Women's Health Updates — July 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. 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.
Pregnant women infected with the coronavirus are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, and put on a ventilator than infected women who are not pregnant, according to a new government analysis. Read more.

The CDC also broadened its guidance about who is at risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19 to include pregnant women.
The personal protective equipment (PPE) that women need to do their jobs as health professionals, caretakers, and essential employees may not be designed for them. Medical masks and other equipment often does not fit women as well as men, putting the safety of female health care workers at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more from STAT News .
SWHR joined 25 organizations in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to include certain groups of at-risk women — namely, women of color, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and women who live in poverty — in prioritized federal research to combat the novel coronavirus. Read the letter.
SWHR stressed the importance of considering sex and gender as factors in pandemic response and preparedness in its comments on a white paper from the office of Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Read the letter.
Anal cancer is a rare and incredibly stigmatized disease — sometimes even by the patients themselves.

“The best thing we can do to erase stigma is talk about it,” patient advocate Michele Longabaugh said. “Putting a face to an uncomfortable cancer is really what is going to make changes.”

SWHR President and CEO Kathryn Schubert discusses the importance of including women in medical research in a recent HealthDay article . A new study shows that although some progress has been made on inclusion of female subjects in research, scientists are still not consistently analyzing data for sex differences, impeding our understanding of how biological differences between women and men influence health and disease.

A new study published in SWHR's journal Biology of Sex Differences suggests that women are being widely overmedicated — and suffering excess side effects — because drug dosages are calculated based on studies done overwhelmingly on male subjects. Read more.
Decision aids that U.S. physicians use to guide patient care on everything from who receives heart surgery to who needs kidney care to who should try to give birth vaginally are racially biased, according to new research in the New England Journal of Medicine . There is increasing evidence that algorithms used in health care may be prone to exacerbating existing racism and sexism. Read more.

Drawing on information from SWHR's sleep health paper , an article in Forbes examines sex differences in sleep disorders. Studies have shown that women are more likely to suffer from certain sleep problems like insomnia, and finding tailored treatments may be the way forward.
SWHR hosted experts from the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI), Patient-Driven Values in Healthcare Evaluation (PAVE), and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) at its recent policy meeting to discuss the integration of women’s health priorities into health care value assessments. Read more on SWHR's blog.
A group of 30 senators from both sides of the aisle urged congressional leadership to make permanent the expansion of telehealth services that has been occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. The letter calls for provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act included in previous COVID-19 legislation be extended after the public health emergency is over. Read more from The Hill.

Upcoming Webinar: Caring for Women During COVID-19: Telehealth , July 15, 6 p.m. ET, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
Pain impacts women differently than men and is an enormous public health issue with profound individual and societal consequences. In response to a request for comments on management of acute and chronic pain, SWHR called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to incorporate the HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-agency Task Force’s recommendations into its own updated pain management guidance and education materials. Read SWHR's letter.
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.
The Health of Women 2020 will take place as a live online six-part series on Fridays from June 26 to July 31. The agenda caters to the learning needs of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, and other health care professionals focused on women’s health in family practice, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.  Register today .
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 in the late summer of 2020. 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!