Discussing the Health of Women Gainesville Conference Focusing on Research

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- Historically, most U.S. medical research involved

white male doctors studying white male subjects. When medical

officials did concern themselves with women, they had one thing

on their minds -- reproduction.

But times have changed and a conference in Gainesville this

weekend is focused on the future of medical research on women's

issues.

Women's health is being expanded to mean not only reproductive

health but also issues of aging, psychology, violence and

environment, said Vivian Pinn, director of the federal Office of

Research on Women's Health.

Pinn was the keynote speaker yesterday at a conference

sponsored by the University of Florida about women's health

issues and research as part of the national agenda.

Pinn runs the National Institutes of Health office that oversees

the direction of federal funding on women's health issues. Her

office has an annual budget of about $12 million.

She is considered a major voice on women's health research. Last

year, Ladies Home Journal included her in its ranking of "the 10

most important women in medicine."

Among other responsibilities she is co-director of the Women's

Health Initiative, a 13-year nationwide study being conducted at

about 40 sites, including Gainesville and Jacksonville. The

study is looking at how hormone replacement therapy, diet

modification and other approaches affect the health of

post-menopausal women. The study started three years ago.

The women's health initiative is just one of the new efforts

going on. Last month, a new study was announced that will take

what may be the first hard look at whether estrogen-containing

hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives do have a

negative impact on women with lupus, as is widely believed, Pinn

said.

She added that government-funded studies targeted at women are

looking at medical issues ranging from arthritis to genetic

therapy. …