Women's Health Updates — May 2019
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.
Hundreds gathered to celebrate advancements in women’s health at SWHR's 29th Annual Awards Dinner on May 1. “We share a grand vision of making women’s health mainstream,” SWHR President and CEO Dr. Amy M. Miller told the crowd. “Together, we can do it.”

When it comes to the differences between men and women, “There’s a lot we don’t know,” SWHR's Dr. Miller tells DAME Magazine in this article exploring science's failure to study women’s health. “We only started including women in research 15 or 20 years ago and that means a lot of generic drugs may not have been investigated in women. We don’t know if a drug isn’t as effective in a woman’s body as it is in a man’s." Read more.
While great strides have been made in women's health, there is still much work to be done. It is time for the health care industry to dismantle the stigma associated with women’s health and to address these needs head on, SWHR's Dr. Miller writes in a guest blog post for Health Decisions.
Doctors are more likely to dismiss pain symptoms based on patients’ race, gender, and age. For women with pelvic pain caused by conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids, they are commonly told their pain is just a normal part of being a woman, SWHR's Dr. Miller tells Consumer Reports.
Comedian Amy Schumer drew attention to disparities in medical research on social media recently, Yahoo! Lifestyle reports, citing SWHR's blog post about how endometriosis is underfunded and under-researched in part because of the normalization of women’s pain and the stigma around menstrual issues.
We’re in the golden age of biomedical progress, and yet women’s health still presents many mysteries to the scientific community, SWHR Board member Gretta Stone writes in a blog post for Reservoir Communications Group.
Learn about amazing women who are changing how we think about, talk about, and treat the debilitating chronic pain that affects millions of women. SWHR is pleased to have worked with two of these pain warriors — Abby Norman (right) and Tanika Gray Valbrun — on our recent endometriosis white paper. Meet the women.
In response to debate around biological sex differences in the brain, leaders from the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences published a letter to the editor in Nature stating that the brain, like many organs, shows differences attributable to sex, both in health and disease. Studying these differences will lead to new treatments that target sex hormone and sex-chromosome effects and ultimately help people irrespective of their sex.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by bladder issues like urinary incontinence and UTIs, which can significantly disrupt daily life. Yet many are hesitant to talk to their health care providers due to lack of awareness and stigma around bladder conditions. Read more on SWHR's blog.
Check out the Global Healthy Living Foundation's Migraine Patient Guidelines , which offer clear, trusted information to make sense of all the treatment choices for migraine disease.
SWHR's Dr. Miller joined an impressive panel of women in the biopharmaceutical industry on Capitol Hill last week to discuss the new era of medicine and its impact on women’s health, as well as the future of women in science and how we can work together to empower women and girls. Read her guest post on The Catalyst blog.
SWHR sent letters to the Senate and House subcommittees that oversee NIH funding urging increased investment in the agency for fiscal year 2020 and emphasizing that it is in the nation’s best interest to appropriately fund a federal research agenda inclusive of women’s health and sex differences research.
This publication provides a new framework for NIH-funded women’s health research that aims to fill gaps in knowledge about the health of women across a wide range of diseases and conditions. Additionally, the plan addresses the professional development of women in biomedical careers. Read the plan here.
The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health will host the 4th Annual NIH Vivian W. Pinn Symposium on “Improving Maternal Health.” Leading clinicians and researchers will review current statistics and health services research on this topic and provide an overview of relevant programs.  Register today.

In addition, ORWH just launched its Maternal Morbidity and Mortality portal , with information and resources on maternal health.

The NIH Pain Consortium will convene a symposium May 30-31 on "Pain Across the Lifespan,” featuring a keynote address on pain and opioids, a patient’s perspective, and expert panel sessions on pediatric pain, mid-life pain and special populations, and pain management in older adults. Register here.

The Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) will host a webinar May 22 from 11 a.m.-noon ET to discuss next steps after its renewal by the HHS Secretary to guide implementation of recommendations for addressing gaps in research on safe and effective therapies for pregnant women and lactating women. Register here.
Biology of Sex Differences seeks submissions of original research and review articles linking pregnancy, pregnancy hypertension, preeclampsia, renal and cardiovascular diseases as they relate to pregnancy outcomes, placental factors, development of hypertension, congenital diseases and adverse fetal outcomes. Submit your work today.