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2014 News Archive

January 2014

January 2014

  • On Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 Wendy Kohrt, PhD will be presenting at the Powell Center's Interdisciplinary Women's Health Lecture Series.  Dr. Kohrt is a professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado.  Her presentation is titled Regulation of Physical Activity & Bioenergetics by Estrogens, and will be held in Moos Tower 2-690 from 12:15pm- 1:00pm.  The lecture is free and open to the public
  • Register today for Women's Health 2014: The 22nd Annual Congress! This event will take place April 4-6 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.
  • Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Regents Professorship. Only full professors are eligible and awardees will receive a stipend of $50,000. Nominations must be submited by March 14, 2014.
  • Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation does not reduce risk of hip fracture or colorectal cancer says a new study published in the Journal of Women's Health. However, exploratory analyses did find lower vertebral fracture and in situ breast cancer incidence in supplement users. There was no effect on cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.
  • Many individuals with disabilities face disparities in access to services and education about sex and reproductive health. One reason for this could be the misconception that individuals with disabilities- especially those with intellectual or cognitive disabilities- are "childlike" or "asexual" and thus do not require reproductive health services. Jessica Nelson, a U of MN MPH student and 2012-2013 MN LEND Fellow, developed a factsheet that addresses this misconception and identifies opportunities to provide appropriate sexuality education to individuals with disabilities.
  • Minority women tend to be less aware of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease they face by being overweight or obese. The results of a study that compared Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women based on their knowledge of heart disease risk factors and their perceptions of their own weight is published in the Journal of Women's Health.

February 2014

February 2014

  • "Breast Cancer Superhero Project" celebrates the heroic nature of individuals affected by breast cancer. U of M staff member Barbara Porwit created honorary portraits of breast cancer survivors as their superhero of choice for the project. The exhibit is on display at Boynton Health Service through February 28th.
  • Registration is now open for Mini Medical School's winter 2014 programming, "Hot Topics in Health". U of M experts will answer questions such as "What do we know about how infectious diseases move around our increasingly interconnected world?", "How have cancer treatments changed over the years?", "What does it mean to give your heart a workout?", and "What do today's health professionals mean when they talk about One Health?". These educational sessions will take place Monday evenings February 10th- March 10th.
  • Women who view themselves as overweight and who are exposed to weight-stigmatizing news articles consume more calories than usual and report feeling less capable of controlling their eating says a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. This finding suggests that social messages targeted at combating obesity may have paradoxical and undesired effects.
  • Cervical cancer screening beyond age 50 saves lives and remains beneficial to women up to age 69, a new British study published in PLOS Medicine suggests. The results of the study showed that women who did not undergo cervical cancer screening after age 50 were six times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than those who had regular screenings between ages 50 to 64 and had no abnormalities.
  • Elderly people who participate in "brain training" classes to keep their minds sharp continue to see positive benefits 10 years after the training, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Even if they took only an initial set of classes aimed at improving their ability to solve problems and react quickly, participants showed that the training stuck with them a decade later.
  • The University of MN Opportunity on Health Disparities & Cancer Research Summer Undergraduate Internship Program is currently accepting applications! This is an eight-week program designed to give undergraduate students from Minnesota's racial/ethnic minority or under-represented communities research experience in the health sciences. Applications are due by February 14, 2014 at 4pm.

March 2014

March 2014

Powell Center News & Highlights

  • Congratulations to BIRCWH scholar Kristine Talley, PhD for receiving the CTSI K to RO1 Transition to Independence Award. This award gives Dr. Talley $50,000 in research funds to support K scholars to become competitive for R01 awards. Dr. Talley's project title is "Preventing Toileting Disability in Frail Older Women." Jean Wyman, PhD continues her role as Dr. Talley's primary mentor. Congratulations Dr. Talley!
  • SAVE THE DATE! The 11th Annual Women's Health Research Conference: Updates on Women's Cancer Research has been scheduled for Monday, September 29th at McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota. More information to come.

University & Community News & Highlights

  • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is March 10th. According to the CDC, 1.1 million people in the United States live with HIV and a 25 percent of them are female aged 13 or older. You can learn more about how you can join the fight to increase awareness by visiting www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad or http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/worldaidsday/women....
  • CALL FOR REVIEWERS - The Birth Defects Monitoring and Analysis Program at the Minnesota Department of Health is soliciting grant reviewers for the Preconception Health in Minnesota grant program. The application to be a reviewer is due March 10, 2014. If you are interested in being a reviewer, please complete the application at https://survey.vovici.com/se.ashx?s=56206EE3041C0D19. Contact Erica Fishman, MSW, MPH, LISW at erica.fishman@state.mn.us or 651-201-5141 if you have any questions.
  • Register today for Women's Health 2014: The 22nd Annual Congress! This event will take place April 4-6 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.
  • Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Regents Professorship. Only full professors are eligible and awardees will receive a stipend of $50,000. Nominations must be submitted by March 14, 2014.
  • CALL FOR PROPOSALS - "What Went Wrong?": Reflecting and Learning from Community-Engaged Research conference is scheduled for July 11-12, 2014 in Minneapolis. The conference will provide a space for those working for social justice to come together to discuss what it means for communities and university to engage in research. Proposal submission deadline is March 29, 2014. For more information, visit http://engagedresearchconference.wordpress.com/.
  • GRAND OPENING: Autism Day Treatment program for Somali families - St. David's Center is partnering with Children's Choice Center to pen an Autism Day Treatment program that will provide social interaction, sensory processing, self-regulation and family support services to 3- to 4-year-old Somali children with a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. All treatment is done in a small-group, natural setting with a staff of culturally knowledgeable mental health professionals, occupational, speech and music therapists. Call 952.548.8700 or visit www.stdavidscenter.org/therapies for more information.
  • Postdoctoral Research Education Fellowship Position Available - The University of Minnesota Schools of Public Health and Medicine are excited to announce the availability of a postdoctoral research education fellowship position in Cancer Disparities. This education and career development program is funded by the National Cancer Institute (Jean Forster, PhD and Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPH, Co-PIs). Eligible candidates should have a doctoral degree in any of the following disciplines: medicine, behavioral science, epidemiology, health education, health services research, sociology, anthropology, clinical, social or counseling psychology or a related discipline. Preferred candidates will have experience and peer-reviewed publications in above disciplines.Applications will be reviewed beginning in April 2014. However, the posting will stay open until filled. For more information, contact Lindsey Fabian at fabian@umn.edu or click here.
  • Professional Education in Breastfeeding and Lactation 2014 - Educational opportunities for professionals helping women feed their babies.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, released a report in February 2014 on the health of rural women. The ACOG outlines significant disparities for rural women in access to, and availability of a range of reproductive health services including gynecological and specialty women’s health services. The report includes current initiatives to reduce these disparities and recommendations for providers and professionals.

April 2014

April 2014

  • Reach the Decision Makers Fellowship - Are you a scientist, community member, public health professional or clinician with experience in environmental or reproductive health? You should consider joining the Reach the Decision Makers training program! Through Reach the Decision Makers you will learn to educate the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) on reproductive environmental health issues of importance to you and/or your community; develop the skills and tools necessary to effectively engage US EPA policy makers; begin to establish relationships and partnerships with US EPA staff; and become a powerful communicator on environmental and reproductive health science. Read here for more information.
  • CDC spreads the word about the #burningtruth - The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at CDC has launched a one-month social media initiative around skin cancer prevention and the harmful effects of tanning. Specifically targeting teen girls and young women, the initiative, The Burning Truth, uses Twitter and other social media channels to disseminate skin cancer prevention messages. Watch for the hashtag #burningtruth.
  • Women's Health Initiative data to be used to new genomics-based studies - In 1993, the NHLBI’s Women's Health Initiative (WHI) began enrolling the first participants in what would become one of the most definitive, far-reaching clinical trials of post-menopausal women's health ever undertaken in the U.S. Recently, three teams of researchers received contracts from NHLBI to leverage the wealth of clinical and biomarker data collected by WHI and combine it with new -omics technologies in the hopes of gleaning new insights into the role that genomics, gene biology and regulation, and metabolmics may play in the risk for or development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Read more.

May 2014

May 2014

  • Call for Poster Abstracts - The Powell Center of Women's Health cordially invites you to submit a poster abstract on any topic related to women's health for their 11th Annual Women's Health Research Conference on Monday, September 29, 2014.
  • Is Preventive Health Screening for Low-Income Women Under New Health Care Reform Better or Worse? - When Massachusetts enacted its own statewide health insurance reform in 2006, low-income women transitioned from receiving free, federally subsidized screening for breast and cervical cancer and cardiovascular disease risk to an insurance-based payment system. To learn more about the effects of this health insurance reform, visit the Journal of Women's Health website. Read more.
  • Breast Cancer in Young Women - Do you have close relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer over the age of 50? Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn more about how to reduce the risks of breast cancer. Read more. 

June 2014

June 2014

  • Call for Poster Abstracts - The Powell Center of Women's Health cordially invites you to submit a poster abstract on any topic related to women's health for their 11th Annual Women's Health Research Conference on Monday, September 29, 2014.
  • Healthy Generations - The HRSA-funded Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health just released a 24 page volume of its publication, Healthy Generations. It includes articles about public health appproaches to reproductive and sexual health. Other articles include information on long acting reversible contraception, incarceration, and parenthood, and preconception health promotion.
  • People of Color still Drastically Underrepresented in NIH Clinical Trials - New members fromthe Enhancing Minority Participation in Clinical Trials (EMPaCT) consortium show less than five percent of National Institutes of Health clinical trial participants are non-white and less than two percent of clinical cancer research trials focus on non-white ethnic or racial groups. To Read More.
  • Pregnant and Imprisoned: U Researcher Rebecca Shlafer evaluates a doula program at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee - The doula program, founded in 2007, had its first doula-supported birth in the fall of 2011. Doulas coach the mothers through childhood, their primary goal is providing the mother with emotional support before, during, and after the birth and preparing them to give the child up within 48-72 hours of birth. To Read More.
  • Gender Stereotypes Keep Women in the Out-Group and Out of Leadership in Academic Medicine - Women have accounted for half of the students in U.S. medical schools for nearly two decades, but as Professors, Deans, and Department Chairs, their numbers still lag far behind those of men. Anna Kaatz, PhD, MPH, and Molly Carnes, MD, MS, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, present examples of three women at different stages of their careers to illustrate how gender stereotypes are affecting women in opportunities for professional advancement.To Read More.

July 2014

July 2014

  • Powell Center News - After nearly 3 years with the Powell Center, Jennifer O'Brien has left her position as Administrative Director for a new and exciting position at Hennepin County Medical Center. We would like to thank Jen for her leadership and commitment to women's health while at the Powell Center. As HCMC's Teen Coordinator, Jen will work on improving their services, systems, protocols, and work flows to better serve adolescents and their families. We are sorry to see Jen leave but wish her the best of luck on her new journey! The Powell Center would also like to introduce our new Executive Officer and Administrative Specialist, Kallie O'Hara. Kallie is a University of Minnesota Alum and comes to us from the Learning Abroad Center, where she was the Office and Events Coordinator. She will be taking on the responsibilities of the Annual Women's Health Research Conference and the Interdisciplinary Lecture Series. On behalf of the Powell Center, we would like to give a warm welcome to Kallie!
  • Virus Kills Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells and Tumor Cells in Mice - A virus not known to cause disease kills triple-negative breast cancer cells and killed tumors grown from these cells in mice, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Understanding how the virus kills cancer may lead to new treatments for breast cancer. To Read More.
  • The 4 Percent Want To Keep Their Figure: Early Elective Deliveries Of US Babies Up Sharply - Elective early deliveries have become the latest craze for wealthy people - it isn't just the 1 percent, it is the 4 percent. Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks is associated with health problems for mothers and babies. But it's still become common, at 37 weeks and even sooner. To Read More.
  • Restoring Bone Density in Women with Ovarian Disorder - Hormone replacement therapy restored bone mineral density to normal in young women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). The findings provide important treatment information for women with POI and their physicians. To Read More.
  • Attitudes Toward LGBT Patients Among Students in the Health Professions: Influence of Demographics and Discipline - Health providers' personal and professional experiences may predict attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and can therefore serve as key targets for health professions training aimed at decreasing barriers to high-quality patient care. This study explored the relationship between professional, demographic, and training characteristics and health professions student attitudes toward LGBT patients. Students from a health sciences university and applied mental health programs in Georgia (N=475) completed a survey that included a modified version of the Attitudes Toward LGBT Patients Scale (ATLPS). Profession, sexual orientation, current financial status, religion, religiosity, spirituality, and self-reported familiarity with various religious perspectives on sex were associated with ATLPS scores. To Read More.

August 2014

August 2014

  • Health Equity Leadership and Mentoring Program - Effective mentoring is one of the most critical components of a successful academic career. The University of Minnesota Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research is organizing a mentoring program, Health Equity Leadership & Mentoring (HELM), that aims to enhance the academic excellence and leadership capacity of diverse faculty and health disparities researchers at the University of Minnesota and ultimately reduce health inequities. HELM will focus on some of the challenges that trainees from minority and underserved groups and other faculty whose research is addressing health equity may face.
  • Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent Young Adult Females - Amy Bonomi and coauthors from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), Group Health Research Institute (Seattle, WA), and Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) compared young women ages 18-24, readers versus non-readers of at least the first novel in the Fifty Shades series based on self-reports of intimate partner violence victimization (including shouting, swearing, delivering unwanted calls or text messages, and other forms of verbal/emotional abuse, stalking, as well as physical and sexual abuse), binge drinking, disordered eating (use of diet aids and fasting for more than 24 hours), and sexual practices such as number of intercourse partners during their lifetime. The findings point to a substantially greater risk for certain adverse health behaviors among the group that read Fifty Shades, which hyper-sexualizes women and may reaffirm and create the context for those behaviors. To Read More.
  • Increase seen in use of Double Mastectomy, although not associated with Reduced Death - Among women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in California, the percentage undergoing a double mastectomy increased substantially between 1998 and 2011, although this procedure was not associated with a lower risk of death than breast-conserving surgery plus radiation, according to a study. The authors did find that surgery for the removal of one breast was associated with a higher risk of death than the other options examined in the study. To Read More.
  • Sexual Orientation and Health Among US Adults: National Health Interview Survey - Based on the 2013 NHIS data, 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. Significant differences were found in health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access among U.S. adults aged 18–64 who identified as straight, gay or lesbian, or bisexual. To Read More.
  • Why are many Women at risk of Ovarian Cancer not aware of it? - The statistics for ovarian cancer are frightening. Whereas early detection tests for breast cancer are relatively commonplace, 75-85% of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed only at a late stage, when the cancer has spread and prognosis is poor. About 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and more than 14,000 die annually from this disease. A woman has a 1 in 70 risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime. As there is no effective surveillance technique for detecting early stage ovarian cancer, physicians are focused instead on identifying women at risk and finding effective preventive methods. To Read More.

September 2014

September 2014

  • Job Position Opening! - The University of Minnesota Schools of Public Health and Medicine are excited to announce the availability of a postdoctoral research education fellowship position in Cancer Disparities. This education and career development program is funded by the National Cancer Institute (Jean Forster, PhD and Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPH, Co-PIs). This program is focused on training researchers to develop and evaluate interventions and policies to reduce cancer-related inequities among disadvantaged populations in both clinical and population settings, using a Community Based Participatory Research framework. The program also intends to enhance the diversity of the research workforce in this area by recruiting individuals from underrepresented/disadvantaged populations. 
  • Exploring Sex and Gender Differences in Sleep Health: A Society for Women's Health Research Report - Previous attempts have been made to address sleep disorders in women; however, significant knowledge gaps in research and a lack of awareness among the research community continue to exist. There is a great need for scientists and clinicians to consider sex and gender differences in their sleep research to account for the unique biology of women. Differences in sleep behavior and sleep disorders may not only be driven by biological factors but also by gender differences in the way women and men report symptoms. Progress has been made in identifying sex and gender differences in many areas of sleep, but major research gaps in the areas of epidemiology, sleep regulation, sleep quality, diagnosis, and treatment need to be addressed. Identifying the underlying nature of sex and gender differences in sleep research has potential to accelerate improved care for both men and women facilitating better diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately prevention of sleep disorders and related comorbid conditions. To Read More.
  • Drug Improves Birth Rates for Women with Ovary Disorder - Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a leading cause of female infertility. It affects 5-10% of reproductive-age women. Women with PCOS have unusually high levels of male hormones, infrequent or irregular menstruation cycles, and oftentimes enlarged ovaries packed with fluid-filled cysts. The current treatment for PCOS infertility is the drug clomiphene. It works by blocking estrogen action, which stimulates hormones that induce ovulation. However, clomiphene has multiple side effects, including hot flashes and mood changes. The drug’s 22% success rate for live births is relatively low, and it tends to lead to a high number of twin or multiple pregnancies. To Read More.
  • Genetic Cause of Common Breast Cancer Tumors Found - A major breakthrough in understanding the molecular basis of fibroadenoma, one of the most common breast tumors diagnosed in women, has been made by a multidisciplinary team of scientists. The team used advanced DNA sequencing technologies to identify a critical gene called MED12 that was repeatedly disrupted in nearly 60 percent of fibroadenoma cases. To Read More.

October 2014

October 2014

  • Thank you to all the speakers, poster presenters, and attendees of the 11th Annual Women's Health Research Conference. You helped make this event a great success. We look forward to your continued support and participation in the coming year!
  • Carolyn Torkelson, MD, will be leaving her position as Associate Director of the Powell Center. We are so grateful for her ten years of service to the Powell Center and for her lifetime commitment to women's health. She will be greatly missed!
  • The Powell Center would like Congratulate, BIRCWH Scholar, Alicia Allen for receiving the 2014 Outstanding Junior Mentor Award - At the CTSI Poster Session and Reception, on September 16th, CTSI recognized Alicia Allen, PhD, with the Outstanding Junior Mentor Award, a new award that recognizes mentors with the rank of assistant professor. Both awards recognize outstanding research mentors, using nominations provided by the mentees themselves and faculty colleagues.
  • New Study Identifies Opportunities to Reduce Patient Burden Associated with Breast Cancer Screening - New technology and better screening strategies can lower the rate of false-positive results, which impose a substantial financial and psychological burden on women. The many misperceptions about breast cancer screening options and risks, the benefits and costs of screening, and the need for new approaches and better education are discussed in a series of articles in a supplement to Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
  • Damaging Legacy: Mothers who Smoke affect the Fertility of their Sons - Mothers who smoke while they are pregnant or breast feeding may be damaging the future fertility of their sons, according to new findings. The study is the first comprehensive animal model to show the mechanism by which smoking can affect the fertility of male offspring. Until now, the effects on the fertility of male offspring and the mechanisms involved have been unclear -- a problem that has been confounded by the lack of animal studies in which the environment and exposure to toxic chemicals can be carefully controlled.
  • World First: Baby born after womb transplantation - "Absolute uterine factor infertility" is the only type of female infertility still considered to be untreatable. This condition is often a consequence of Rokitansky syndrome, which is when a woman is born without a womb. Adoption and surrogacy have so far been the only options for women with absolute uterine factor infertility to acquire motherhood. However, the news of the first baby to be born from a woman with Rokitansky syndrome who received a womb transplant brings hope to women with forms of absolute uterine factor infertility.
  • Robotic Surgery: More Complications, Higher Expense for Some Conditions - Robot-assisted surgery was first widely used for radical prostatectomy. For procedures such as prostatectomy, where there were previously no minimally invasive options, robot-assisted laparoscopy often offered a dramatic improvement. But in the two gynecologic surgeries looked at in this study -- oophorectomy (removal of one or both ovaries) and cystectomy (removal of an ovarian cyst) -- surgeons already had laparoscopic options. The rate of robot-assisted surgery increased from 3.5 percent in 2009 to 15.0 percent in 2012 for oophorectomy and from 2.4 percent in 2009 to 12.9 percent in 2012 for cystectomy. The study showed a small but statistically significant overall increase in intraoperative (during surgery) complications, mainly ureteral and bladder injuries, with the robot-assisted procedures -- 3.4 percent for robot-assisted oophorectomy vs. 2.1 percent for conventional laparoscopic oophorectomy; 2.0 percent for a robot-assisted cystectomy vs. 0.9 percent for a conventional laparoscopic cystectomy.