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As part of its mission to bolster knowledge in the field of women’s health research, the Connors Center hosts educational events, programs and symposia which unite the thought leaders and accomplished researchers of the Brigham and Harvard communities to share their knowledge and expertise.

Annual Women’s Health Luncheon

The Connors Center has been hosting its Women’s Health Luncheon Program annually since 2005 on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Past keynote speakers have included Mariel Hemingway, Tara Westover, Lesley Stahl and Ann Romney. Learn more about the Luncheon here.

The 2023 Luncheon took place in person on May 19, 2023. The theme was “Reproductive Health: Advocacy | Education | Equity” and the event featured Supermodel and founder of Every Mother Counts Christy Turlington Burns, MPH as the keynote speaker along with presentations on reproductive health from Complex Family Fellowship Director Alisa Goldberg, MD, MPH and Department of OBGYN Chair Nawal Nour, MD, MPH. Learn more about the event here.

The 2022 luncheon took place in person on May 6, 2022. More information about the luncheon and its speakers can be found here.

Annual Research Events

The Annual Connors Center Research Symposium provides an opportunity for the Connors Center to showcase the exciting and important work being carried out to advance the health of women by the Center’s leaders, fellows, and seed funding awardees.

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. 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”.  Additional Speakers included Connors Center Awardees and fellows, and ROSA Center awardees and associate scientists. Read more and watch a recording here.

Dr. Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc Opens The 6th Annual Connors Center Research Symposium
Dr. Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc Opens The 6th Annual Connors Center Research Symposium

Dr. Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc opens the 6th Annual Connors Center Research Symposium

Dr. Beth Garner, MD, MPH, Delivering Her Keynote Address

Dr. Beth Garner, MD, MPH, delivering her keynote address

Dr. Primavera Spagnolo, MD, PhD Delivering Her Presentation

Dr. Primavera Spagnolo, MD, PhD delivering her presentation

Dr. Rose Olson, MD Delivers Her Presentation

Dr. Rose Olson, MD delivers her presentation

Dr. Jen Stuart, ScD Delivers Her Presentation

Dr. Jen Stuart, ScD delivers her presentation

Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, MD, MS Delivers His Presentation

Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, MD, MS delivers his presentation

Dr. Maria Pabon, MD Delivers Her Presentation

Dr. Maria Pabon, MD delivers her presentation

Dr. Hermioni Amonoo, MD Delivering Brief Remarks To Close The Symposium

Dr. Hermioni Amonoo, MD delivering brief remarks to close the symposium

Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Stress Program of Research (WHISPR) Symposium

As part of the Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Stress Program of Research (WHISPR), the Connors Center hosts an annual scientific symposium for the BWH academic community on the topic of how physiologic and psychological stress affect women’s health and disease. Each WHISPR symposium includes a keynote speaker followed by short, pitch presentations from finalists who have applied for one-year pilot research awards on the topic of stress and women’s health.

The 6th Annual Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Stress Program of Research (WHISPR) Symposium and Awardee Presentation took place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Thursday, May 4th. Over 100 individuals registered to attend in person and virtually from the Connors Center, BWH, the MGB system, and the external community. The Symposium featured keynote speaker Cynthia Rogers, MD, who discussed “Addressing Social Determinants to Optimize Perinatal and Neonatal Well-Being.” Dr. Rogers is the Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Rogers co-directs the Washington University Neonatal Development Research (WUNDER) group, a multidisciplinary lab which uses multi-modal MRI to understand how poverty, racism, prematurity, and prenatal substance exposure affect the brain at birth, alter brain development across childhood, and relate to child psychiatric disorder.

In addition the Dr. Rogers’s keynote, Sarbattama Sen, MD provided an overview and update of the Mama Sana Program, which aims to address striking disparities in lactation support and outcomes among Hispanic patients at BWH and empower mothers to achieve their perinatal goals. The program is composed of various modes of support including group classes, individual consultants and Spanish-speaking counselors, and follow-up phone calls and group classes postpartum. Dr. Sen is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a neonatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Following these talks the 2023 WHISPR Awardees, Irene Gonsalvez, MD and Shanlin Ke, PhD, were introduced and provided an overview of their awarded projects. More information about the Awardees can be found here and a full recap and recording of the Symposium can be found here.

Information on earlier WHISPR Symposiums can be found here.

Connors Center Conversations

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the mission of the Connors Center remains strong: to highlight the priority for applying a sex and gender lens to important, often urgent, research. To that end, Connors Center Conversations was launched to illuminate and maintain a spotlight on how this incredibly challenging situation will impact the health of women. 


Telemedicine in the U.S. has expanded rapidly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Use of telemedicine has preserved our ability to care for patients and can also be harnessed to develop and optimize innovative ways to deliver high-quality, gender-specific health care for women. In this webinar, panels of experts will discuss whether and how telemedicine can meet healthcare needs for women, and what obstacles and challenges should be considered and addressed in pursuing this goal.

Sex and Gender Factors in COVID-19:  On June 10, 2020 the Connors Center hosted a webinar focused on sex and gender factors in the context of COVID-19 research and care. This webinar featured conversations and panels with experts from Brigham Health.


Our podcast seriesConnors Center Conversations: Igniting Change for the Health of Womenexplores the cutting edge in sex- and gender-informed research and how to translate these discoveries into better and more precise care for women. Find the podcast here. 

Episode 1:  The Fundamentals of Difference with Hadine Joffe: On this episode of Connors Center Conversations, Hadine Joffe discusses sex- and gender differences in healthcare and research in the context of COVID-19 and the First.In.Women Precision Medicine Platform.

Episode 2: The Effects of Stress and Trauma Over the Lifespan: A Conversation with Dr. Kerry Ressler and Dr. Cindy Liu. On this episode of Connors Center Conversations we take the long view on the impact of stress and trauma Over a Lifetime with Dr. Kerry Ressler and Dr. Cindy Liu.

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