Women's Health Updates — May 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 eliminate imbalances in care for women through science, policy, and education.
Last week I officially joined the Society for Women’s Health Research team. Starting a new position with an established team can be tough under normal circumstances, but when you add a global pandemic on top of that, it creates an extra level of unexpected challenges.

Fortunately for me, SWHR’s staff, Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and supporters have created a welcoming environment so that I can jump right in and hit the ground running.

As a passionate women’s health advocate, I have been crossing paths with SWHR for years. I have been impressed with SWHR’s work throughout my career — from my time on Capitol Hill, to working at a government relations firm representing biotech, patient advocacy, physician and public health organizations, to serving as chief advocacy officer at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

I am truly thrilled and honored to lead SWHR as we strive to protect women’s health through research, not from research. Our scientific roundtables and networks, policy engagement, and public education activities are the foundation of SWHR’s work to improve women’s health. In my first few months, I will work with the staff and the Board to create a strategic plan that builds on these efforts as we endeavor to fulfill our vision of making women’s health mainstream. I’m looking forward to working with all of you to achieve this goal.

Kathryn G. Schubert, MPP
SWHR President and CEO
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing burdens on women that negatively influence their physical, mental, social, and financial health. In these challenging times, SWHR is committed to continuing our work to raise awareness about issues impacting women’s health. On our COVID-19 information hub webpage , you will find original content from SWHR as well as information from reliable, evidence-based sources.
The global spread of the novel coronavirus has altered life as we know it. Almost three-quarters of women feel their lives have been disrupted significantly by the outbreak. In this blog, SWHR shares some important tips on maintaining good health in the midst of this crisis.
For 30 years SWHR has advocated for researchers to study sex and gender differences in health and disease in order to improve outcomes for women and men. The COVID-19 pandemic is providing a stark example of why sex and gender must be critical considerations in health care. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Women of color are especially likely to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of historical inequities and discrimination associated with both their gender and ethnicity. In a new blog , SWHR stresses that any pandemic recovery plan must take these disparities into account.
While women are less likely to die from COVID-19, they are still at high risk for transmitting the virus because they make up the majority of health care workers and caregivers. Therefore, it is vital that women can access diagnostic and antibody tests. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Public health experts are predicting a “horrifying global surge” in domestic violence cases as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and are calling on governments across the world to prioritize the health and safety of survivors of domestic violence. SWHR talks with Dr. Jhumka Gupta , a public health researcher with expertise in violence against women, about steps and policies that may help address the domestic violence crisis.
Endometriosis is a burdensome gynecological disease that can have a huge impact on women’s lives under normal circumstances. The stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may make managing this chronic disease even more challenging. In this blog, SWHR explores questions that women with endometriosis might have during the pandemic: Are they at higher risk? Can they take NSAIDs for pain? How can they best manage their disease?
In response to the Care Interventions of People with Dementia and for their Caregivers draft report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, SWHR sent comments recommending that AHRQ's review and report prioritize sex and gender differences in caregiving research, as the majority of caregivers are women and caregiving can place significant burdens on women. Read the letter.
Women make up the majority of family caregivers, who face many health risks in normal conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic only magnifies these risks. This Health Affairs article outlines steps that can be taken by the health care system to support caregivers in the wake of coronavirus. Read more.
The NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health advises the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health on appropriate NIH research activities in women's health and assesses inclusion of women and minorities in NIH clinical research. View the agenda and recorded videocast from the committee's 50th meeting last month.
This Health Affairs blog outlines how significant gaps in federally funded paid leave in the emergency COVID-19 legislation may put millions of families and workers at risk of infection and financial insecurity. Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SWHR has rescheduled its 30th Anniversary Annual Awards Dinner to Thursday, October 22 (originally scheduled for 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.
National Women’s Health Week , from May 10-16, serves as a reminder for women and girls, especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, to make their health a priority and take care of themselves. Join the celebrations, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, using the hashtags #NWHW and #FindYourHealth on social media. Check out SWHR's blog on healthy habits for women.
In response to increasing U.S. maternal mortality rates, NICHD and ORWH will host a workshop May 19-20 to develop a research agenda targeted at the clinical causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. Learn more.