Message from Department Chair, Deborah Krakow, MD

Deborah Krakow

On March 18 President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order that will bring about the most comprehensive set of actions ever taken to expand and improve research on women’s health. The directives will ensure women’s health is integrated and prioritized across the federal research portfolio and budget, and will galvanize new research on gender differences in conditions related to many diseases facing both women and men, as well as gender specific diseases such as menopause and women’s midlife health.

In his March 2024 State of the Union address, President Biden laid out his vision for advancing women’s health research and improving the lives of women across the country. This transformative effort will work across federal agencies such as the NIH, FDA, DOD, CDC and VA and result in increased funding for research, encourage innovative new initiatives in women’s health, promote private sector investments, improve education and outreach, and accelerate new pathways to early detection and treatment of conditions specific to women.

UCLA has a long and robust history of research into gender specific and gender shared conditions. We have large amounts of data demonstrating gender differences in many diseases, such as how heart disease manifests differently in women than in men, and we continue to grow research into women specific conditions such as menopause resulting in our newly launched UCLA Health Comprehensive Menopause Program. With this unprecedented action by the administration and federal government, which some are calling the “Women’s Moon Shot,” opportunities to boost current efforts as well as will provide support for new innovative work will allow us to more quickly advance women’s health and related research.

In this issue of OBGYNews you’ll see some of the work currently underway to support women’s obstetrical and gynecologic health. We present a profile of the Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) Division, and the center’s recent move into a dedicated new space that has enhanced the capacity of the center’s team of reproductive endocrinologists and skilled nurses to offer collaborative and compassionate care at a clinic exclusively for fertility patients. We’ll introduce you to Robert Roman, MD one of our REI faculty who has clinical expertise in areas such as in vitro fertilization and fertility preservation to help LGBTQ+ patients reach their family-building goals. Aparna Sridhar, MD MPH details a recent grant from the Gates Foundation to study the mapping of contraception related projects at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. You’ll read about the current work of UCLA alumni Dr. Minoko Watabe, Chief Medical Officer at Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital. And as we say goodbye to our 2024 class of Fellows, you’ll get a chance to see some of the abstracts and presentations of their work.