Women's Reproductive Health

Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Program

In 1999, the UW's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was one of 20 Ob/Gyn sites chosen nationwide and funded for a five-year period by the National Institutes of Health to be a Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Training Center. Funding has been renewed through 2020.

The long-term goal of the UW WRHR program is to recruit and facilitate the career development of obstetrician-gynecologists who have demonstrated research potential and are committed to a career in academic medicine. The University of Washington program is unique in its broad approach to the WRHR career development award. We have assembled an internationally renowned mentor group from an exceptionally wide range of disciplines. Scholars build collaborative teams, with obstetrics and gynecology research as the core activity. The end result is an individually tailored educational program, unlike most fellowships available in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.

The principal training format is a mentored experience with a successful investigator (clinical or basic research) for a minimum of two, but up to five, years. During this period, the scholar devotes 80% of their time to research. The research scope is open for the scholar and mentor to direct, and encompasses all areas of obstetrics and gynecology and its subspecialties. As of 2010, 170 scholars nationwide have been accepted into the program. The UW Ob/Gyn Department can support a maximum of two scholars at any given time.

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MsFLASH: Living a Healthy Menopause

Susan D Reed, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator

This is a new application from the Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH) Clinical Trials network. Here we propose to conduct a large multicenter trial comparing two common treatments, a vaginal hormone pill and an over-the-counter gel, with placebo to evaluate their effects on bothersome vaginal symptoms and sexual function, and to create a biorepository of specimens for future translational, mechanistic research on the etiology of vaginal symptoms. We also propose to build a set of comprehensive, evidence-based, user friendly and widely available multi-media materials to reach women and providers with the newest trial results evaluating the effectiveness of treatments ranging from hormones to complementary and alternative therapies to behavioral interventions for relief of hot flashes, vaginal, sleep, mood and pain symptoms. These aims are geared to transforming the evidence-base and resources available to aging women for navigating this life stage.

Funding Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – NIH
End Date: 3-31-2017

A U.S. Study of Endometriosis: Case-finding, Incidence, and Patterns of Care in a Population-based Cohort

Susan D Reed, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator

Endometriosis is an often disabling gynecologic condition most commonly diagnosed in women in their late 20s. The condition is diagnosed at surgery with the finding of endometrial gland tissue in the pelvis, bowel, abdomen, lungs or brain. In contradistinction, the normal anatomic location of endometrial tissue is within the uterus. Symptoms include painful periods, pain with sexual activity, diminished fertility, back ache and chronic pelvic pain. Rarely, endometriosis can also affect bowel and respiratory function, causing women to cough blood or have seizures at the time of menses. Athough benign, endometriosis is associated with considerable morbidity. Despite the public health burden, associated care costs, and impacts on the lives of many women, endometriosis treatment options remain limited. The goal of this study is to clarify/augment information from prior studies, in a US population-based cohort, on the incidence and prevalence of endometriosis in symptomatic women, with particular emphasis on accurate, economical use of data-only approaches, including generalizable automated case-finding algorithm(s). We propose to identify and characterize a population-based study cohort of Group Health Cooperative enrollees; women aged 18-65 with diagnoses of acute symptomatic endometriosis (2008-2014). Our primary specific aims are to: 1) develop and validate an automated case-finding algorithm for incident endometriosis; 2) estimate the incidence and prevalence of endometriosis and population-based trends from 2008-2013; 3) assess 2-year post- endometriosis diagnosis treatment and utilization patterns, including surgical interventions, pharmacotherapy, and overall health care utilization. Findings from this study will provide data on large samples with great economy and provide clinicians and patients with information, currently lacking, on patterns of endometriosis diagnosis, treatment and care. Our research findings will guide the development of new medical therapies for the millions of women with symptomatic endometriosis.

Funding Source: Group Health Research Institute / Bayer
End Date: 6-30-2017