UCSF hosts public forum on next decade of NIH women's health research

By Karin Rush-Monroe on May 08, 2009

The University of California, San Francisco is hosting a public forum and scientific workshop May 27-29 to discuss emerging issues of importance for the National Institutes of Health research agenda for women’s health in the coming decade. 

The town hall meeting is sponsored by the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) of the Office of the Director, NIH. It is the second of four regional events the ORWH is holding across the country to solicit comments for its future research agenda.

The meeting will begin with a public hearing to gather input from scientists, health care providers, patients, community and advocacy groups, and other interested parties.  Sessions will be held at the Conference Center on the UCSF Mission Bay campus.  The conference is free and open to the general public, but registration is required. For more information on the agenda, how to submit testimony, invited speakers, registration and travel information, visit https://www.obgyn.medschool.ucsf.edu/orwh/.

“The convergence of cutting-edge science, new clinical therapies and innovative technologies—particularly in the Bay Area—makes this an exciting time for women’s health research. The potential to advance women’s health is unlimited. However, federal funds are not. That’s why it is so important for individuals to share their voices and help the NIH determine priorities for allocating resources for the greatest impact,” said Linda C. Giudice, MD, PhD, chair of the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and a member of the NIH ORWH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health.

“We are at a critical juncture to anticipate futuristic and unique women’s health research programs based upon emerging science, new technologies and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches across the lifespan,” said Vivian W. Pinn, MD, associate director for Research on Women’s Health at the NIH and director of ORWH.  “We invite women and men, scientists and practitioners, and advocates for women’s health to join us in identifying where women’s health research should take us over the next 10 years, recognizing also the concerns about conditions unique for girls and women, as well as the effects of biologic sex as a modifier of cellular and genetic function and its relationship to improved disease prevention, detection and treatment for methodologies or conditions that may affect both women and men.” 

Individuals will have an opportunity to provide public testimony from 2-6 p.m. on May 27.  Six concurrent working group sessions will focus on a range of women’s health research areas, including global health, stem cell research, environmental health, HIV/AIDS, information technology, and women in biomedical careers. Results of these discussions will be presented in a plenary session the final morning.

“Innovative research directions often arise when people have the opportunity to explore their unique perspectives on shared goals of promoting health and reducing illness and suffering. UCSF is pleased to work with the NIH ORWH to create a forum that will facilitate dialogue among individuals from diverse disciplines and all walks of life who are equally committed to improving women’s health worldwide,” said Nancy Milliken, MD, vice dean, UCSF School of Medicine and director, UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

The regional events are designed to promote interactive discussion among leading scientists, women’s health advocates, public policy experts, health care providers and the general public from across the nation.  Future workshops will be held at Women and Infants Hospital/Brown University, Providence, RI, September 21-23, 2009, and Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, October 14-16, 2009.

Findings and recommendations from the four regional meetings, with additional input from the NIH research community, will be incorporated into a strategic plan for women’s health research at a meeting at the NIH in March/April 2010. The final document will represent the strategic research priorities for women’s health research for the coming decade and will be unveiled in September 2010 during the 20th anniversary celebration of the ORWH at the NIH.

The Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of the Director, NIH serves as the focal point for women’s health research at the NIH. For more information about the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health or the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, visit http://orwh.od.nih.gov/ or http://orwh.od.nih.gov/about/advisory.html.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For more information, visit www.ucsf.edu.