March 14, 2017 | Leave a Comment
Via: Dallas Morning News
As a son, husband, father and physical therapy faculty member at Texas Woman’s University, the nation’s largest public university primarily for women, I read with great interest about the economic issues facing Texas women in the latest study produced by the Dallas Women’s Foundation and supported by TWU. The recently released study sheds light on the economic disparities Texas women face in regards to the four essential building blocks of women’s economic security: health insurance, education, child care and housing.
According to the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s research, “In Texas, 30 percent of all households are female-headed, yet 53 percent of all households living in poverty are female-headed.”
Without adequate income or access to insurance, many of these women are faced with the decision to forgo medical treatment in order to help their family survive in the short term. However, dismissing health care could have long-term effects that ultimately cascade into financial ruin.
Let’s take my area of practice and teaching, for instance. I believe that affordable, preventive access to physical therapy may effectively increase wellness and reduce the amount of time an injured person is away from work and family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists motor vehicle accidents, over-exertion injuries and falls as the three leading causes of nonfatal injuries for women between the ages of 15 and 64. All three of these injuries can be managed by physical therapists.
What those changes may be, no one can yet say. However, no matter what side of the political fence we sit on, surely all Texans can agree that with more than 2 million uninsured women and girls in our great state, action needs to be taken. That action may include drastic changes in policy or simply a greater emphasis on health education.
I encourage all Texans to take time to read the Dallas Women’s Foundation study available at www.dallaswomensfdn.org/economicissues2017, which includes doable proposed action items, and gain a better understanding of what women are facing economically. As the study shows, “When women are healthy and well-educated, their strength creates a positive ripple effect for their families and communities.”
I believe that together, we can create a ripple that will make Texas the best state to live in, economically speaking, no matter what your gender.
Wayne Brewer, PT, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of physical therapy for the Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center in the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex. His research focuses on the effect of behavioral education on physical activity levels for individuals with chronic low back pain and obesity.