Women's Health Updates — September 2020
Learn about recent developments in women's health as well as SWHR's activities that promote the study of sex differences and serve our mission to improve women's health through science, policy, and education.
SWHR's 30th Anniversary Annual Awards Dinner on October 22 will now take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Join SWHR in honoring three women leaders in science and medicine who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women's health. Sponsorships and tickets are still available.
On September 22 at 4 p.m. EDT, SWHR will host a virtual panel discussion to raise awareness about research gaps and unmet needs related to diagnosis, treatment, and access to care for uterine fibroids, a common gynecological condition which affects about 26 million American women. Register now.

A study conducted by Women's Health Research at Yale has revealed important sex differences in COVID-19 immune responses that make men more susceptible to the virus than women. Further sex differences research is critical for effective prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Read more.
Coronavirus "long-haulers" do not fit the profile of typical a COVID-19 patient. They're young, otherwise healthy — and mostly women. Understanding the long-term symptoms experienced by these women is necessary to truly combat the pandemic. Read more.

As emerging evidence shows lasting health complications with COVID-19, how is the pandemic affecting women with chronic illness? Through the lens of ME/CFS and migraine, this virtual roundtable explores the increasing economic burden, lagging clinical care, and potential scientific opportunity for women’s chronic illness during this crisis.
Even before the pandemic, the intersectional biases in the health care system generated worse health outcomes for Black mothers. Clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments must include diverse pregnant women to avoid exacerbating these existing disparities. Read this Essence article on Black mothers and COVID-19.

SWHR joined 94 other organizations in endorsing a bill to direct the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to conduct or support research on critical health care delivery system issues in response to COVID-19. This bill would provide important agency funding to study telehealth expansion and efficacy, racial and ethnic disparity mitigation strategies, and vaccine access for at-risk populations. Read the letter.

September 13 marks International Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) Day. SWHR's latest blog highlights this chronic, progressive autoimmune liver disease that overwhelmingly affects women and explores what women need to know. Read more.
The latest blog in our #Diagnostics4Women series profiles two forms of genetic screening — noninvasive prenatal screening and expanded carrier screening — which allow families to gain insight into the risk to their offspring posed by certain heritable conditions. Read more.
The Biology of Sex Differences journal recently published a study suggesting that male-dominated clinical trials are leading to greater rates of overmedication and adverse reactions to drugs in women. Vice reported on the results of the study and the dangers of sex bias in clinical trials.
Women's menstrual health is understudied and underfunded, in part due to decades of stigma. Read about how the NIH is seeking to support and amplify menstruation research to spur innovation for women's health.

SWHR provided feedback on the National Institute of Aging's (NIA) request for information on Alzheimer’s and dementia-related research gaps and opportunities. SWHR highlighted the need to acknowledge the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s on women and urged more thorough incorporation of sex/gender issues within the finalized review. Read the comments.

SWHR urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health to lead agency efforts to advance sex as a biological variable, better include women in clinical trials for new innovations, and apply lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to women's health, among other suggestions. Read SWHR's recommendations.
SWHR emphasized the importance of considering sex as a biological variable (SABV) to improve biomedical research involving animal models in recent comments to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Enhancing Rigor, Transparency, and Translatability in Animal Research. Read SWHR's comments.
In a letter to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on its strategic plan, SWHR urged consideration of gender and sex differences and emphasized the need to address stigma and health disparities to improve treatment and recovery outcomes for women with substance use disorders. Read more.
SWHR submitted comments to the FDA on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) for FYs 2023-2027. Reauthorization would allow the FDA to continue collecting user fees to support the process for the review of human drug applications. Read SWHR's recommendations.
The Biology of Sex Differences journal seeks reviews or original articles — in animal models or humans — on sex differences in infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and on the consequences of COVID-19 during pregnancy on the mother or in the offspring. All manuscripts will undergo expedited (7-day) peer review. Submit today!
On September 23, the National Academies’ Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders will host a daylong virtual public workshop featuring diverse experts, including SWHR's Director of Science Policy Dr. Melissa Laitner, to explore emerging evidence regarding sex differences in a variety of brain disorders.
The 2020 Connors Center Virtual Research Symposium will take place September 22 from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT and feature distinguished experts on stress and showcase recent sex differences research of the Connors Center. Register.