Women's Health Updates — June 2021

Learn about recent developments in women's health as well as SWHR's activities that promote the study of sex and gender influences on health and serve our mission to improve women's health through science, policy, and education.
As more people get COVID-19 vaccines, reports suggest women are experiencing worse side effects than men. Women and men show differences in adverse events, immune response, and disease protection after vaccination. As such, research on vaccines should consider the influence of sex and gender. Read more on our blog.
Scientists and doctors don't know exactly why — or even if — vaccines might impact menstruation. The dearth of research and interest in the vaccines’ potential effects on menstrual cycles is an example of what happens when women are historically left out of medical research, according to some researchers. Read more.
According to a recent study, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be at higher risk for COVID-19 compared to others in their age group. PCOS is an imbalance of reproductive hormones that can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, high androgen levels and ovarian cysts. But it can also come with a host of other health problems, nearly all of which overlap COVID-19 comorbidities. Read more.
Raising awareness of migraine disease and bolstering funding for migraine research are key to improving the quality of life for those with migraine. SWHR has created a new fact sheet for those with migraine disease to share with their friends, family, and coworkers:

Migraine Patient Toolkits

An estimated 30% of U.S. adults have extra fat in their liver, a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can progress to more serious liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). While men are more likely to develop NAFLD, a recent study suggests that women with NAFLD are more likely to progress to NASH and fibrosis than men. Learn more for International NASH Day on June 10 by reading SWHR's blog.
Estrogen greatly influences the health of women across the lifespan, from protecting our bones to playing a key role in the menstrual cycle. However, in gynecological conditions like endometriosis and fibroids, estrogen promotes the growth of the disease. This raises the question: Do endometriosis and fibroids impact bone health? Read more.
Navigating the U.S. health care system can feel like learning a foreign language. Fluency can vary depending on the person, and some might not know the language at all. Health literacy —the ability to understand health information and navigate the health system — may influence maternal and infant health. Read more.
The Friends of ORWH (FORWH) coalition is composed of organizations representing researchers, clinicians, patients, and policy advocates that are committed to addressing sex and gender disparities in health and prioritizing research gaps and unmet needs to advance women’s health. Learn more and become a member.
As part of SWHR's efforts to support the NIH and to advance women’s health research, SWHR President and CEO Kathryn Schubert testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, to outline SWHR’s NIH funding priorities for the fiscal year 2022. Read the testimony.

SWHR signed on to a letter urging congressional leadership to include investments in the infrastructure underpinning the medical research enterprise as a key national priority. Investments in research infrastructure will contribute toward greater resiliency during pandemics and better prepare the research community to respond to future outbreaks and other existing and emerging threats. Read the letter.
SWHR President and CEO Kathryn Schubert submitted comments to the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI) in response to its Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Value Model Scope. Major depressive disorder is nearly twice as likely in women than men, so it's important that value assessment models account for patient population diversity, including sex and gender, and include and evaluate data that matter to women. Read more.
SWHR seeks an experienced candidate to support the planning and execution of our growing portfolio of science programs. This person will perform cross-cutting functions to assist in strategic planning and communications related to science programs.

SWHR seeks a highly motivated candidate to be responsible for maintaining and updating our donor database, including data entry and integrity, analysis, and report generation.
On June 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET, join Johns Hopkins Medicine’s A Woman’s Journey for a conversation with Dr. William Sharfman as he reviews the risks, signs, and symptoms of melanoma. He will also discuss melanoma research and treatment protocols, as well as novel therapies for high-risk patients with advanced melanoma. Register.
Join the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology for a Virtual Summit on the Health of Women: Innovating to Optimize Treatments on June 17. This event brings together experts and researchers to discuss and celebrate the progress made in women’s health research and the progress still required. Learn more.
VCU’s Institute of Women’s Health has put together the Health of Women 2021 as a seven-part virtual symposium series. This first sessions kicks off on June 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET with a focus on cardiovascular health in women. Register and read the entire agenda.