April 12, 2017

SWHR Convenes Leaders in Health Policy for Second Annual Awards Dinner Symposium: The State of Women’s Health

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR®) held its Second Annual Awards Dinner Symposium: The State of Women’s Health in Washington, DC, on March 22, 2017, gathering some of the best minds in health policy to discuss advancements in women’s health, and to explore existing policy challenges in understanding gender and ethnic disparities in health.

Amy M. Miller, PhD, president and CEO of SWHR, delivered the welcoming remarks, followed by Monica P. Mallampalli, PhD, MSc, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at SWHR, who spoke about the tremendous progress in women’s health and then introduced the event speakers.

Cynthia Hess, PhD, Associate Director of Research Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shared findings on women’s health and well-being across the U.S. based on state level data published in IWPR’s Status of Women in the States 2015 report.

“Good policy needs to be based on data acknowledging that women’s experiences are different from men, and that experiences among women and men vary according to practice such as race and ethnicity, age, sexual identity, geographic location, and so forth,” said Dr. Hess.

Marsha Henderson, MCRP, Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), discussed the Office of Women’s Health at FDA’s improvements to the quality of life for women and their families, particularly through ensuring inclusion of women in clinical trials, publicizing pregnancy registries, as well as advising about FDA’s wide range of regulated products including foods, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.

Linda Blount, MPH, President and CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), spoke about how big data in health research can often overlook underlying social determinants. She shared findings from BWHI’s IndexUS, the first comparative index of black women’s health.

Andrew Sperling, JD, Director of Federal Legislative Advocacy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, addressed gender differences in mental illness and the need for more precise diagnostics of many psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

While the status of women’s health in the U.S. has improved, disparities and health outcomes for women of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups still need to be addressed through increased investments in prevention and treatments. SWHR will work with these organizations to address these challenges and facilitate the necessary advances to improve the health and well-being of all women.

The symposium concluded with a brief Q&A session, followed by a networking reception that led into SWHR’s 27th Annual Awards Dinner.

SWHR expresses gratitude to all who supported and attended the event, including our generous sponsors Amgen, Eli Lilly and Company, Spectrum Communications, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.