Brigham and Women’s Hospital to Host First National Summit on Women’s Health

The focus is on gender inequity in biomedical research.

Boston will host the first national policy summit to address gender inequity in biomedical research, which will explore breakthroughs in health care for women. Dr. Paula Johnson, a cardiologist and executive director of the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at BWH, recently spoke at TEDWomen 2013 and says that work needs to be done to change the disparity in biomedical research. “What is at stake, quite literally is not only the overall health of women but the integrity of medical research and the health of the economy already overburdened by the enormous cost of fighting disease,” she says.

The event takes place on March 3 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. In addition to Johnson, other speakers include Dr. Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), CBS’ Lesley Stahl, and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

The event is organized around the 20th anniversary of the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Revitalization Act that required all NIH-funded medical research to include women and minorities.

“A majority of people are unaware that the gender gap in science and medicine continues to exist, while others believe that advances in research and clinical care in breast and ovarian cancer mean that women’s health is adequately stewarded,” Johnson says. “This lack of awareness, together with insufficient research in understanding sex and gender differences and the problem of underrepresentation in medical research make it clear that now, 20 years later, we cannot leave women’s health to chance.”

The summit agenda will include keynotes and interactive roundtable discussions. 

View Johnson’s full TedTalk here: