.: PR Newswire September 20th, 2005 :.

'Charmed' Television Star Partners With Ortho Women's Health to Go 'Back to School' Program to Provide College-Age Women with Important Tools to Address Key Health Issues

Primetime star Holly Marie Combs, best known as Piper Halliwell on the WB's hit series "Charmed," and Ortho Women's Health, a unit of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., have joined together to launch "Back to School with Control and Confidence." This unique program is designed to educate college-age women about the importance of talking with their healthcare professional about their bodies and contraception. The program, which will be launched later today during an event, will offer select college women the opportunity to chat with host Holly Marie Combs, women's health expert Dr. Valerie Schulz, and noted life coach Lauren Howard, LCSW about the most personal and pertinent issues affecting young women today -- their health, bodies, and sexuality. Information from the event, including a free downloadable Patient-Doctor Communication Tool, is available at http://www.orthowomenshealth.com/. The tool can help women prepare prior to their OB/GYN visit and facilitate more meaningful and open communications with their doctor.

"Years ago, I was apprehensive about visiting my women's healthcare professional," said Combs. "Like many young women, I felt awkward and uncomfortable discussing my private concerns about birth control. My hope is that, as a result of this program, young women will feel more empowered when talking with their doctors about their bodies and contraception. It may be the most important lesson that they learn this school year."

Recently, The Kaiser Foundation conducted a national survey of women's attitudes, knowledge and experiences through key life stages. The study found that roughly 1 in 6 women reports keeping information about some aspect of her sexual health from her healthcare professional, including information about her sexual history, birth control use, or history of STDs or abortion.(1)

"It is important for young women to have open and honest conversations with their healthcare professionals, especially when they are seeking counsel to determine the best contraceptive method," said Dr. Kate LaGuardia, Director of Medical Affairs, Ortho Women's Health. "Women should understand the benefits as well as the risks associated with contraception so that they can make the best choices for their bodies, their lifestyles, and their partners."

Women across the country can learn more about Holly Marie, view highlights from the event, and download the Patient-Doctor Communication Tool by logging on to http://www.orthowomenshealth.com/. In the coming weeks, women will be encouraged to go online to learn more about the program, and work with Ortho Women's Health to develop a similar program on their own campus with a local women's health expert.