The Pima County Women’s Health Review is the result of a collaborative effort among three groups: The Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission, The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Center for Rural Health, and the University’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women.
The report was developed from information gathered at five structured discussion groups involving elderly women living in the Green Valley area, and economically disadvantaged women living in Tucson’s south side area. The aim was to find out if targeted groups of women experienced equal access to health care services, and also to discover information about their issues and challenges.
The report finds that the lack of access to health care services is devastating to both physical and mental health when a woman in Pima County cannot afford to pay for health care for herself or her minor dependents. When a person does not have the financial resources to pay for medical and/or diagnostic care, medications, dental or visual care, these problems and concerns do not go away. Instead, they usually worsen until serious problems develop and the individual then is forced to seek care in the emergency room, a far more expensive solution than if the problem had been dealt with in the first place. The report also addresses the seriousness of issues that face elderly women raising children. These are women whose struggle is enormous. In their so called “golden years” they find themselves raising grand children who they have adopted or are fostering in order to keep their families together.
To help to resolve some of the issues identified in the report, recommendations are made for action by Pima County Government, the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services, the Pima Council on Aging, the University of Arizona, the Kinship and Adoption Resource and Education (KARE) Family Center, the Tribal nations of Pascua-Yaqui and Tohono O-odham, and the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona. All recommendations are delineated in the report.