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New York Passes Historic Endometriosis Legislation

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.” 

SIGN THE PETITION

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. 

NYS Senate Bill s-1016

“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.” 

Golfers riding a new wave — and we don’t mean golf carts

Golfers riding a new wave — and we don’t mean golf carts

As a reasonably athletic person, I still looked at the GolfBoard in front of me and wondered if it was safe, if I could strap my clubs to the front and ride this skateboard-like machine around a hilly 18-hole course.

Then the general manager of this Hudson Valley semi-private club, The Links at Union Vale, assailed my fears by pointing over to the putting green.

“Look there,” Rob Caeners said to me, “that’s John. He’s 77, and he rides the thing every day, Monday through Friday.”

Then John Haines hopped on the board and tore up a sideways hill, coming right up to the first tee to greet me.

“I think these are just the coolest,” Haines said. “It’s going to be the biggest change in the game of golf since the sand wedge.”

Haines was next in a long line of people who had been pumping this promotional hyperbole since I first saw the intriguing video of these GolfBoards and began to inquire. Of course, that hyperbole has been matched with an equal amount of reflexive rebuttal from the traditional golf establishment, expressed in the most effective way possible — by not even thinking about getting them.

Haines, for one, used to be a member at an old-school private club upstate, and when he first suggested getting GolfBoards, they scoffed. Then they had a season with cart paths only, he quit the club and became a weekday member at The Links at Union Vale, a beautiful and straightforward golf course built around an old farm silo with breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains.

“It’s like skiing and playing golf at the same time,” Haines said, “but without the snow.”

A quick tutorial shows the board is controlled by one lever near the handlebar as the accelerator, and when you let go, the board comes to stop almost immediately. Turning is done by leaning on either side of the board, but just as Caeners had told me, by the third hole, you have the thing under control and you’re ready to rip around corners.

Because it’s just more than 100 pounds, you also can drive it right on to the tee box, right up to your ball — wherever it is — and onto the collars of the greens.

“It speeds up play dramatically,” Caeners said.

Safety has to be an issue, but as GolfBoards sales rep Mike Cochrane said, “There has not been one reported injury in over a million rounds played.”

It makes sense, because whenever I got into a sticky situation, thinking I was going to fall off, I just hopped the six inches off the board and it came to a stop. As far as tipping the thing over, Caeners said, “I’m 260 pounds, and I’ve never come close.”

Caeners first saw GolfBoards at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where it won the prestigious “Best New Product Award.” It’s a company started by Don Wildman — one of the original owner of Bally’s Total Fitness — along with world-famous surfer and innovator Laird Hamilton, who was involved from the beginning.

Modal Trigger
The Links at Union Vale has a fleet of “GolfBoards”.Photo: Andrew Theodorakis

Caeners got four trial boards to start this season in the spring, and before the two-month trail was over, he ordered to lease a fleet of 12. He charges $6 more for the boards than a regular cart, and he has to keep a book behind the counter in the pro shop for reservations. On most days, the eight he has now — he is waiting on four more to come — are sent out twice a day, the max they can do. He said 48 percent of the new golfers coming to his course this season are because they want to try the boards.

“The feedback is so positive, it’s not even funny,” Caeners said. “That’s why I say I know it’s here to stay. This is going to be a big part of golf. You’re going to have golf courses that have all GolfBoard fleets — or at least half.”

The boards are covered under the same umbrella insurance policy that covers Caeners’ golf carts, and it is the carts that show to be a bigger liability in terms of injuries. They have made their way onto more than 200 courses around the country, mostly in the northwest near the company’s home base in Bend, Ore., and down into California. There are some strongholds in the flatter courses in Florida, as well, but breaking into the Northeast, which is hillier — and more traditional (see: snobbish) — hasn’t been easy.

“We are seeing some traction,” said Cochrane, whose closest courses to the city are up at Union Vale, out at a place called The Vineyards in Riverhead, on Long Island, and at the Country Club of Darien, in Connecticut. “Most courses that do have them are doing really well and expanding, going from four to eight boards, and some back in Oregon with over 20.”

By the time I finished my round, I could see why. The third member of group was a man named Chuck Clifton, a 73-year-old with Parkinson’s disease who rides the board almost every weekday with his buddy John. This day, he was feeling a bit shaky, so he stayed in a regular cart, but he loved the board as much as Haines.

“I think you just have to get on one to try it,” Clifton said, “and then you’ll know how cool they are.”

If Clifton can do it, then it’s hard to think who can’t. Which makes it clear that GolfBoards are a trend, and the only question left is will they stick around. You might just have to get on one to try it and make that determination yourself.

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