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    You can be a GAME CHANGER

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 7th, 2017

    You can be a GAME CHANGER

    I was with a group of women of different ages and I was telling them that I attended The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio 2017 Keyholder event this past Thursday. The theme of the event was ‘changing the game’ and Billie Jean King was the keynote speaker. Three of the women gave me a blank stare and finally one of the women asked, “Who was Billie Jean King?” It was then that I realized the women giving me the blank stares were under 30 years old.

    Who is Billie Jean King? She is a game changer. She was a famous tennis player who fought for women’s equality (and is still fighting) and the advancement of women in sports.  The greatest moment in sport was in 1973 when she defeated Bobby Riggs, a ranked male tennis player in the Battle of the Sexes. She is the reason that women especially tennis players like Serena Williams get paid what they are worth instead of getting paid less because they are a woman.

    Merriam Webster dictionary defines a game changer as a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law on March 23, 2010,  that was a game changing event.  Prior to the ACA, one-third of pregnant women had no insurance, 20% of women of childbearing age were uninsured and there was a 50 % likelihood that an uninsured woman with breast cancer would die from the disease. Those people with preexisting health conditions either could not get insurance or their premiums were so high, that insurance was unattainable unless they were employed by a company with more than 50 employees.

    When I was in private practice, I was one of the 44 million people without health insurance. I had a preexisting health condition and could not get insurance that was affordable.

    The ACA made sure that essentials were covered by insurance. Essentials included such things as prenatal care and preventative services. Insurance had to cover people with preexisting health conditions without increasing the cost of premiums.

    As I was listening to Billie Jean King, I was thinking about what happened in Congress a few hours prior with the vote to repeal ACA and I was wondering whether there were any words of wisdom I could learn from this 73 year old woman. She talked about the importance of knowing your history to be able to make positive changes. We all have the ability to be game changers but we have to know our history. We have to read and educate ourselves. We can make big changes like her that have broad national impact or we can make small changes that impact us as individuals. We all have the ability to be game changers.

    When it comes to our health, think about how you can be a game changer.


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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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