The Tremin Program: Sixty-Eight Years of Research on Menstruation and Women's Health

By Mansfield, Phyllis Kernoff; Bracken, Susan | Women's Studies Quarterly, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

The Tremin Program: Sixty-Eight Years of Research on Menstruation and Women's Health


Mansfield, Phyllis Kernoff, Bracken, Susan, Women's Studies Quarterly


How did a project begun in 1934 by a male biometrician and biochemist named Alan Treloar end up under the direction of two feminist women's health researchers, first Ann Voda in 1984, and then Phyllis Kernoff Mansfield in 1998? How did a study designed to examine the statistical implications of menstrual regularity become one of the largest and oldest woman-centered studies of menstruation and health in the world? The story of the founding of this remarkable program, known today as the Tremin Research Program on Women's Health, its participants, the information collected, and its key studies is the subject of this essay. The authors, in an effort to document the long and sometimes rocky history of this project, as well as to acknowledge the contributions of many unsung heroes/heroines along the way, are completing a monograph on Tremin history and contributions, along with an annotated bibliography of scientific papers related to the program (Mansfield & Bracken, in press). This essay contains highlights from that monograph.

History of a Pioneering Program on Menstruation and Women's Health

In 1934, a landmark study of women's health and menstruation began at the University of Minnesota; it continues to this day. Alan Treloar, long-time director of the program, originally known as the Menstrual and Reproductive Health (MRH) Program, and now known as the Tremin Research Program, is often credited as the sole founder and driving force behind this pioneering work in women's health. Not surprisingly, however, as we delved deeper into the program's history, we discovered that there were many other people-women-involved in establishing and continuing this research project dedicated exclusively to studying women's menstruation and related reproductive and other health issues. The MRH/Tremin Program flourished thanks to the contributions of several women who were/are dedicated to founding/ continuing a study conducted by women, about women, and ultimately for women.

Three of these women were responsible for helping Treloar launch the program in the first place. In the early 1930s, when Treloar was on the biometry faculty at the University of Minnesota, he became interested in the question of whether menstrual intervals occurred at regular, 28-day intervals, as medical advice of the time taught (and, parenthetically, still does!), or whether errors of recall had biased earlier data. Whether he would have moved forward with a research project on this topic without the support of three female colleagues is unknown, but we do know that he was fortunate enough to be working with three talented female collaborators. One was Ruth Boynton, a physician at the University of Minnesota Health Service, who, like Treloar, was interested in the question of menstrual regularity and who eventually sponsored the pilot study. Boynton became Treloar's "front door lady, because [he] couldn't get in, with a man's name, and [he] wasn't an MD either" (A. Treloar, personal communication, April 24, 1979). The second key figure was a "very attractive young lady" (A. Treloar, personal communication, January 10, 1984) named Esther Doerr (later Summers), whose master's research served as the pilot study for the MRH. Together with Treloar, Boynton and Doerr worked to recruit 1,100 women into a "biometric study of the premarital menstrual interval" and set about developing a research protocol, ranging from subject recruitment to data collection and analysis (Doerr, 1936). Borghild Gunstad (later Behn), a third collaborator, joined the efforts, taking on the role of planning and conducting statistical analyses of the data collected.

A fourth woman inadvertently influenced Treloar to study menstruation. Treloar tells the story of a visit in 1929 to his bride-to-be's home, where he "noted a paleness in her face and lack of her usual gaiety. . . . Very little time passed before moans from that room stirred my impulsive entrance [into] that room. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Tremin Program: Sixty-Eight Years of Research on Menstruation and Women's Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.