Monday, March 4th, 2024 | 12:00-1:00pm | The Bornstein Amphitheater and via Zoom Improving Cardiometabolic…
The 6th Annual Connors Center Research Symposium was held in the Zinner Breakout Room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Thursday, November 30, 2023. It was held in conjunction with the Brigham/Harvard Reproductive Outcomes of Stress & Aging (ROSA) Center, an NIH Specialized Center of Research Excellence on Sex Differences. Over 150 registered from the MGB system, Connors Center network, Greater Boston community, and beyond. Participants gathered in-person and virtually to celebrate the important work being done by Connors Center investigators. Speakers included recipients of Connors Centers grant awards and fellowships, Tynan Research scientists, and ROSA Center awardees and associate scientists.
Elizabeth “Beth” Garner, MD, MPH delivered the keynote address entitled “Revolutionizing Women’s Health: Uniting Stakeholders to Bridge the Gaps in Therapeutic Investment and Innovation”. Dr. Garner is Chief Scientific Officer at Ferring Pharmaceuticals and the current President of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). During the symposium, she shared insights into her background and training as an OB/GYN and research in Gynecologic Oncology preceding her transition into the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Garner provided insightful context into the history and current status of women’s health research and therapeutics. She encouraged strategies for fostering buy-in from important industry, private, and public stakeholders in women’s health research and therapeutic development. She concluded her presentation with recommendations towards the maximization of the women’s health ecosystem, including increasing the representation of women in top decision-making positions, establishing public institutions to champion women’s health research in the NIH and FDA, and combating the stigma of comprehensive treatment for reproductive health. Laura Holsen, PhD, Director of Research Training at the Connors Center, provided introductory remarks and facilitated the Q&A session with Dr. Garner.
Connors Center investigators then presented their research in a series of presentations and Q&As.
“Making the Invisible Visible: Results of a National Survey on the Health of Women”, presented by Primavera Spagnolo, MD, PhD (IGNITE Awardee, ROSA Pilot Awardee and former Tynan Research Scientist);
“Strengthening Sexual Violence Care in Sierra Leone”, presented by Rose Olson, MD (Global Women’s Health Fellow);
“Personalized Smartphone Salivary Bioassay for At-Home Ovulation Prediction in Women with PCOS”, presented by Hadi Shafiee, PhD (IGNITE Awardee).
The session introduction was also provided by Laura Holsen, PhD, Director of Research Training at the Connors Center.
“Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Maternal Cardiovascular Disease: Moving Beyond Population-level Association to Patient-Level Prevention”, presented by Jennifer “Jen” Stuart, ScD (WHISPR Awardee and ROSA Associate Scholar);
“Sex-informed Analyses for Thrombotic Cardiovascular Diseases: From Pregnancy to Senescence”, presented by Behnood Bikdeli, MD, MS (IGNITE Awardee and Tynan Research Scientist);
“Sex Differences in Heart Failure with Improved Ejection Fraction”, presented by Maria Pabon, MD (First.In.Women® Fellow).
The session introduction was provided by Cindy Liu, PhD, Director of Psychosocial Stress, Diversity, and Health at the Connors Center.
The symposium concluded with brief remarks from Hermioni Amonoo, MD, Carol C. Nadelson, MD Distinguished Chair in Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “ Politics, HPV, and HPV Vaccine Awareness”. Dr. Amonoo provided context for health disparities in HPV vaccination rates and completion, along with factors driving low vaccination uptake including misinformation, lack of access, lack of awareness of disease burden, and social determinants of health. She illuminated correlation between political alignment and HPV vaccination uptake in the US and other potential confounding factors such as ideological differences being a proxy for other sociodemographic factors. Finally, Dr. Amonoo recommended using this information to inform intervention development considering political and geographic differences. You can learn more in Dr. Amonoo’s recent publication here. Following the symposium, speakers and attendees enjoyed a reception to foster further discussion and networking.
Thank you to all speakers, moderators, and attendees for supporting and engaging with the important research funded by the Connors Center and for marking this event a tremendous success!