Gail Greendale, MD, Research Director
Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine, Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Endowed Chair in Women’s Health Research
Dr. Gail Greendale received her B.A. degree from Cornell University and M.D. degree from State University of New York at Buffalo. Her internship and residency in General Internal Medicine were completed at Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, where she also served as chief medical resident. Dr. Greendale next completed a fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at Harvard Medical School.
For close to three decades, Dr. Greendale has been committed to the study of mid-life and older women’s health. Her main areas of concentration are menopause and osteoporosis. Since joining the UCLA faculty in 1989, Dr. Greendale has led dozens of scientific studies related to the natural history and the treatment of these conditions. She led the UCLA section of the Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestins Intervention Trial (PEPI), the first large NIH-sponsored randomized controlled clinical trial of the effects of menopausal hormones on cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopause. Dr. Greendale is the Principal Investigator of the UCLA site of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which has been in the field since the early 1990’s. SWAN is the largest US study of the biological and psychosocial consequences of menopause, and the only such study that includes women of five ethnic/racial groups. SWAN has given rise to many other research grants made to Dr. Greendale and her research team, including studies of the effects of plant estrogens on multiple health outcomes, new ways to assess hip bone strength, the effects of complementary and alternative practices on menopause symptoms, changes in spine bone structure during the menopause, and how getting breast cancer during the menopause transition affects women’s health and quality of life.
Dr. Greendale’s work also includes studies of menopausal hormones on breast tissue density, the treatment of menopause symptoms in breast cancer survivors, factors that lead to osteoporosis in both women and men, the use of Yoga to stabilize or reverse excessive curvature of the spine (commonly called “Dowager’s Hump”), use of Yoga to preserve physical function in seniors, and the effects of physical activity on bone health.
Andrea Hevener, MD, PhD, Associate Research Director
Professor of Medicine, Sidney Roberts and Clara Szego Roberts Endowed Chair in Molecular/Cellular Endocrinology
Dr. Hevener received her PhD from USC in 1998 in kinesiology and physiology and biophysics and performed a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at UC San Diego from 1998 to 2002. She was promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at UCSD in 2002 and recruited to the Department of Medicine at UCLA in 2007, where she is currently a professor of medicine in endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension. The primary goal of her research is to identify cellular mechanisms that contribute to metabolic dysfunction and heightened disease susceptibility - obesity and type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer - in women. Specifically, her laboratory has been studying the effects of estrogen receptor expression on cellular function in tissues normally responsive to the hormone insulin. She is working to advance women’s health research and clinical care for those suffering from chronic diseases associated with impaired metabolism.
Kimberly Narain, MD, PhD, MPH, Research Mentor
Assistant Professor-in-Residence, David Geffen School of Medicine
Dr. Narain received dual B.S. degrees in Microbiology and African-American studies from UCLA and an M.D. from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Following residency, she completed a California Endowment Minority Health Policy Fellowship at Harvard Medical School. After leaving Harvard, she completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship at UCLA. Upon completion of this fellowship, Dr. Narain stayed on at UCLA as a Specialty Training Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research and earned a Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research at UCLA, Dr. Narain was a post-doctoral fellow in the West Los Angeles VA Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy.
Dr. Narain’s primary research focus involves investigating the implications of social, economic and health policies for health equity among women, individuals with low socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic minorities. During her Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar fellowship, she conducted the first study to examine the perspectives of single mothers who lost access to welfare cash transfer benefits as a consequence of exceeding time limits or failure to meet work requirements regarding their experiences with health and health care. Her dissertation work produced the first study to find a positive relationship between more stringent eligibility requirements for the receipt of welfare cash transfer benefits and worse self-reported health and disability among single mothers with a high school diploma or less and the first study to directly link time limits for welfare cash transfer benefits with decreased access to health care in this same population. Her post-doctoral work yielded the first studies to document the prevalence of food insufficiency (inadequate food intake due to lack of money or resources) among Women Veterans and the association of food insufficiency with worse self-reported access to health care and health outcomes among this population. As a faculty member, she led one of the few studies to examine the impact of state-level minimum wage increases on access to health care, health behavior and health outcomes, across racial/ethnic and gender groups. She has also collaborated with the Center for Health Advancement in the Fielding School of Public Health to investigate the scientific evidence needs of public health organizations desiring to advance health equity.
Women's Health Pilot Projects
Founded in 2004, the Executive Advisory Board of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health Center provides funding for research and education projects of the Center. Over the past 7 years, the Executive Advisory Board has provided nearly $800,000 to help underwrite 33 UCLA research projects in women's health. These projects have:
Advanced our understanding of differences between women and men in how genes work in the brain, liver, muscle, and adipose tissue (fat);
Investigated the potential of natural components of vegetables to present the spread of breast and ovarian cancer;
Studied the immune system, including how the impact of stress may be affected by female hormones, whether yoga may help overcome stressful changes, and how particular aspects of women's immune systems may combine with infections and other factors to cause infertility and heart disease;
Identified victims of human trafficking (slavery) in Los Angeles might be identified and rescued through their interactions with physicians and other healthcare providers;
Studied male/female differences in stroke and migraine headaches;
Investigated less toxic approaches to the treatment of uterine cancer.
Executive Advisory Board funds also support outreach programs of the Center that provide health education to low-income women, as well as educational programs for medical students, practicing physicians, and other healthcare providers. The Executive Advisory Board supports joint health advocacy programs with the Los Angeles County Office of Women's Health on topics such as reproductive health, cardiovascular disease in women, human trafficking, and women's health and the environment.
Learn more about the Iris Cantor - UCLA Women's Health Center Pilot Projects