YaleWomen Northern California and Women’s Health Research at Yale partner in a thought-provoking conversation

“By sparking innovation in health research, we’re finding sex and gender differences that matter.”
- Women’s Health Research at Yale 2017

On May 16th and 17th, Northern California area alumni and friends, along with employees of Yelp and Google, engaged in a conversation with Dr. Carolyn Mazure, the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director, Women’s Health Research at Yale, in partnership with YaleWomen Northern California and the Yale Alumni Association.

The first evening, hosted by the generosity of Yelp in San Francisco, Beth Axelrod ’89 MPPM (Vice President of Employee Experience at Airbnb and Vice Chair of YaleWomen, Inc.) engaged Dr. Mazure in a discussion about issues ranging from the founding of Women’s Health Research at Yale just 20 years ago, to the uncertain future of federal NIH funding for health research. Attendees were both educated and challenged to consider the broader importance of the study of sex and gender differences in research. Dr. Mazure noted the benefit of women’s health research as “it advances our knowledge of not only women’s health, but also the topic areas that we study, as they affect both sexes.”

The second evening was hosted by the generosity of Google Inc. and presented just as stimulating a conversation, engaging both the alumni and Google employees who attended. In a discussion moderated by Donna L. Dubinsky ’77 (CEO, Board Chair, and Co founder, Numenta, Inc. and Senior Trustee of the Yale Board of Trustees), Dr. Mazure described that the primary goal of the development of Women’s Health Research at Yale was to “stimulate research on women’s health that asks and answers previously unaddressed questions, and to enlist Yale faculty in leading the way in this enterprise.” Over the course of years, she described a shift in research to include more than solely reproductive health; research topics now encompass a diverse range of subjects including a study on the effects of stress on neurodevelopment and how this relates to our understanding of depression in women, a study of gender-specific treatments for tobacco dependence, and studies examining girls with autism and how they can present with different types and/or severity of symptoms than boys with autism.

Overall, attendees walked away better informed about the progress and challenges surrounding issues in women’s health, with a desire to learn more about the work and how to support this vital area of research. Women’s health research explores questions that are crucial to all of us; this work affects our mothers, our daughters, our wives and ourselves. To view videos and learn more about Women’s Health Research at Yale, visit this link.

A note of special thanks to Laurie Benjamin (WHRY Advisory Council), Bethany French (Google), Tiffany Hsu ’16 MBA, Carolyn Kenady ’74, Stephanie Rosenkranz ’02, and the amazing team in the office of Women’s Health Research at Yale.

- Mindy A. Marks ’00, AYA Director for Shared Interest Groups






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