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4/23/24: The Connors Center 7th Annual WHISPR Symposium

The Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology is pleased to announce the 7th Annual Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Stress Program of Research (WHISPR) Symposium. The Symposium will take place in person in the Zinner Breakout Room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, April 23rd from 3:30-5pm. It will feature Keynote Speaker Aimee McRae-Clark, PharmD, BCPP, who will present on “Sex, Stress, and Relapse”. Stay tuned for more information on other speakers.

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3:30pm Start of Symposium

3:35pm Welcome & Introduction of Keynote Speaker – Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc

3:45pm Keynote Address: “Sex, Stess, and Relapse” – Aimee McRae-Clark, PharmD, BCPP

4:10pm Q&A – moderated by Cindy Liu, PhD

4:20pm Introduction of Second Speaker – Cindy Liu, PhD

4:22pm Second Speaker : “Substance Use Disorder Treatment Research at BWH: Improving Existing Interventions and Systems of Care” – Joji Suzuki, MD

4:30pm Introduction to 2024 WHISPR Awardees – Laura Holsen, PhD

4:34pm 2024 WHISPR Awardee Presentations

“The Role of Socioeconomic and Psychosocial Stress Determinants in Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation: a Female-Specific Risk Score” – Sergey Karamnov, MD

“Uncovering the Link Between Sexual Assault and Chronic Pain Conditions (CPC) in Women“ – Rose Olson, MD

4:50pm WHISPR Awardees Q&A – moderated by Laura Holsen, MD

4:55pm Closing Remarks – Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc


Established in January 2018, the Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Stress Program of Research (WHISPR) advances our understanding of how physiologic and psychological stress affect women’s health and disease, and vice versa, by supporting pilot projects, facilitating interactions among WHISPR investigators and other stress researchers, and hosting an annual scientific symposium for the BWH academic community.

The scope of proposed research includes clinical, translational, population, and basic research studies investigating interactions of physiologic indicators of stress (e.g., adrenergic, immune, neural, endocrine) and stress exposures (e.g., trauma, adversity, cognitive, affective) with women’s health and disease. WHISPR involves investigators from across BWH to develop new research and foster synergy among investigators in this interdisciplinary and cross-cutting field. Learn about past awardees here.

About Aimee McRae-Clark, PharmD, BCPP:

Dr. McRae-Clark is a dually appointed Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neurosciences and Director of the Office of Research Integrity at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). In addition, she is a Research Health Scientist at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Dr. McRae-Clark has a strong track-record of patient-oriented, federal funding and is nationally and internationally known for her clinical research involving the pharmacologic treatment of cannabis use disorder as well as sex and gender differences in vulnerability to addiction. Dr. McRae-Clark currently leads the MUSC Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) on Sex Differences (U54DA016511) which integrates basic, clinical and behavioral approaches to gain insight into sex differences and the relationship between addictive drug use, stress and the underlying neural circuitry with an emphasis on opportunities to identify novel therapeutic strategies. Dr. McRae-Clark is dedicated to contributing to the training of junior clinical investigators and to increasing the number underrepresented minorities and women participating in clinical research. To this end, she has been awarded a K24 Mid-Career Award in Patient Oriented Research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, is Principal Investigator of the MUSC NIDA K12 and CTSA KL2 programs and is involved in numerous institutional and national training programs.

This program was established with a generous gift from the Gretchen S. Fish Fund for Women’s Health and Stress Research.

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