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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.

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.

Annual Women’s Health Luncheon

Annually since 2005 on the Friday before Mother’s Day in May, the Connors Center hosts its Women’s Health Luncheon Program.

Due to concerns about COVID-19, the May 2020 luncheon was cancelled. The 2020 program, titled “Mental Health & Resilience” will be presented during the 2021 luncheon scheduled for May 7, 2021. More information about the luncheon can be found here.

The event on May 10, 2019 marked the most successful program in the event’s history. Titled “Heart of the Matter: Insight into Women’s Cardiovascular Health,” featured keynote speaker Tara Westover, New York Times best-selling author of Educated: A Memoir. BWH-featured speakers included BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD, Connors Center Executive Director Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc, and BWH cardiologists Michelle O’Donoghue, MD, Anju Nohria, MD, and Gregory Piazza, MD, MS.

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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 3rd annual WHISPR symposium, to take place in April 2020, was cancelled.

The 2nd annual WHISPR symposium took place on April 3, 2019, and featured keynote speaker Jamie Maguire, PhD, Kenneth and JoAnn G. Wellner Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine. She spoke on “Stress and Postpartum Depression: Lessons from Preclinical Models.” Dr. Maguire’s work was seminal to the recent FDA approval of the first drug ever for postpartum depression.

The 1st annual WHISPR symposium took place on April 11, 2018, and featured keynote speaker Karestan Koenen, PhD, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Broad Institute.  Her talk was titled, “Trauma and Women’s Health: Life Course Burden Within and Across Generations”.

Annual Research Events

Our 2020 Virtual Research Symposium: Stress, Sex, and Gender, was held on September 22, 2020. The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Kerry Ressler and additional speakers, Dr. Hadine Joffe, Dr. Dawn DeMeo, Dr. Le Min, and Dr. Cindy Liu. A Q&A session was moderated by Dr. JoAnn Manson. Watch a recording of the symposium here.

The annual Connors Center Data Blitz 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 2nd annual blitz took place on Tuesday, November 19th 2:30pm-5pm. The event featured talks from 12 Connors Center leaders, fellows and awardees, and followed a data-blitz format with talks divided into sessions of 3 speakers, followed by time for questions at the end of each session. The data blitz was open to the entire BWH/HMS academic community. Please see our 2019 Data Blitz Program.

Events, Symposia & Programs
Presentations on Current Topics in Research: Laura Huang, PhD

On January 17th, 2019, the Connors Center hosted Laura Huang, PhD, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, for a talk entitled, “Impact of Physician Gender on Cardiac Care for Women: Potential Role of Bias and Parallels between the Healthcare and Business Environments.” Dr. Huang shared the results of her groundbreaking study which revealed that female heart attack patients admitted to hospital emergency departments were less likely to survive when treated by male physicians than patients of either gender treated by female physicians or male patients treated by male physicians.

AccessCircles Educational Programs

On November 19, 2019, the Center hosted a Women’s Health Access Matters! (WHAM) Collaborative Meeting and welcomed AccessCircles members to Brigham for a private program preceding the 2nd Annual Research Data Blitz. The event included presentations and discussions on continued collaborations which will advance research on women’s health. The event featured Rachel Buckley, PhD, Instructor in Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Hospital’s Department of Neurology, and Postdoctoral Researcher at Harvard Medical School Neurology Department, who spoke on “Why Are Women at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease?”.

On November 1, 2018, the Center hosted a Women’s Health Access Matters! Board Meeting and welcomed AccessCircles members to Brigham for a private half-day program.  The event included presentations and discussions with leading Connors Center clinicians and researchers in the fields of brain health, heart health, cancer, and autoimmune disease treatment and prevention as it relates to women’s health and sex differences. Guest speakers included JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH who spoke on “Estrogen Therapy and Cardiovascular Disease: What Do We Really Know?”, Michelle O’Donoghue, MD, MPH who spoke on the “Overview of Treatment of Heart Disease in Women”, Francine Grodstein, ScD, who spoke on “Women Estrogen and Alzheimer’s Disease” and Nicole LeBoeuf, MD, MPH, who spoke on “Sex Differences in Side Effects of Cancer Immunotherapies”.

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