outreach, Communications, and Engagement
    • Environmental Health Disparities and Environmental Justice
    • Partnerships in Action
  • Enhancing Environmental Health Sciences through Stewardship and Support
    • Training the next generation of environmental scientists, clinicians, and public health professionals
    • Increasing the diversity of the environmental health workforce

WHA Ties Into the NIEHS Mission

WHA increases environmental awareness in the communities where women live, work, play, and worship to significantly affect their overall health. WHA provides environmental awareness as it relates to health outcomes for women. This initiative brings education, environmental health literacy, and public health to women of the North Carolina Triangle region and beyond for promoting healthier lives, and environmentally safer homes and communities.

WHA is a multidisciplinary approach centered around the goals of disease prevention, control, and management. It brings together public health and environmental health. The initiative consists of various components:

  • Free Annual Women’s Health Awareness, Women’s Wellness Conference
  • Health Communication and Environmental Health Literacy
    • Public health messaging to alert the community of urgent public health and environmental concerns and what they need to do to protect themselves
  • WHA Newsletter – conveys trending health topics with important health implications
  • Health Education and Resources
    • Webinars and podcasts – educational virtual platforms
    • Health resources guide – information leading to health care access and quality
  • Training researchers, clinical practitioners and students - educating the next generation and creating a diverse and multicultural workforce

WHA enables NIEHS researchers to build effective health interventions that enhance community resiliency and assist women in developing health strategies for themselves and their families, thereby improving their quality of life. WHA provides a paradigm for NIEHS to be responsive to the community’s needs, with attention to environmental health, exposures, and the U3 population of women.

Women's Health Awareness Community Impact

Program Director

Joan P. Packenham
Joan P. Packenham, Ph.D.
Director, NIEHS Office of Human Research and Community Engagement (OHRCE);
Tel 984-287-4413
Fax 919-541-9854
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop CU-02
Durham, N.C. 27709
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