VCU Institute for Women’s Health hosts 3rd annual Women’s Health Research Day
Awards of $86,000 announced in community-based research grants to improve health of women and girls
University News Services
From left, Viktor Bovbjerg, Ph.D., assistant professor of health evaluation sciences, U.Va. with the winners of Elizabeth Fries Young Investigators Awards Antonio Abbate, M.D., of the VCU Department of Internal Medicine; Sarah Joyner, a cardiology fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine; Juhi Shukla of the VCU departments of Physiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology; and award presenter Diane B. Wilson, Ed.D., associate professor of internal medicine, Massey Cancer Center
The past, present and future of women’s health research was examined during the 3rd annual Women’s Health Research Day.
The event, hosted Wednesday, April 11, by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Women’s Health, was attended by VCU faculty, students, staff and community members with an interest in research in women’s health.
Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., executive director, and Wendy Klein, M.D., senior deputy director, of the VCU Institute for Women's Health
This year’s keynote speaker was Carolyn Mazure, Ph.D., director of women’s health research, professor of psychiatry, and associate dean for faculty affairs in Yale University’s School of Medicine. Mazure presented “Women’s Health Research: Transforming Historical Lessons into New Scientific Applications.”
Mazure discussed the historical context of women’s health research, which was nearly non-existent before the 1980s, its evolution, emerging science in the field and the future of women’s health research.
“In order for women’s health to be successful it has to be integrated into our daily experience of science and our daily experience in the clinical setting. It becomes part of the fabric of how people think about this work. You don’t have to go outside of your usual way of thinking to include gender,” Mazure said.
Also at the event, a panel of VCU women’s health research experts provided tips and strategies for research success. The panel was moderated by Joann Bodurtha, M.D., M.P.H., research day co-chair, and included Judith Bradford, Ph.D., associate professor in epidemiology and community health; Elizabeth McGee, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Laura Siminoff, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Health.
The Women’s Health Research Day also included a display of more than 50 research posters by VCU students, covering a wide range of women’s health topics such as eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, smoking and breast cancer.
Many of the posters were entered in competition for the Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award, created in memory of Elizabeth Fries, Ph.D., a VCU psychology professor who served as co-director of cancer control at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Fries died two years ago. The award is given to a young researcher who shows promise for improving women’s health. Fries’ husband, Viktor Bovbjerg, Ph.D., presented the award.
“It is appropriate that this award is in Liz’s name because the two passions that ran through her career were research benefiting everyone and training and the next generation,” Bovbjerg said.
This year’s winning poster was presented by Sarah Joyner, a cardiology fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine, who studied heart attacks in women.
This year’s Women’s Health Research Day also included the first Community-Based Participatory Research Seed Grant Awards.
The community-based research awards, worth $86,000, will allow researchers and community organizations to study and conduct projects addressing community needs like teen pregnancy prevention, loss and depression intervention, prenatal care access, substance abuse treatment and overall healthy living for women and girls.
The Community-Based Research Awards include:
Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development and the City of Richmond’s Hispanic Liaison Office & Teen Pregnancy Prevention Steering Committee with researcher Rosalie Corona, Ph.D., VCU Psychology Department, $9,731 award for the project “Barriers & supports to teen pregnancy prevention among Latina adolescents.”
Healthy Start – Children's Health Involving Parents, Healthy Families and Richmond Behavioral Health Authority with researcher Lori Keyser-Marcus, Ph.D., VCU Psychiatry Department, $9,500 award for the project “Motivational strategies to help bridge the gap from referral to treatment for substance use and depression.”
Comprehensive Health Investment Project (CHIP)– Richmond and Petersburg sites – with researcher Sarah Kye Price, Ph.D., School of Social Work, $10,000 for the project “Women, loss and depression: building knowledge and capacity for community-informed intervention development.”
Vietnamese Catholic Church of Vietnam with researcher Anh Bao Nguyen, MA, Department of Psychology, $7,204 for the project “Khoe man la tot hon dep! (Health is better than beauty!).”
Cross over Ministry, Planned Parenthood, Chesterfield County Health District, REACH and the VCU Health System with researcher Saba Masho, M.D., Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, $10,000 for the project “Access to perinatal care for uninsured and Medicaid ineligible women.”
Richmond Behavioral Health Authority with Diane Langhorst, Ph.D., School of Social Work, $10,000 for the project “Improving employment outcomes in substance dependent women.”
Rubicon Drug Treatment Center with researcher Sarah Meshberg-Cohen, Department of Psychology, $9,500 for the project “Expressive writing as a therapeutic process.”
Chesterfield Community Services Board-Substance Abuse Unit with researcher Anika Alvanzo, M.D., Division of Internal Medicine, $10,000 for the project “Trauma-informed addiction therapy for women in outpatient community-based substance abuse treatment.”
In addition, Judy Bradford, Ph.D., director of community-based research for the Institute for Women’s Health and a faculty member in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, will lead a demonstration project that is a collaborative effort of the Richmond Healthy Start Initiative and the VCU Center on Health Disparities. The project, “Engaging the Richmond community to improve prenatal care access,” has been awarded $10,000 and will be matched by partner contributions.
The VCU Institute for Women’s Health is one of 21 National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health designated by the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The National Centers of Excellence serve as demonstration models for the nation providing innovative, multidisciplinary and integrated health care systems for women.
The mission of the VCU Institute for Women's Health is to improve the health of women through health education, research, clinical care, outreach and leadership development.
For more information, visit http://www.womenshealth.vcu.edu/.