Why a Women’s Health Conference?

Why a Women's Health Conference?
Why a Women's Health Conference?
Suzanne B. Robotti
Suzanne B. Robotti Executive Director

Did you know that women have different side effects to medicine than men have? For example, a beneficial side effect of aspirin is prevention of heart disease, right? Not for women. Because women were not included in the original research on aspirin and heart disease, doctors were unaware that women get no cardiac benefit from prophylactic aspirin. For 20 years, women were prescribed aspirin for no reason, noted Nieca Goldberg, MD, Keynote speaker.

And yet, since 1985 more women than men have died of cardiovascular disease, stated Dr. Goldberg, and 2/3 of the women who died never even made it to the hospital!

This lack of science-based health information regarding women is the main reason the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and Healthywomen.org held the recent 2nd Annual Women’s Health Innovation and Leadership Showcase (WHILS) in NYC.

MedShadow's 7 Qs Women Should Ask Their Doctors
MedShadow’s 7?s Women Should Ask Their Doctors (click to download)

MedShadow was also a sponsor. More than 300 women healthcare professionals, and a few male professionals, gathered to hear 10 speakers discuss why it’s important that women be involved in medical research, both as designers and as subjects, and the urgent need for health literacy among all strata of women.

I was not surprised to learn from Dr. Goldberg that women make 80% of all the medical decisions in the family. Women hold the conversations with doctors about the risks and benefits of medicines, balancing the side effects compared to health improvement.

The 7-hour conference was packed with ideas and information on the healthcare industry and women’s health in America. After all, as panelist and investor Anula Jayasuriya said, how can women’s health be considered a niche market when women are the majority of the population and users?

The live tweeting during the conference captured highlights. Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite, thought-provoking tweets. See more at #WHILS.

On the difference between men and women

@LisaCourtade: Dr Goldberg @NYULMC Not just Mars & Venus – Men & Women respond differently to meds. How do we get greater diversity in clin trials?

@gwenmayes: “We need to increase women in clinical trials” says Nieca Goldberg MD

We Need to Change the Healthcare System

@camdenhealth: Panel: “The simple act of asking a patient what they want to achieve has been the most effective way of engaging them.”

@BBCRN: “We need to look at health more comprehensively, not treat diseases like they’re in silos.” – @RainHenderson @ClintonFdn

@LisaCourtade: The signal of the patient is sometimes lost – triple filtered thru intermediaries – doctor, payer, govt – Anula Jayasuriya

@MedShadow_Su: Q from the audience: How to prevent problems like the anti-vax movement that is driven by bad info & good info ignored?

@MedShadow_Su: A: Barbara Glickstein: we must address level of distrust of med community-Med journal articles w/drawn, nutrit’n guidelines on its head

@MontgomeryMeg: Key is to make info simple to increase health literacy -Penney Cowan, ACPA

@MedShadow_Su: Medical coverage is useful when sick, but too many don’t understand benefits when well. Using local groups to educate. Cara V. James

@LisaCourtade: Rain  innovative models – doing screening at the DMV – you’re sitting anyway -bringing health to non clinical settings #WHILS

@MedShadow_Su: Cara James -just giving the poor a health card won’t bridge the health gap.@CMSGov

Medical Care that Women are NOT Receiving

@LisaCourtade: Did you know that dense breast tissue both masks and increases risk of breast cancer? You do now thanks to Dr Jacob @GEHealthcare

@HealthyWomen: “We can completely eradicate #cervicalcancer with Pap tests. Yet, people are still dying from it,” @KEMENYMD, @NYHospQueens

@LisaCourtade: The biggest problem with chronic pain is that you can’t see it. People are told, not taught, how to live with it. Penney Cowan #ACPA

@JenniferShipon: We need to do a better job of identifying/treating acute pain before it’s chronic. Management is key, not just IDing. -Penney Cowan

@heathervanness: #WHILS Penney Cowan: fibromyalgia and headaches are examples of pain problems affecting women that have not been adequately understood

Look for the #WHILS hashtag on Twitter to find more comments about the Women’s Health Inovation Leadership Showcase.

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