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Hesselbacher Talks about the Global Women's Health Index

The Schroeder Center for Health Policy welcomed Courtney Hesselbacher (W&M, Public Policy, ’06) as the final speaker in its “Women’s Health” speaker series.  As the U.S. Enterprise Portfolio Director at Gallup, Ms. Hesselbacher collaborates with Hologic, a medical device company specializing in women's health, on its Global Women's Health Index, which is "the first globally comparative study of women's health."  Her talk to the W&M community focused on this Index.

Courtney Hesselbacher with students at talkMs. Hesselbacher began her discussion by describing Gallup’s mission and the annual Gallup World Poll, which is conducted in 123 countries, represents 99% of the global population, and is used to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.  Ms. Hesselbacher then described how Gallup and Hologic have partnered together for the past six years, which led to their eventual collaboration on the Global Women's Health Index. She stated that the Index is “an unprecedented and comprehensive view of key health measures – directly based on lived experiences from women and girls – which will help further understand and improve women’s health issues.”  She summarized the five dimensions of the Index that “explain more than 80% of women’s average life expectancy at birth.”  These include opinions on health and safety, individual health, emotional health, preventive care, and basic needs.

Among the Index’s many interesting findings, according to Ms. Hesselbacher, is that in the past year, over 1.5 billion women worldwide have not had their blood pressure taken or been tested for cancer, diabetes, or sexually transmitted diseases or infections.  In addition, she highlighted that over half a billion women worldwide have spent a lot of the previous day in pain, and nearly 35% of women do not feel safe walking alone at night.

Ms. Hesselbacher discussed how the media, organizations, as well as the U.S. and other governments around the world use the findings from the Global Women’s Health Index.  She also described how the creation of the index helped Hologic become a partner of the World Economic Forum, which is an international organization for public-private cooperation to help “shape global, regional and industry agendas.” 

Courtney Hesselbacher with MPP StudentsFollowing her talk, Ms. Hesselbacher answered questions and described how W&M provides students with important writing and analytical skills, which are needed to contribute to global and national policy formulation that can change the world.

Ms. Hesselbacher’s visit to W&M also included meetings with graduate students in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program, and speaking to Professor Iyabo Obasanjo’s public health class about “State of the U.S. and Global Workplaces:  The World of Work as We Enter Pandemic Recovery.” 

To learn more about the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index and its findings, visit: