News Release

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Five New Members Named to NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health

Expertise includes research and policy, women’s health care, health professional education, including dentistry, and biomedical career development.

The National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) announces the appointment of five new members: Margery L.S. Gass, M.D., Paula Adina Johnson, M.D., Jeanne Craig Sinkford, D.D.S., Farida Sohrabji, Ph.D., and Gary E. Striker, M.D.

The committee advises the ORWH on appropriate research activities to be undertaken by the national research institutes with respect to research on women’s health; research on sex/gender differences in clinical trials, and research on women’s health conditions which require an interdisciplinary approach. Members are chosen from among physicians, practitioners, scientists, and other health professionals who are not federal employees. The committee members are actively involved in reviewing NIH women’s health research priorities, the women’s health research portfolio for NIH, career development, and the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. The committee is composed of up to 18 members who are appointed by the NIH director.

" We are pleased to welcome these five new members who are exceptionally accomplished in their fields and represent a diversity of experience related to women’s health research," said ORWH director Vivian W. Pinn, M.D. "We are excited about their commitment to the mission of ORWH and its role in the NIH community, and we look forward to their guidance and leadership as we continue to address critical public health issues."

Dr. Margery L.S. Gass is professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and director of the University Hospital Menopause and Osteoporosis Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Gass has recently been selected to serve as the North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) executive director as of Jan. 1, 2010, upon the retirement from NAMS of Wulf H. Utian, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc. (Med), NAMS founding president and executive director. She is a principal investigator for the NIH-sponsored Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and has served on several of its committees as well as being the lead investigator of the Midwest Section of the WHI, and also is serving a three-year term on the NIH National Advisory Council for the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Gass’ clinical emphasis is on three areas of particular importance to midlife wome — menopause, osteoporosis, and female sexual function.

Dr. Paula A. Johnson is the executive director of the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology and Chief of the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Connors Center seeks to transform the health of women through discovering how disease is expressed differently in women and men as well as integrating leading-edge research about women's health into the delivery of care. The Center is unique in its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to women’s health, which influences health policy, addresses the health of women globally, and trains the next generation of leadership in women’s health. For the past decade, her research has focused on defining access to, and the appropriateness of, cardiology care received by women and racial and ethnic minorities. Dr Johnson chairs the board of the Boston Public Health Commission, which is responsible for Public Health in the City of Boston. Dr. Johnson’s work continues to drive forward policies and initiatives that serve to improve women’s health domestically and globally. Dr. Johnson is the recipient of many awards recognizing her contributions in women's health and is featured as a national leader in medicine in the National Library of Medicine Changing the Face of Medicine exhibit.

Dr. Jeanne Craig Sinkford is the first woman to be included in the U.S.A. section of the International College of Dentists’ Chronicles of Outstanding Leaders in Dentistry, the first woman to be appointed dean of a dental school in the United States, and for more than 20 years was the only female dean at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is professor and dean emeritus, Howard University College of Dentistry, and currently serves as the associate executive director and director, Center for Equity and Diversity, American Dental Education Association. Dr. Sinkford served on the original Task Force on Women in Biomedical Careers for the ORWH and is an internationally recognized expert on dental education and international issues for women in dentistry.

Dr. Farida Sohrabji is an associate professor and the associate department head of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and is also a member of the faculty for Neuroscience, the Reproduction Forum and the Center for Environmental and Reproductive Health. Dr. Sohrabji was recently appointed director of the Women’s Health in Neuroscience Program at the College of Medicine. She also maintains an active research program in neuroscience with research funded by the National Institutes of Aging, NIH.

Dr. Gary E. Striker is a professor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and a professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He maintains research laboratories devoted to stem cells, aging and diabetes-related topics in both New York City and Miami. Dr. Striker is the former director of the Kidney, Urology, and Hematology Division, NIDDK, NIH, and of the Vascular Biology Institute at the University of Miami, and has been an NIH-funded investigator since the late 1960s.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as the focal point for women's health research at the NIH. For more information about NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health or the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, visit or

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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