Women's Health Updates — August 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.
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing burdens on women that negatively influence their physical, mental, social, and financial health. On our COVID-19 hub, you will find original content from SWHR as well as information from reliable, evidence-based sources.

SWHR President and CEO Kathryn Schubert weighs in on the still-unexplained sex differences evident in COVID-19. Schubert discusses the importance of standardized, disaggregated data reporting and the role of sex and gender differences in health. Read the article in WIRED.
Timely cancer prevention, screening, and treatment is a matter of life or death for women. Yet in the past few months, many women have been hesitant or unable to attend health care visits because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to thousands of missed annual wellness visits, vaccinations, and cancer screenings. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Health care providers play an essential role in halting the cycle of intimate partner violence. But COVID-19 is making intimate partner violence more likely, while also making screening more difficult. Read more.
SWHR signed on to a letter urging congressional leadership to include the Helping MOMS Act in forthcoming COVID-19 legislation. The Helping MOMS Act would incentivize state Medicaid programs to expand health coverage for new moms for a year after pregnancy. Extending postpartum coverage is fundamental to lowering the nation’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, particularly with the added risks to pregnancy introduced by COVID-19. Read the letter.

SWHR and 90 other organizations recently thanked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for renewing the public health emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. The same groups had earlier signed on to a letter urging HHS to renew the declaration to ensure that critical pandemic response resources would remain available.
At a recent SWHR roundtable, experts and patients identified gaps in research, clinical practice, policy, and education that must be addressed to improve health outcomes for women with HPV-associated diseases. The pervasive stigma and lack of screening, diagnostic, and treatment options for most HPV-related cancers prevents many women from receiving efficient and effective care. Learn what the experts recommended in SWHR's blog.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more clinicians than ever are turning to telehealth. However, genetic counselors have been seeing patients virtually for years and can offer important insights into the pros and cons of telehealth. Read the latest in SWHR's diagnostics blog series.

A new report from the Center for American Progress details the historical and ongoing exclusion of women from clinical trials and medical research and the detrimental effects such exclusion has had on women’s health, particularly for women of color as well as pregnant and lactating people.
There are clear sex and gender differences in depression, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer's disease. A recent article in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, urges more research on sex differences in shared causes of these interconnected disorders of the brain and heart from early development through aging.

SWHR released a statement commending Senator Kamala Harris (pictured) on her introduction of the Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act, which will expand federal research efforts and bring much needed attention to this overlooked disease. SWHR previously signed a letter of support for the House version of the bill.

SWHR is also excited to highlight the work of Rep. Abby Finkenauer in securing House approval of her amendment to double federal research funding for endometriosis, an important step in toward addressing the research and care gaps for this disease.
SWHR CEO Kathryn Schubert commended the House Appropriations Committee for advancing a bill that would increase funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. SWHR was also pleased to see the bill's call for improved research on sex differences in COVID-19 and funding for key women's health issues. Read the statement.
SWHR joined 279 other organizations calling on Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to address racial disparities and years of structural racism by acting on certain pending section 1115 demonstrations. Read the letter.
In comments to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SWHR applauded the work of the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) in advising the Secretary of Health and Human Services on best practices to lessen the knowledge gaps regarding safe and effective therapies for pregnant and lactating women. SWHR looks forward to the implementation of PRGLAC's recommendations. Read the comments.

SWHR's 30th Anniversary Annual Awards Dinner will take place Thursday, October 22 (rescheduled from April 30). All previously purchased sponsorships and tickets are transferable to the new date. Join SWHR in October to honor three leaders in science and medicine who have significantly contributed to the advancement of women's health. Sponsorships and tickets are still available.
NIH has announced a prize competition to recognize academic institutions for developing and implementing interventions that successfully address faculty diversity and equity issues in biomedical and behavioral science departments. NIH will begin accepting applications soon. Learn more.
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!