Temple Times Online Edition
    MARCH 31, 2005
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Symposium launches women's health push

At a recent Temple symposium, Vivian W. Pinn, associate director for research on women’s health and director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, helped launch a Universitywide women’s health initiative.

Vivian W. Pinn, associate director for research on women's health and director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health, launched a two-day symposium that spanned Main Campus and the Health Sciences Center with recollections of Feminine Forever, a widely popular book by Robert Wilson released while she was in medical school.

The book, in extolling the miraculous virtues of hormone therapy, reveals dramatic changes that have occurred in our understanding of women's health since its publication in 1966:

"The unpalatable truth must be faced that all postmenopausal women are castrates. ... From a practical point of view, a man remains a man until the very end. The situation with a woman is very different. Her ovaries become inadequate relatively early in life. She is the only mammal who cannot reproduce after middle age."

Women's health means much more than the reproductive system, Pinn said during her keynote speech at the Women's Health Interdisciplinary Research Symposium, the inaugural event of Temple's Center for Excellence on Women's Health Research, Leadership and Advocacy. The two basic approaches to women's health research, she explained, are looking at the differences and similarities between the genders and looking at the factors that can lead to differences in health and disease.

The symposium was targeted toward Temple faculty, students, residents and postdoctoral research fellows who share a commitment to promoting the health status of all women across the lifespan.

The goals of this symposium, which was sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, as well as the Center for Excellence on Women's Health Research, Leadership and Advocacy, were to promote the growth and development of interdisciplinary collaboration and to foster excellence in women's health research at Temple.

Temple's focus on interdisciplinary collaboration fits right in with the priorities of Pinn's office.

"Interdisciplinary research leads to new energies and fresh insights," she said. Ultimately, women benefit from less-fragmented care. An individual is not seen solely as a heart patient or a depressed patient, but as someone at midlife facing a variety of health issues.

Pinn complemented the camaraderie she'd witnessed among Temple faculty members from different schools and departments.

"If this extends to your research, you're in very good shape," she said.

After Pinn's speech, Temple faculty members presented highlights of their research in two panel sessions.

These included:

• "HIV/AIDS program clinical research overview" by Ellen Tedaldi, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine.

• "Evidence supporting myocardial renin-angiotensin system activation with estrogen withdrawal" by Deborah Crabbe, assistant professor of medicine and member of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the School of Medicine.

• "Effects of estrogen deficiency on trabecular microarchitecture of mandible and tibia" by Jie Yang at the School of Dentistry.

• "A longitudinal study of x-chromosome inactivation" by Carmen Sapienza, professor of pathology and associate director of the Fels Institute at the School of Medicine.

• "Women and heart disease: Are we treating to target?" by Carol Homko, research assistant professor at the School of Medicine.

• "Increasing mammography in low-income black women," by Suni Peterson, assistant professor of counseling psychology in the School of Education.

• "Mothers with breast cancer and their children: adjustment and adaptation," by Ronald Brown, dean of the College of Health Professions.

• "Women's experiences with breast cancer diagnosis" by Julia Ericksen, professor and chair of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts.

• "Risk factors for obstetrical anal sphincter lacerations," by Vani Dandolu, director of urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine.

• "Successful aging, making a difference" by Roberta Newton, professor of physical therapy, College of Health Professions.

In addition to the oral presentations, more than 40 posters and abstracts of faculty research were displayed. For details on the presentations, posters and abstracts, contact Kris Norton at cfs@temple.edu.

The second day of the symposium featured an open forum, "Advancing Women's Careers in the Health Sciences," and medicine grand rounds, "Status of Women's Health Research: A Decade with the Office of Women's Health Research," both led by Pinn.

Nancy Kolenda, director of the Center for Frontier Sciences in the College of Education; Roberta Newton, professor of physical therapy in the College of Health Professions; Sally Rosen, senior associate dean in the School of Medicine; and Sheryl Ruzek, professor of public health in the College of Health Professions organized the symposium and co-direct the steering committee for the Center for Excellence on Women's Health Research, Leadership and Advocacy.

Future events, which will address other issues concerning women, are in the planning stages.

"What makes this center unique is that it covers not only issues on maintaining women's health, but also on encouraging women to better themselves financially and become involved in public policy issues," Kolenda said.

– By Eryn Jelesiewicz