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Johns Hopkins Women's Health Research Group

A collaboration among the Bloomberg School of Public Health,
the School of Medicine, and the School of Nursing.

Institute of Medicine Reports

Women's Health

clinical Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) addresses preventive services for both men and women of all ages. Women, in particular, stand to benefit from additional preventive health services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services charged the IOM with reviewing what preventive services are important to women’s health and well-being, and identifying those that should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. The IOM recommends that women’s preventive services include, among other services, improved screening for cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections and HIV; a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services; services for pregnant women; at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually; and screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

pitfallsWomen’s Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise
Over the past two decades, there have been major changes in government support of women’s health research. The IOM finds that women’s health research has contributed to significant progress in lessening the burden of disease and reducing deaths from some conditions, while other conditions have seen only moderate change or even little or no change.

lesbianLesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future
Women's health, as a field of study, is a developing discipline. Health theories in general have been based on studies of men. However, in recent years, more attention has shifted to women's health, realizing the disparities between men and women in relation to their health. During the last two decades, a similar shift has occurred for a group of women—lesbians—to further identify and specify their health needs. Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future takes a frank look at the political pressures, community attitudes and professional concerns uniquely affecting the study of lesbian health issues.

violence Preventing Violence Against Women and Children: Workshop Summary
Violence against women and children places a high burden on global health. Women and children are particularly susceptible to violence because they often have fewer rights or lack legal protection. Over the last decade, researchers have gathered data on the growing magnitude of this violence, but many research gaps still remain. The Forum on Global Violence Prevention held its first workshop January 27-28, 2011, to explore the prevention of violence against women and children. Discussions included violence-prevention strategies and ways to prevent the spread of violence from one generation to the next.

sex matterWeight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines
It has been nearly two decades since guidelines on weight gain in pregnancy were issued by the Institute of Medicine. In that time, there have been research advances on the effects of pregnancy weight gain on the health of both mother and baby. Additionally, dramatic differences have emerged over the past twenty years in the populations of women who are having babies. Given these changes, the IOM’s 2009 report, Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, examines the topic from the perspective that pregnancy health begins begin before conception and extends through the first year after birth.

breast cancer Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach
More than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2011. The IOM was asked to review the current evidence on breast cancer and the environment, review challenges in studying this topic, explore evidence-based actions that women might take to reduce their risk, and recommend future research. Overall, it found that major advances have been made in understanding breast cancer and its risk factors, but more needs to be learned about its causes, how environmental exposures affect risk for the disease, and how to prevent it.

Sex Differences:

exploring Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?
The IOM formed a committee to evaluate and consider the current understanding of sex differences and determinants at the biological level and to identify current and potential barriers to the conduct of research in this area.

sex specific Sex-Specific Reporting of Scientific Research - Workshop Summary
In 2010, the IOM released a report that found, among other things, that failure to report research data by sex had slowed progress in women’s health. Although the number of women participating in clinical trials has increased over the last two decades, they are still underrepresented. And even when women are included in these trials, male and female results are often not analyzed by sex. On August 30, 2011, the IOM’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice hosted a workshop to address the recommendation that journals should adopt guidelines requiring that all papers report research outcomes on males and females separately.