News Release

Friday, June 15, 2012

New members named to NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health

Three new members to the National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health (ACRWH) have been confirmed by the director of the National Institutes of Health. The new members, who will each serve four-year terms, joined the advisory committee in April at the 35th ACRWH meeting at NIH's main campus.

The ACRWH provides guidance to the director of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH). ORWH resides in the NIH Office of the Director and works with the 27 NIH institutes and centers to ensure that women's health and sex differences research is part of the NIH scientific framework. ORWH also works to ensure that women and minorities are included in clinical research.

"The ORWH welcomes these three individuals to the ACRWH, and I personally look forward to their guidance and insight. Their many contributions to women's health globally, nationally, and locally reflect their deep and accomplished commitment to women's health and sex differences research. They each will contribute unique perspectives to the ACRWH's mandate,” said Janine Austin Clayton, M.D., acting director, ORWH.

The new council members:

Afaf I. Meleis, Ph.D., is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, professor of nursing and sociology. She also directs the school's World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. Dr. Meleis' scholarship focuses on global health, and on immigrant and women's health. She is the Global Ambassador for the Girl Child Initiative of the International Council of Nurses, and is president and Council General Emerita of the International Council on Women's Health Issues.

Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., is research professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology and of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and serves as medical director for cancer prevention and screening at the Providence Cancer Center at Providence Health & Services, Ore. At the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, Dr. Nelson has led more than 30 systematic statistical reviews and analyses for the U.S Preventive Services Task Force, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Effective Healthcare Program, and Drug Effectiveness Review Project, among others. Her work contributed to medication and health insurance coverage decisions and also informed clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and patients of the state of evidence for many clinical questions. In 2011, she served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Preventive Services for Women. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services accepted the report's recommendations for inclusion under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Nelson's research focus includes postmenopausal women's health and associated topics, and genetic risk assessment and BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility.

Gerson Weiss, M.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New Jersey Medical School, Newark. Grants from NIH, the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have continuously funded Dr. Weiss' research since 1975. He has served as a member of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) and as a member of the Research Ethics Board Study Section of the NIH. Dr. Weiss has served as president of the New York Obstetrical Society, the New York Gynecologic Society, the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and past chairman of ABOG. He was also the chairman of the Committee on Gynecologic Practice for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He was a member of the executive committee of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Weiss is a past president of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. He conducts an active clinical practice in gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility at his institution.

Continuing members of the ACRWH include Dr. Richard W. Besdine, Dr. John O. L. Delancey, Dr. Francisco Garcia, Dr. Margery Gass, Dr. Ronda Henry-Tillman, Dr. Paula Johnson, Dr. Karen Kim, Dr. Susan Kornstein, Valerie Latona, Dr. Jon E. Levine, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, Dr. Jeanne Craig Sinkford, Dr. Farida Sohrabji, Dr. Gary Striker, and Dr. Paul Terranova.

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

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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