Health & Medicine

State women’s health registry gets new name, but mission remains the same

Ann Coker
Ann Coker

Health conditions and medications affect women’s bodies differently than men’s, so it’s important that we understand the specifics of women’s health.

Heart attacks often present differently in women than men, for example. And we’re learning that medication, such as the common sleep aid Ambien, is metabolized in women’s bodies differently than in men, meaning that women and men need different doses.

In recognition of National Women’s Health Week, May 14-20, the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science announces the launch of Women’s Health & You for all women in Kentucky who are at least 18 years old.

Women’s Health & You — WHY — is the new name for the Kentucky Women’s Health Registry. While the name has changed, this mission remains the same: improving women’s health through research.

WHY provides women the opportunity to help reduce the gap for women in medical research by responding to a survey about their health. Participants also receive information on health issues and research opportunities of interest to them. Since 2006, more than 17,000 women across Kentucky have joined.

As a co-founder of WHY, I encourage women to make good health an ongoing priority. We are offering new memberships in WHY as a way for women to actively engage in their own health and help researchers learn more about the specifics of women’s health over time.

Dr. Heather Bush, a UK biostatistician and WHY co-founder, emphasizes that the program incorporates many aspects of women’s well-being throughout the lifespan.

“It’s not just about physical health, but how life experiences influence our well-being across our lifespan. Our health changes over time and by domains including physical, emotional, social, sexual and intellectual health. WHY is unique in measuring changes in health over time and across this range of health domains.”

WHY needs women over the age of 18 to help us improve women’s health and reduce the gap of women’s participation in health research that affects them.

Becoming a member of Women’s Health & You is simple. Initial participation takes only 5-10 minutes to complete a confidential electronic survey and become a part of a group of women who are changing the way we approach the female-centric health issues.

Consider joining WHY. You can go to to become a member. If you have any questions, call 859-218-4869 or email

Ann L. Coker serves as the Endowed Chair of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women and a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the UK College of Medicine.

Ann L. Coker is the Endowed Chair of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women and a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.