Cutting-edge health research. Advanced techniques and methodologies. Those are ambitions for women’s health research advocated by Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health. These goals were facilitated by the second in a series of four scientific workshops sponsored by ORWH titled “Moving into the Future: New Dimensions and Strategies for Women’s Health Research,” held at the University of California, San Francisco, recently.
The purpose of the workshops is to identify new research directions over the next 10 years by promoting interactive discussions with leading scientists, researchers, women’s health advocates, health care providers and the public.
Keynote speaker Dr. Virginia Valian of Hunter College and City University of New York Graduate Center encouraged leaders in research to articulate the benefits of diversity and urged institutions to keep track of the employment percentages, rank and salary of women and men in research positions.
Workshop panels allowed leaders in women’s health research to present their thoughts and encourage discussion on certain topics.
Panel member Dr. Nancy Milliken, vice chair for clinical programs, UCSF, encouraged dialogue between academia and local communities and promoted educating health care providers to be sensitive to patients’ needs.
Dr. Linda Giudice and Dr. Robert B. Jaffe of UCSF also supported getting information into the community. “Bringing basic research to clinical research is translational research of the T1 kind. The T2 type of research is getting this translation into the community,” she said.
Dr. Sally Shumaker of Wake Forest University highlighted the practical applications of research. She noted that at the outset of the Women’s Health Initiative, a 15-year program that studied issues related to postmenopausal women, researchers thought estrogen would decrease the incidence of heart disease, blood clots, dementia and breast cancer. However, study results showed an increase in the risk of all those factors. As a result, the number of prescriptions for women on hormone therapy declined substantially following the release of study data.
Six working groups focusing on global health, stem cell research, women’s health and the environment, HIV/AIDS and women, information technology and women in science developed recommendations to help inform the research agenda for ORWH over the next decade.