HADINE JOFFE, MD, MSc
Dr. Joffe is the Paula A. Johnson Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and the Executive Vice Chair for Academic and Faculty Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry at BWH. With joint positions at BWH and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Joffe directs the Women’s Hormones and Aging Research Program. In her role as Executive Director of the Connors Center, Dr. Joffe has worked to develop a structure for faculty and trainees to forge new ground in women’s health investigation and ensure that research is translatable to patient care and aligned with women’s health advocacy priorities. She continues to work to establish the Connors Center as a resource to advance and train women’s health investigators, who are essential to expanding the field. This includes those who are currently working on women’s health research, as well as other investigators who may be able to incorporate some element that is related to women’s health into their existing research.
She is an experienced clinician and NIH-funded researcher in women’s mental health. Her work is dedicated to advancing the understanding, treatment, and consequences of symptoms resulting from reproductive hormone changes in the brain. Her clinical and research work focuses on the course, mechanisms, and treatment of menopausal symptoms – including hot flashes, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue – in healthy women and in breast cancer patients.
Dr. Joffe received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and her master’s degree in epidemiology from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. She completed her residency training in psychiatry at McLean Hospital and a fellowship in women’s mental health at Massachusetts General Hospital. In recognition of her contributions to and leadership of women’s health research, she was awarded the Thomas Clarkson Outstanding Clinical & Basic Science Research Award from the North American Menopause Society, as well as the Stuart T. Hauser MD PhD Mentorship Award.
PRIMAVERA SPAGNOLO, MD, PhD
Scientific Director, First.In.Women® Precision Medicine Platform
Dr. Spagnolo, MD, PhD, is the Scientific Director of the Connors Center First.In.Women® Precision Medicine Platform. She is a Research Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and a Connors Center Mary Ann Tynan Research Scientist. In her role as Scientific Director, Dr. Spagnolo’s primary role is to implement and expand the First.in.Women Precision Medicine platform. Under her leadership, FiW will illuminate factors and mechanisms implicated in sex- and gender-differences in disease risk, severity and therapeutic targets. Dr. Spagnolo is also implementing a research framework by developing scientific tools for the conduct of sex- and gender-informed research, creating a tremendous resource for researchers across BWH.Dr. Spagnolo is a physician-clinical investigator studying the neurobiological underpinnings, inter-relationships among, and treatment of addictive disorders and stress-related disorders. Her research uses endophenotype-based approaches that span across these diagnostic categories and combines different techniques and interventions, including neuromodulation and neuroimaging, behavioral pharmacology and genetics. Dr. Spagnolo comes to us from the NIH, where since 2012 she has served as a Research Fellow with a joint appointment at the National Institute of Alcohol Use and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). She holds an MD in Medicine and Surgery and a PhD in Pharmacology from Sapienza University in Rome, Italy.
JOANN MANSON, MD, DrPH, MAC
Dr. Manson is the Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School, and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Manson is a physician epidemiologist, endocrinologist, and Principal Investigator of several research studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Center In Boston (PI since study inception in 1993); the cardiovascular component of the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study (PI for 20 years), the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL; PI with Dr. J. Buring since study inception in 2009); and the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS, PI with Dr. H. Sesso since 2014). Her primary research interests include randomized clinical prevention trials of nutritional and lifestyle factors related to heart disease, diabetes, and other age-related disorders and the role of endogenous and exogenous estrogens as determinants of chronic disease. Other major interests include the role of vitamin D, omega-3s, and folate in the prevention of CVD, diabetes, and cancer and the role of metabolomics, genomics, and other biomarkers in predicting these outcomes. Dr. Manson has received numerous honors, including the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Population Research Prize, the AHA’s Distinguished Scientist Award, The AHA’s Ancel Key’s Lectureship Award, election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (National Academy of Medicine), membership in the Association of American Physicians (AAP), fellowship in AAAS, the Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women’s Association, the Bernadine Healy Award for Visionary Leadership in Women’s Health, and the Massachusetts Medical Society awards in both Public Health and Women’s Health Research. She served as the 2011-2012 President of the North American Menopause Society. Dr. Manson has published more than 1,200 articles and is the author or editor of several books and textbooks. In her role as Scientific Advisor for the Connors Center, Dr. Manson brings depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in women’s health research, advocacy and leadership.Learn more about Dr. Manson’s work
JANET RICH-EDWARDS, ScD, MPH
Director of Lifecourse Epidemiology
Dr. Rich-Edwards is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is leading the development of a family cohort/population database of sociodemographic information, medical history and biologic samples based on the 9,000 births at BWH each year, which will serve as an important resource for scientists across BWH and HMS. Her research focuses on determinants of women’s reproductive health across the lifecourse, as well as prenatal and childhood factors that affect the risk of developing chronic disease in adulthood. Dr. Janet Rich-Edwards also continued to develop a program in epidemiology research related to maternal and child health, an area to which she brings considerable expertise and grant funding. She is an investigator in the national Nurses’ Health Studies, where she has examined predictors of adult chronic disease, and is currently leading investigations of the predictors of pregnancy and fertility based on occupation and physical and emotional abuse. She investigates factors underlying the race-related mortality gap, and is a founding investigator of Project Viva, a prenatal and early childhood study in the Boston area. Dr. Rich-Edwards has been funded for a five-year NIH R01 study on Violence, Genes and Cardiovascular Disease in Women, a four-year CDC/NIOSH contract to launch a new Nurses’ Health Study cohort, and a two-year foundation grant to start a cohort study in Mongolia of the impact of vitamin D and milk consumption on childhood growth and development. Dr. Rich-Edwards is also part of the team that received the 2023 BRIght Futures Prize for their project on Trauma-Informed Care for patients with large bodies.
As Director of Lifecourse Epidemiology, Dr. Rich-Edwards brings her expertise in epidemiology research to the Connors Center and is currently analyzing the representation of women and minorities in all clinical trials in the US.
DEBORAH BARTZ, MD, MPH
Director of Education
Dr. Bartz is an obstetrician-gynecologist at BWH and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. She is the Associate Clerkship Director for medical student rotations and is currently the Medical Director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s state-wide Title X Program and the Director of the BWH Ryan Training Program, where she has been innovative in expanding primary care specialist, resident, and medical student training to include evidence-based, women’s health care through simulation and through graduated models of training. As a result of her mentorship work, she has received several teaching awards and entrance into the BWH Faculty Mentorship Leadership Program and the Association of Professors in Obstetrics and Gynecology Scholars and Leaders Program.Her current research program focuses on the development, assessment, and propagation of best educational practices of women’s health curricula. The resulting publications describe reproducible educational initiatives for teaching medical students, residents, or emerging reproductive health providers and demonstrate the educational outcomes affected by these new curricula. By creating, studying, and disseminating these much-needed educational innovations, this body of work allows other women’s health educators to bring this content to their own trainees.
LYDIA PACE, MD, MPH
Director of Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy
Dr. Pace is a researcher with the Division of Women’s Health and primary care physician at BWH, and Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also a graduate of the Connors Center’s Global Women’s Health Fellowship.Her research focuses on the delivery of and access to preventive health care services to women in the United States as well as the developing world. She is particularly interested in women’s cancers and family planning. She has researched breast cancer screening behaviors in the U.S. following the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and has studied the complexities of breast cancer screening decisions in the US. She has also examined the impact of the Affordable Care Act on contraceptive costs and use. She leads research in Rwanda examining effective and feasible strategies for breast cancer early detection, and the quality of breast cancer care. Dr. Pace also teaches Harvard Medical School students and BWH residents in health policy and women’s health.As Director of Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy for the Connors Center, Dr. Pace has worked to influence policy at the institutional, local and national levels to promote the highest standard of health and health care for all women.Learn more about Dr. Pace’s work
CINDY LIU, PhD
Director of Psychosocial Stress, Diversity, and Health
Dr. Cindy Liu is the Director of the Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She has a joint appointment within the Departments of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Psychiatry. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on culture and socio-emotional development, and race and ethnic disparities related to maternal and child mental health. Her program of research incorporates data ranging from behavioral and physiological data collected from the laboratory to population level variables from large survey research. She is the recipient of grant awards from National Institutes of Health, American Psychological Association, Sackler Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson, American Psychological Foundation, Harvard Catalyst, and Office of Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Liu serves on the American Psychological Association Stress and Health Disparities Working Group and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Multicultural Advisory Committee. She has provided expert testimony before the Massachusetts State Legislature on parent mental health.
LAURA HOLSEN, PhD
Director of Research Training
Laura Holsen, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and holds joint appointments at BWH as Research Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychologist in the Division of Women’s Health, Department of Medicine. As Director of Research Training at the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Dr. Holsen manages oversight of the Center’s pilot award programs (IGNITE, WHISPR, MLSC First Look Awards), supports and collaborates with fellowship directors to enhance the experience of fellows in the Center’s Fellowship programs (First.In.Women, Women’s Mental Health, Complex Family Planning, and Global Women’s Health), and contributes to strategic planning for the Center’s Research Training Program.
Dr. Holsen is a clinical neuroscientist working at the intersection of appetite, weight change, and brain, with a goal of additionally incorporating into these domains aspects related to women’s health and sex differences. Work in her lab examines homeostatic, hedonic, and cognitive control circuitry functioning and relationships with appetite-regulatory hormones and metabolic fuels in women with restrictive food intake disorders (anorexia nervosa, AN; avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, ARFID), appetite phenotypes within major depressive disorder (MDD), and individuals with obesity. In addition, Dr. Holsen has contributed to the investigation of sex differences in HPA-axis modulation of stress response circuitry in major depressive disorder, including studies on cortisol response and affective circuitry activity. Dr. Holsen has a long-standing dedication to training, having mentored research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty across multiple disciplines at HMS and the MGB community, served as mentor or co-mentor on NIH T32 and K series awards, and collaborator on various foundation-sponsored career development awards.
LEENA MITTAL, MD
Director, Women’s Mental Health Fellowship
A collaboration between the Department of Psychiatry and the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, and Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School./details>
ALISA GOLDBERG, MD, MPH
Director, Family Planning Fellowship
Dr. Goldberg is Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School and Vice President of Research and Clinical Training at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Dr. Goldberg received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston. She completed a Family Planning Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and received a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of California, Berkeley. While at UCSF, she served as Medical Director of the Women’s Options Center at San Francisco General Hospital and an NICHD Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Scholar. Upon returning to Boston, she founded and currently directs the Division of Family Planning and Family Planning Fellowship program at BWH and similarly founded and directs the Department of Research at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM). She has served as the Chair of the Clinical Policies Committee for the Board of the National Abortion Federation and currently serves as the Chair on the Family Planning Fellowship Advisory Board. Her research has focused on the use of mifepristone and misoprostol for abortion care, increasing post-abortion contraceptive utilization and evaluating clinical interventions that can both improve the quality of abortion and contraceptive care as well as expand access. Mentoring bright young physicians who choose to dedicate their careers to this work brings her much professional joy. She was recently recognized for this work with the 2019 Society of Family Planning Mentor Award.
LYDIA PACE, MD, MPH
Director, Global Women’s Health Fellowship
Dr. Pace is a researcher with the Division of Women’s Health and primary care physician at BWH, and Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also a graduate of the Connors Center’s Global Women’s Health Fellowship.Her research focuses on the delivery of and access to preventive health care services to women in the United States as well as the developing world. She is particularly interested in women’s cancers and family planning. She has researched breast cancer screening behaviors in the U.S. following the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and has studied the complexities of breast cancer screening decisions in the US. She has also examined the impact of the Affordable Care Act on contraceptive costs and use. She leads research in Rwanda examining effective and feasible strategies for breast cancer early detection, and the quality of breast cancer care. Dr. Pace also teaches Harvard Medical School students and BWH residents in health policy and women’s health.As Director of Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy for the Connors Center, Dr. Pace has worked to influence policy at the institutional, local and national levels to promote the highest standard of health and health care for all women.
The Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of 9 senior leaders from across the hospital representing a wide range of disciplines and possessing complementary expertise relevant to the Center’s work. The Board plays a critical role in shaping the and articulating the mission and strategic direction of the Center.
Chief Academic Officer, Senior Vice President of Research and Education, Associate Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, BWH
K. Frank Austen Professor of Medicine, HMS
Division of General Medicine, BWH, Director of Primary Health Care, Ariadne Labs
Assistant Professor of Health Care Policy, HMS
Director of Licensing and Strategic Collaborations, Mass General Brigham Innovation
Vice President, Business Development, Partners Healthcare
Director of Translational Research in Allergy, Division of Allergy and Immunology, BWH
Assistant Professor, HMS
Senior Vice President, Clinical Services, Real Estate and Facility Operations, BWH
Scientific Advisor, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine, BWH
Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health, HMS
Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, BWH
Kate Macy Ladd Professor, HMS
Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Co-Director, Neuroscience Center, BWH
Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry, HMS
The Women’s Health Advisory Board advances the mission of the Connors Center within the community. Co-Chairs Jennifer Toolin McAullife, Gwill York and Caroline Cunningham Young lead an engaged cohort of women with a long-standing and demonstrated commitment to maximizing the growth and impact of the Center. The Women’s Health Advisory Board is integral to the success of the annual Women’s Health Luncheon, which provides critical philanthropy for programs at Brigham and Women’s, which are dedicated to improving the health of women.
Connors Center Members are faculty with a primary appointment at BWH and non-faculty from affiliated institutions and the broader scientific community who support and contribute to the Connors Center’s goals and mission. Membership is granted to collaborators who contribute to enhancing and maximizing research on sex-differences and the health of women. Through the Center’s events, research initiatives, and other activities, members are able to have a seat at a table where important conversations are happening and have the opportunity to network with researchers at Brigham and Women’s and other affiliated hospitals, Harvard University, and the broader community of scientists pursuing research on sex-differences and the health of women.