WisewomanWISEWOMAN is a CDC demonstration project designed to help low-income, midlife women reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, through risk factor screening and referral services, and lifestyle intervention programs that promote healthy eating, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation. UNC-HPDP has been involved with WISEWOMAN research initiatives since the program’s inception in 1995.
Topic area(s): Health Disparities; Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention; Women, Children and Minorities


To provide low–income, under– or uninsured 40– to 64–year–old women with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent, delay and control cardiovascular and other chronic diseases

Project Description

WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation in Women Across the Nation) is a CDC demonstration project designed to help low-income, women ages 40-64 years reduce their risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. WISEWOMAN preventive services include risk factor screenings (such as blood pressure, cholesterol), medical referrals, and lifestyle intervention programs that promote healthy eating, increased physical activity, and smoking cessation.

In collaboration with the NC Division of Public Health, UNC-HPDP has conducted several research studies to test the effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention program, A New Leaf…Choices for Healthy Living, among WISEWOMAN participants. New Leaf is a structured nutrition and physical activity assessment and counseling program for cardiovascular disease risk reduction among low-income individuals. More than 3,500 women and 40 health departments/centers across North Carolina have participated in at least one NC WISEWOMAN study. From 1995-97, we conducted a pilot study in local health departments to test and refine the New Leaf lifestyle intervention program model. Between 1998-2001, we tested the model, which included the New Leaf computer-tailored maintenance intervention, in multiple health departments.

Most recently (2002-05), we have focused our research in a large community health center in Wilmington, NC, and tested a new component of the New Leaf program: a community resource linkages intervention which addresses community and environmental factors that may influence healthy lifestyle choices. In 2006, we will translate this research into practice with the development of Community Links for Better Health, a step-by-step guide for creating tailored community resource tools that foster the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors.


  • Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Funding began in 1995 and continues through June 2008
  • Current Status: Disseminated

Key Contacts

Principal Investigator: Alice Ammerman, DrPH, RD

Project Director/Manager: Beverly Garcia, beverly_garcia@unc.edu





Community Links for Better Health Intervention Tools


JC, Farris RP, Ammerman AS: Linking clinical care and community resources for cardiovascular disease prevention: The North Carolina Enhanced WISEWOMAN Project. J Women’s Health 2006

Jilcott SB, Macon ML, Rosamond WD, Garcia BA, Jenkins LK, Cannon PM, Townsend CR, Tawney KW, Keyserling TC, Will JC, Ammerman AS: Implementing the WISEWOMAN program in local health departments: staff attitudes, beliefs, and perceived barriers. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 13:598-606, 2004

Jacobs AD, Ammerman AS, Ennett ST, Campbell MK, Tawney KW, Aytur SA, Marshall SW, Will JC, Rosamond WD: Effects of a tailored follow-up intervention on health behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 13:557-68, 2004

University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Integrating Cardiovascular Disease Prevention into Existing Health Services: The Experience of the North Carolina WISEWOMAN Program. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC, 2001.

Rosamond WD, Ammerman AS, Holliday JL, Tawney KW, Hunt KJ, Keyserling TC, Will JC, Mokdad AH: Cardiovascular disease risk factor intervention in low-income women: the North Carolina WISEWOMAN project. Prev Med 31:370-9, 2000

WISEWOMAN Workgroup: Cardiovascular disease prevention for women attending breast and cervical cancer screening programs: the WISEWOMAN projects. Prev Med 28:496-502, 1999.