This past academic year has been an extremely successful and productive one for the Women’s Health Institute (WHI) in all of the core areas of research, education, mentoring, community wellness, global outreach and advocacy. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, clinical research by necessity came to a virtual halt, and the many ongoing and planned research endeavors were put on hold, including the WHI commencing the NIH EPPIC-Net (developing meaningful endpoints for pain clinical trials) national study. In the arena of optimal gender care, our major initiative has been partnering with RWJUH-NB in the commencement of the PROUD Gender Center of NJ.
Academically the WHI has continued its high output of manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, of professional society abstracts and of chapters in scientific books as well as our WHI team presenting at numerous state-wide, national and global professional meetings. Due to our national reputation, during the early phases of the 2020 pandemic, the WHI was asked to comment on the value of telemedicine for the aging woman. This report was published in Case Reports in Women’s Health. As leaders in maternal health, another manuscript that we collaborated on with the RWJMS Cardiovascular Institute, and that will impact the clinical care of pregnant women was published in the Journal of Women’s Health, entitled, ‘Pre-eclamptic Women Are at Significantly Higher Risk of Future Cardiovascular Outcomes Over a 15-Year Period.’ And, being leaders in transgender health care, the WHI was instrumental in overseeing a series of manuscripts that were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Maturitas, on the aging transgender individual with several Ob/Gyn faculty and resident contributors.
Another major goal of the WHI is the education and mentoring of junior faculty and health care learners, which was accomplished. For the graduate, undergraduate and high school learners, the WHI provides research opportunities, education and community outreach projects. In fact, again this year the WHI, in partnership with the Association of Women in Science (AWIS)NJ will be presenting the 2nd Annual New Jersey Women in Health Symposium. This conference with keynote speakers Dr’s Frank Chervenak, Maria Gloria Dominguez, and Qiana Brown, will not only highlight the work of undergraduate and graduate learners, but also will highlight the work of many NJ high school students. The WHI also is partnering with groups to further the role of music in healing. I was recently appointed to the American Medical Women’s Association’s (AMWA) Music and Medicine Committee. As a contributor to this group, there will be many projects the WHI will partner on, with the focus on how to best incorporate music into the practice of medicine. Lastly, the WHI was invited by the Rutgers Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (‘SciWomen’) to be on the Steering Committee of the Rutgers Common Interest Group to support women faculty in the sciences, engineering, mathematics and medicine.
As well, the WHI partners with many other units on the Rutgers campus, including the RWJMS Cardiovascular Institute, the Rutgers University Microbiome Project, the Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation, Rutgers School of Social Work, Rutgers School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. The WHI also continues to be active in advocacy, in both the community and globally and, in particular, oversees many medical student global projects. As an example of its global reach the WHI is mentoring a medical student who is studying maternal mortality in Finland and how clinical templates from that country, with the lowest rate, can be used as a foundation for the US. This research is being done with the support of the Finland National Institute for Health and Wellness. These data will be compared with data from not only the US, but also from Canada, as the WHI is mentoring another medical student who is studying that country’s data. The WHI also is represented on the steering committee of the Institute for Women’s Leadership annual Anita Ashok Datar Lecture series. Although this is the fourth year the WHI would be participating in the Rutgers Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the program was canceled this year due to the pandemic.