The Bridgeport News

7/13/2011

A new bill signed recently by Gov. Dannel Malloy will help women throughout Connecticut suffering from, and at risk for, lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder that disproportionately affects women of color.

Public Act No 11-23, An Act Concerning the Establishment of a Lupus Education and Awareness Plan, will establish within the Department of Public Health an inter-agency advisory panel charged with assessing the current state of education on lupus in the state, evaluating educational materials and resources currently available, identifying where improvements can be made and creating a comprehensive lupus awareness and education plan.

The General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), which has worked to raise awareness of the condition and testified in favor of the bill, has been authorized to appoint a member to the advisory panel.

“More than 17,000 Connecticut residents are living with lupus, and 90 percent of them are women,” said Teresa Younger, executive director of the PCSW. “And while this is not a uniquely female condition, it does disproportionately affect women; in addition, African-American women are far more likely to have lupus than are white women.

“Because of racial inequities in healthcare access, and the fact that all women, regardless of race, pay on average more for healthcare than men do, this disease is of real concern to us,” Younger added. “We applaud the General Assembly and the Governor for creating a mechanism for greater understanding and prevention of this dangerous and painful condition.”

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