SWHR Welcomes Three New Members to Board in 2024 



The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is pleased to welcome three new leaders Shyamasundaran Kottilil, MD, PhD, Christine Harhaj, and Catherine Spong, MD to its Board of Directors. These leaders bring valuable clinical, industry, and research perspectives to SWHR’s current Board, building upon a multidisciplinary team that supports the Society’s work advancing women’s health through science, policy, and education while promoting research on sex differences to optimize women’s health. 

Dr. Kottilil is the Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research at the Institute of Human Virology. He is also Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also continues to work as the Scientific Director of the NIH-District of Columbia Program for AIDS Progress. He specializes in pathogenesis of chronic viral infections, translational research, and eradicating chronic persistent viral infections by targeting the virus and the host, and he has conducted several pivotal investigator-initiated studies in hepatitis C. 

Christine Harhaj is Deputy Vice President, Advocacy and Strategic Alliances at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies that are discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Harhaj leads stakeholder engagement and advocacy across constituencies and issue areas to drive patient-centered progress in innovation, affordability, and access to life-saving prescription medicines. 

Dr. Spong is a tenured professor and Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Previously, she served at the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for over two decades, as a Deputy Director, Acting Director, and Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. Dr. Spong specializes in prematurity, fetal complications, improving outcomes for children, and inclusion of pregnant and lactating women in research, and she is the editor-in chief of the journal Contemporary ObGyn.  

“We are excited to welcome our new board members! Their experiences, ranging from basic research to clinical care to advocacy will support SWHR’s focus of addressing women’s well-being across the lifespan,” said Gretta Stone, SWHR Board Chair. 

“SWHR is proud to have these three incredible leaders in Dr. Kottilil, Ms. Harhaj, and Dr. Spong join our Board of Directors. We are certain their expertise and backgrounds will strengthen SWHR’s efforts advancing women’s health research–and will do so during an exciting time when additional attention and federal resources are being allotted to women’s health,” said Kathryn G. Schubert, MPP, CAE, SWHR President & CEO, referring in part to the new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research and recently established National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Autoimmune Disease Research. 

The Society is also thrilled to announce Erika Miller as Chair-elect this year. Miller serves on the Board Executive Committee and is a Managing Partner at CRD Associates. 

SWHR would like to express its deep appreciation to Anne B. Cropp, PharmD and Michael Ybarra, MD for their Board service through 2023 and their continued efforts to make women’s health mainstream. Dr. Cropp is Chief Scientific Officer of Early Access Care LLC, a health care company focused on facilitating all stakeholders involved in the review and approval of Expanded Access and Compassionate Use requests for investigational drugs. Dr. Ybarra is an emergency medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer at PhRMA. 

A full list of the SWHR Board of Directors is available here. 

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is pleased to welcome three new leaders Shyamasundaran Kottilil, MD, PhD, Christine Harhaj, and Catherine Spong, MD to its Board of Directors. These leaders bring valuable clinical, industry, and research perspectives to SWHR’s current Board, building upon a multidisciplinary team that supports the Society’s work advancing women’s health through science, policy, and education while promoting research on sex differences to optimize women’s health. 

Dr. Kottilil is the Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research at the Institute of Human Virology. He is also Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also continues to work as the Scientific Director of the NIH-District of Columbia Program for AIDS Progress. He specializes in pathogenesis of chronic viral infections, translational research, and eradicating chronic persistent viral infections by targeting the virus and the host, and he has conducted several pivotal investigator-initiated studies in hepatitis C. 

Christine Harhaj is Deputy Vice President, Advocacy and Strategic Alliances at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies that are discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Harhaj leads stakeholder engagement and advocacy across constituencies and issue areas to drive patient-centered progress in innovation, affordability, and access to life-saving prescription medicines. 

Dr. Spong is a tenured professor and Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Previously, she served at the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for over two decades, as a Deputy Director, Acting Director, and Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. Dr. Spong specializes in prematurity, fetal complications, improving outcomes for children, and inclusion of pregnant and lactating women in research, and she is the editor-in chief of the journal Contemporary ObGyn.  

“We are excited to welcome our new board members! Their experiences, ranging from basic research to clinical care to advocacy will support SWHR’s focus of addressing women’s well-being across the lifespan,” said Gretta Stone, SWHR Board Chair. 

“SWHR is proud to have these three incredible leaders in Dr. Kottilil, Ms. Harhaj, and Dr. Spong join our Board of Directors. We are certain their expertise and backgrounds will strengthen SWHR’s efforts advancing women’s health research–and will do so during an exciting time when additional attention and federal resources are being allotted to women’s health,” said Kathryn G. Schubert, MPP, CAE, SWHR President & CEO, referring in part to the new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research and recently established National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Autoimmune Disease Research. 

The Society is also thrilled to announce Erika Miller as Chair-elect this year. Miller serves on the Board Executive Committee and is a Managing Partner at CRD Associates. 

SWHR would like to express its deep appreciation to Anne B. Cropp, PharmD and Michael Ybarra, MD for their Board service through 2023 and their continued efforts to make women’s health mainstream. Dr. Cropp is Chief Scientific Officer of Early Access Care LLC, a health care company focused on facilitating all stakeholders involved in the review and approval of Expanded Access and Compassionate Use requests for investigational drugs. Dr. Ybarra is an emergency medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer at PhRMA. 

A full list of the SWHR Board of Directors is available here.