Research center to focus on women’s health

Via Peters

John Davis, PhD, will be the director of the new Nebraska Center for Women’s Health Research

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents on Friday approved the creation of the new Nebraska Center for Women’s Health Research at UNMC.

The goal of the center is to coordinate and organize research activities in women’s health, said Carl Smith, MD, Olson Professor and chair of the UNMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“There are a lot of individuals on this campus who are working on research that affects the health and well-being of women,” Dr. Smith said. “This center shines a light on these research activities and allows scientists working in this area to find other investigators to collaborate with and develop synergies across many disciplines.”

Nationally and internationally, there’s been a systematic underfunding of women’s research activities, Dr. Smith said. “Many of the studies that have been conducted in the U.S., on areas such as medication use, have systematically excluded women from participation because of concerns related to pregnancy. Thus, we have medications that have been approved for use without ever having been adequately studied in women. The Center for Women’s Health Research will allow for the organization of research activities such as these.”

Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, said that the center would position UNMC as a regional leader in women’s health.

“Building on the strong work of the Olson Center for Women’s Health, the new Nebraska Center for Women’s Health Research will allow UNMC to take a leadership role in addressing crucial health issues facing women, fostering collaborations that will lead to health care breakthroughs and examining and impacting the causes of health disparities.”

John Davis, PhD, will be the inaugural director of the center. Dr. Davis is a reproductive physiologist who has been at UNMC for more than 20 years and has achieved national and international recognition for his work on women’s health issues. He also serves as director of the Olson Center for Women’s Health.

Dr. Davis said leaders at UNMC and throughout the University of Nebraska system have been interested in the new center.

“There are pockets of research that would impact women’s health, from cardiovascular to neurology to bone health, throughout the university system,” Dr. Davis said. “But there’s no real focal point to put it all together. The Nebraska Center for Women’s Health Research will strive to do that.

“We want to support research that is impactful to the health of women. There are a lot of conditions that affect women’s health differently – immune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, osteoporosis – as well as conditions that only affect women — such as menopause, endometriosis,  uterine fibroids and polycystic ovarian syndrome. This new center will give us the ability to foster collaborations that allow for more prominent work in the field of women’s health research.”

In addition to drawing interest from NU researchers, the center will promote and facilitate educational opportunities on campus and beyond, providing a base of education for women’s health issues and health disparities, as well as a platform for nationally recognized experts to speak to researchers, educators, students and the community.

The center also hopes to provide funds for pilot projects that encourage cross-campus collaboration.

“We want to attract existing faculty who will allow us to work with them to support their interest in women’s health research,” Dr. Davis said. “There are no barriers to participation. We want the center to be inclusive. It will provide a great opportunity to develop women’s health research in Nebraska.”



https://www.unmc.edu/news.cfm?match=28786

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