Prioritizing Sex-Based Research in Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

This blog was originally published by The Huffington Post on 11/30.

Co-authored by Jill Lesser, President of WomenAgainstAlzheimers and British Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Heart Alliance.

What if we could access knowledge that would transform modern medicine, enabling better disease prevention, better clinical decision-making, better therapeutics and better health outcomes for all Americans?

We don’t have to imagine. The answer lies in making medical research truly inclusive—in part, by filling the widespread gender, racial, and ethnic gaps in clinical trials; and most significantly, by studying sex differences in disease. These differences include the risk factors women and men face, the way they develop and experience illness, and the way they respond to treatment.

Sex matters. Every cell has a sex, and male and female cells react differently to the same stimuli. Understanding sex differences can revolutionize how we diagnose, care, and cure disease, from catalyzing therapeutic breakthroughs and innovations to driving meaningful advances in women’s health and, thus, strengthening society as a whole.

That is why, at a time when the promise of precision medicine is gaining momentum, sex-based research should be at the forefront—beginning with heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)



This World AIDS Day, many of you are helping to educate women about HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. We just want to remind you that the FDA Office of Women’s Health is a partner in your outreach and care. Please use these FDA resources in your activities today and in the coming year.

Also, join us in the fight to help find a cure. Our Diverse Women in Clinical Trials Campaign is mobilizing women of diverse backgrounds to participate in HIV clinical research. Encourage the women in your networks, regardless of age, HIV status or sexual orientation, to participate in clinical trials.

Join Us

Retweet HIV and Clinical Trials information from @FDAWomen on Twitter.

Tales, Tips and Love from Women Caregivers


Elayne Clift

Women have always been caregivers. Whether looking after small children, elders, other family members or friends in small communities, tending to others in urban settings with limited support systems, or acting as professional caregivers in institutional settings, we have been the primary providers of physical care and emotional support in a variety of settings and circumstances throughout the ages.

Today that remains true, and being the main caregiver may be more vital than ever. As women have children later and elders live longer, we are challenged by competing demands and shrinking resources. Many of us have elderly parents living (perhaps with us) in a time of growing dementia or increasing frailty; others have parents who need supervision in nursing homes of dubious quality. At the same time, we are parenting children who quite often have their own physical or mental health challenges. We may also have spouses in failing health who need our attention. And who among us would not be there for an ill friend or family member?

Whether we are younger women focused on child care, older women charged with “being there” for a sick spouse or parent, or women in the Sandwich Generation who are called upon to take care of children and parents simultaneously, many of us find ourselves in the caregiver role, well before we expected to be there and often feeling less prepared than we wish.  We are all caregivers at some stage of our lives, and we all have stories to tell about what that has meant for us.

It’s important to emphasize women as caregivers because while men and women are both likely to fulfill caregiving roles, female caregivers spend many more hours providing care. They spend an average of 680 hours per year providing care, 160 more hours on average than male caregivers. Female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers. (more…)

Disruptive Women Events: Not to be Missed

Mark your calendars now, we are not ending this year quietly and 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year—lots of disrupting to do and we hope to have you join in!

December 13, 2016: Mobile Mirror, Mobile Mirror on the Brain: Mind, Maps, and Memory (Use promo code DISRUPT16 to get in free!)

January 8, 2017: J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference/Rock Health Digital Awards Dinner

Disruptive Women in Health Care is pleased to have been asked by Rock Health to collaborate on their Diversity Leadership Award which will be presented at the upcoming J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference as part of the Top 50 in Digital Health Awards Dinner hosted by Fenwick & West, Goldman Sachs, Rock Health, and Square 1 Bank: Sunday, January 8th in San Francisco.

A little about the Diversity Leadership Award: Tackling complex problems in health care requires not only the brightest minds, but diverse ones too. This award recognizes the organization that has shown the biggest commitment to diversity.

February 21, 2017: HIMSS Annual Conference/ Disruptive Women Luncheon
Navigating Uncertainty: Disruptive Women Style

Women spend much of their time learning to work around, work through and work directly on difficult challenges, be they work related, politics, access to capital, work/life balance (whatever that means). The one constant we know is uncertainty. 2017 is unfolding to be a year of enormous uncertainty in every dimension of the word. Who better to share tips on navigating through waves of uncertainty than women who know how to throw on a life preserver (and matching shoes) and get stuff done. Join our panel of experts for a spirited conversation.

Hear from our global panel: direct from the UK, Sarah Kerruish, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer, Antidote; Halle Tecco, Angel Investor & Founder, Rock Health; Ceci Connolly,President & CEO, Alliance of Community Health Plans; Peggy Williams, Partner, Lumeri; and Nicole Gardner, VP, Federal Healthcare & Human Services, Industry Leader, IBM Global Business Services and yours truly, Robin Strongin, will serve as moderator. (more…)

November 2016 Man of the Month: Peter L. Levin

Peter L. Levin

Peter L. Levin

There’s an old saying that says information is power.  Peter L. Levin, founder and CEO of Amida Technology Solutions and Disruptive Woman’s November Man of the Month, has done that phrase one better, advocating the idea of “Data to the People.”

As millions of Americans know firsthand, Levin’s actions have more than matched his words.  For years, health data was stored in closed proprietary systems and made inaccessible to patients.  An individual with a serious health condition couldn’t present their health records to a new doctor because they were kept out of reach.

Blue Button changed this situation for the better.  As Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Levin was instrumental in modernizing the VA’s health records system and creating Blue Button, an easy-to-use online mechanism that enabled veterans to gain immediate access to their health data.  This system has since expanded to Medicare beneficiaries and private health insurance clients, making it the most widely-used personal health records program in the country.

Today, Levin has both a position from which to continue bringing about change and an important cause to pursue.  The position is at Amida, a firm that has built a library of Blue Button and health informatics components that can make a significant difference in linking patients and consumers with their healthcare data being held in multiple repositories.  Through Amida’s systems, data in the possession of health insurers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, population health management firms, and employers can be consolidated, aggregated and made available to consumers for downloading and sharing.

Levin has said he believes his work is far from done and he is continuing to pursue an environment in which individuals can gain possession of their health care information just as easily as they can their financial records.   He is, in essence, calling for a new American revolution, this one focused on data.

November’s Man of the Month is making a difference improving health and lives by fully understanding that information is indeed power and using his voice and his considerable skills to ensure that data belongs to the people.

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