AMWA Initiatives

The American Medical Women’s Association advocates to bring under-addressed issues to the forefront of the national agenda.
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Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

AMWA Opioid Addiction in Women Task Force

The mission of the Opioid Addiction in Women Task Force is to reduce the number of women addicted to opioids, and to improve the care of women with opioid addiction, by

  1. Education of health care providers and the public about the unique aspects of opioid addiction in women, the barriers to treatment for women, and sex differences in pain and opioid response leading to addiction
  2. Contributing to or commenting on opioid prescribing and pain management guidelines, and evidence based standards, from a sex and gender perspective
  3. Providing testimony to policymakers about risks and impact of opioid addiction among women
  4. Dissemination of information on the specific needs of women in prevention and treatment of opioid addiction, and recovery services
  5. Identifying knowledge gaps related to sex differences in pain and opioid addiction that would benefit from research, data and specific metrics

AMWA Educational Infographic:  Opioid Addiction is a Women’s Health Issue


Racial Inequities and Biases Impact Opioid Use and Treatment

In light of the inexcusable and senseless tragedies to Mr. George Floyd, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Breonna Taylor and many others, our Task Force would like to highlight the disparities faced by African Americans in the opioid crisis:

  1. “Three decades ago, when opioids and crack cocaine were devastating Black/African American communities, the national response was “The War on Drugs.” These policies have had lasting impacts on the current criminal justice system, where Black/African Americans represent a substantial percentage of drug offenders in federal prison, despite Whites representing the majority of illicit drug users in the U.S.”
  2. “Black/African Americans may be insulated from fast-rising rates of opioid misuse and overdose deaths due to lack of access to these medications… and this is rooted in misperceptions and biases in the health care system including the undervaluing of Black/African Americans’ self-reports of pain and stereotyping by providers.
  3. “A study of emergency departments found that Black/African Americans are significantly less likely to be prescribed opioid prescriptions for pain from medical providers than White patients.”
  4. “The rate of increase of Black/African American drug overdose deaths exceeded all other racial and ethnic population groups in the U.S. Black/African Americans (also) had the highest increase in overdose death rate for opioid deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.”
  5. Black/African American women fear losing their children to the foster care system if they acknowledge a substance use problem and seek treatment at treatment facilities like These fears are a major barrier to timely treatment and support for recovery.
Full Article published by SAMHSA

Handout for Pregnant Women About Opioid Addiction and Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome

The Opioid Addiction in Women task force has completed an AMWA branded handout for pregnant women about opioid addiction and neonatal withdrawal syndrome.

Surgeon General’s TEDMED Talk on Nation’s Biggest Health Issues

U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams’ TEDMED talk reveals how his lived experiences have shaped his views as a health professional and his understanding of the government’s role in health issues.

Drug Overdose Deaths Among Women Aged 30–64 Years — United States, 1999–2017

Middle-aged women remain vulnerable to death by drug overdose, according to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released Jan. 11. Read the report for the latest data detailing the growing number of drug overdose deaths in the United States: Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths – United States, 2013-2017.

CDC Opioid Training for Providers

The CDC released the final modules in the Applying CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids interactive online training series for healthcare providers. The latest modules are Opioid Use and Pregnancy, Motivational Interviewing, and Collaborative Patient-Provider Relationship in Opioid
Clinical Decision Making.


Three-part Webinar Series: Pain Medication Education and Resources

January 23, February 20, and March 13, 2019. 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST. Register here.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is promoting this three-part webinar series focused on pain medication education and resources. Each hour-long webinar focuses on a specific question regarding pain medication for those living with spinal cord injuries or another form of physical disability. Webinar recordings will be archived on the Reeve Foundation’s YouTube channel for later viewing.

Webinar/ How to Improve Addiction Treatment by Systematically Tracking Patient Outcomes

February 5, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST, Register here.

Treatment providers can significantly improve patient engagement and treatment quality by tracking patient outcomes. This webinar presentation describes three evidence-based approaches to using patient outcome data to improve treatment effectiveness: (1) provider profiling, (2) patient tracking of emotions and symptoms through mobile applications, and (3) measure-based care instruments administered during clinical encounters.

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