February 2018
In This Issue
Women's Heart Health

Institute Happenings

Upcoming Events 
  Recent Blogs 
Dear friends,

The Women’s Health Research Institute has had so much to celebrate in the new year. January 25th marked the anniversary of the NIH policy mandating the inclusion of sex as a biological variable. That day, we held the 2 nd Annual Sex Cells Symposium (read more in the institute happenings). A proclamation was made by the Chicago City Council declaring January 25th Women’s Health Research Day, and a similar resolution is making its rounds in Congress as we type. We couldn’t have done it without all of you! Thank you for all of your continued support. Without your passion and advocacy in support of sex-inclusive research, the future of science wouldn’t be as bright!

Additionally, we would like to congratulate our Director of Science Outreach and Education, Dr. Nicole Woitowich, on the birth of her son Connor. You will see us signing off on the newsletter during her leave. We are wishing her well!

Your friends at the Women’s Health Research Institute,
Alexa Karczmar and Megan Runge
WHRI Staff

Women’s Health Research Institute Reflects on Black History and American Heart Months
This February, we are bringing attention to Black History and American Heart months as we look at their intersections with women and healthcare.

Black Female Physicians in History
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to become a physician, earning her M.D. in 1864.

Dr. Jennifer Ellis who is one of only five Black female cardiothoracic surgeons in the US. Watch Dr. Ellis’s brief interview on the experience of being an African American heart surgeon.

Writer and Producer Crystal R. Emery created the film Black Women in Medicine , highlighting the careers, successes, and struggles of Black female doctors, who are far underrepresented in the medical field.
Heart Disease and Women’s Health
Heart disease has remained the leading cause of death for women in the United States since the 1950s [ 1 ]. Drastic declines in heart disease-related deaths over the last 50 years have been partially attributed to public health measures that have led to prevention tips, improved education, and enhanced clinical treatments.

Some of the best tips for preventing heart disease are regular exercise and proper diet, as well as following the ABCS :

  • Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
  • Blood pressure control
  • Cholesterol management
  • Smoking cessation

Black women experience much slower declines in cardiovascular disease and death than their White female peers. It is estimated that 49% of Black women over the age of 20 have heart diseases. Public health movements are challenged with further understanding and addressing the emergence of racial health disparities, especially surrounding cardiovascular health and heart disease mortalities.

Save the Date for Monthly Forums in 2018
For the past decade, the WHRI has hosted monthly Women’s Health Forums which highlight basic science, clinical, or sociological research with a focus on the role of sex and gender in health and disease. The forums are open to all members of the Northwestern community, as well as the general public, and attract a diverse and interprofessional audience. Below you will find the schedule for the first half of 2018:  

February 27th –Jonathan Silverberg, MD, Northwestern University 
March 13th - Kirstie Danielson, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago 
April 17th – Sharon Rosenberg, MD, Northwestern University 
May 22nd – Seema Kahn, MD, Northwestern University
June 19th – Dima Elissa, VisMED-3D
July 17th – Marla Mendelson, MD, Northwestern University

All forums take place from 12:00-1:00 PM in Prentice Women's Hospital. As usual, a light lunch will be provided with registration. Please keep in mind there is no forum in January due to the 2nd Annual Symposium on Sex Inclusion in Biomedical Research.

Do you have suggestions for a forum topic? We'd love to hear from you! 

Institute Happenings
2nd Annual Symposium on Sex Inclusion in Biomedical Research
The 2nd Annual Symposium on Sex Inclusion in Biomedical Research was held on January 25, 2018, coinciding with Women’s Health Research Day to mark the progress made by sex-inclusive science in the last two years. This year’s theme, “A Spotlight on Autoimmunity,” featured keynote and plenary lectures by nationally recognized experts in sex-based immunology, including Drs. Jayne Danska, Sabra Klein, and Maureen Su.

Dr. Teresa Woodruff, Founder and Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, opened the Sex Cells Symposium with her thoughts on what it has meant to bring sex inclusion to the fore in basic science. This work has inspired conversations and collaborations from the bench to the clinic, making individualized healthcare possible for women across the globe. “We are a community engaged in next-generation thinking, and I do believe that if we look back from this podium 20 years from now, the things that we do today really will be transformative to the science that will be done tomorrow,” Dr. Woodruff said. You can read more about the happenings at Sex Cells 2018 here.

The Woman’s Health Research Institute would like to thank all of those who participated in the Sex Cells Symposium, as well as Women’s Health Research Day. We look forward to celebrating again with you in 2019!

The WHRI Celebrates Women's Health Research Day
In celebration of the anniversary of the National Institutes of Health Sex Inclusion Policy of 2016 , Northwestern University graduate students and staff put on an event in the Thompson Center to share the importance of Women’s Health Research with the public. Attendees learned about sex differences in symptomatology and treatment, recent discoveries in sex-inclusive research, and reproductive biology.

In addition to this local outreach event, representatives of the Women’s Health Research Institute attended the Chicago City Council meeting on January 17, 2018, where Women’s Health Research Day was declared a city-recognized holiday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Graduate students and postdocs from Northwestern University celebrate Women's Health Research Day at the Thompson Center.
Dr. Danska (left) and Dr. Klein (right) discuss the state of sex-inclusive science in the field of autoimmunity.
Upcoming Events 

Tuesday, February 27th: Women's Health Research Forum
Atopic and Contact Dermatitis

Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of  Dermatology Medical Social Sciences  and  Preventive Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine

12:00 to 1:00PM
Prentice Women's Hospital
250 E. Superior Street
3rd Floor Conference Room L

This forum will not have continuing nursing education activity. The planners and faculty have declared no conflict of interest. 
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