EndoFound Inspired Bill to Bring Endometriosis Education to New York’s School and Medical Practitioners
The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound.org) is pleased to announce that its year-long campaign to encourage New York State elected officials to pass endometriosis legislation has been approved unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate. All that is needed now is for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law.
The bill will amend New York State’s public health law to include informational materials concerning menstrual disorders, including endometriosis. It is the first bill in the United States to require a state’s commissioners of health and education to make the materials available to school districts and medical practitioners statewide.
“This is a game changer,” said Tamer Seckin, MD, co-founder of EndoFound with women’s advocate, Padma Lakshmi, the Emmy-nominated host of Bravo TV's "Top Chef” and an award-winning author.
"I applaud New York State for being the first to pass legislation vital to educating young women about endometriosis at the age of disease onset - with the first period,” Seckin continued. “Bringing endometriosis education to New York State's students is a critical step in reducing a delay in diagnosis and overcoming stigmas associated with menstruation. No longer should talk about a woman's period be taboo. Young women, in particular, need to know that painful periods are not normal and that there is help. Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive; those living with endometriosis are no exception."
EndoFound has played an active role in raising awareness for this disorder and helped to inspire and garner support for the bill.
"Educational resources that will be provided with this funding are integral to ensuring a healthy future for our children,” Lakshmi said. “All teenage girls and boys should learn about periods and the symptoms of endometriosis since 10 percent of females suffer from it. If I had known in high school, I could have saved myself so much pain and isolation."
This legislation is the result of work that began with a bill in 2018. The 2018 bill did not make it to a vote in the Assembly, but it unanimously passed in the Senate. The bill was reintroduced in 2019 with Senator Monica Martinez joining the fight to help take it across the finish line.
"In the United States, it is estimated that approximately one out of every 10 women suffer from endometriosis,” Martinez said in a press release. “While this is not an uncommon condition, many people are completely unaware of the disease, and the lack of awareness often results in a patient's prolonged suffering and misdiagnosis. The symptoms of this condition can cause serious pain that often disrupts a woman's social, mental, and professional life. This legislation will help promote conversations regarding these issues and ensure that young women have the education they need in order to take proactive steps to positive menstrual health. I want to thank Senator Serino and Assemblymember Rosenthal for their advocacy and dedication for bringing attention to this critical health concern."
Senator Sue Serino introduced the bill in the NYS Assembly with Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/FW – Manhattan). These two teamed up in 2016 to repeal the infamous NYS Tampon Tax, the law that had placed an undue burden on New York's women and taxpayers since 1965.
"Since introducing this legislation, I have heard from countless women who spent years suffering in silence while unknowingly dealing with the devastating side effects of endometriosis and other menstrual disorders month after month,” Serino said in a statement earlier this week. “By providing young women with critically important resources that will empower them to seek help sooner, this bill has the potential to help reverse the statistics that make endometriosis the leading cause of infertility among women. I thank Senator Martinez and Assemblymember Rosenthal for joining us in this fight, and I encourage the governor to sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible."
"As a result of the stigma that continues to shroud periods, millions of menstruators needlessly suffer in silence for years with undiagnosed menstrual disorders,” said Rosenthal. “Information is power, and this legislation will help empower young menstruators to understand their bodies and demand treatment. It will also help to smash the stigma by fostering discussion in the classroom. We cannot break down barriers if we do not talk about menstruation and menstrual disorders, and passage of this legislation into law will help push the conversation around periods to the fore in schools statewide."
EndoFound embarked on its congressional campaign last spring with several members of the foundation, including Dr. Seckin and Special Projects Coordinator Jeanne Rebillard, who traveled to Albany to meet elected officials on both the health and education committees to educate them about endometriosis. Soon after, EndoFound launched the #LetsTalkPeriod campaign to garner support from the public to encourage New York State residents to reach out to their elected officials to push the bill's passage.
"The passing of this bill is a significant step forward for bettering women's reproductive health awareness,” said women's health advocate and journalist Diana Falzone. “Every woman, every person is entitled to living their healthiest, happiest, most productive life. By giving students the educational tools to recognize symptoms of menstrual health disorders like endometriosis, we are empowering them with knowledge about their bodies, therefore helping them get the proper diagnosis and treatment. May New York be the first state but not the last to pass a bill of this kind."
"Based on current trends, every five seconds a baby girl is born who will grow up to develop endometriosis,” said Dr. Piraye Yurttas Beim, Founder, and CEO of next-generation women's health company Celmatix and Board Member of the EndoFound. “As a patient myself, I know the consequences of learning too late in life that the symptoms of endometriosis are not a normal part of being a woman. There is a pressing need to get more information and resources about this devastating condition into the hands of women earlier in their lives. I am delighted that New York is setting an example for others to follow. I applaud Senators Serino and Martinez, and Assemblymember Rosenthal for taking on this important cause, and hope very much that the rest of the country will take notice."