Women's Health Luncheon

May 6, 2016

Women's Health Luncheon

Women's Health Luncheon

Did you know that women and men feel pain differently? Or that females—even female mice—are often excluded from medical research? On Friday, May 6, more than 425 attendees learned these astounding facts and more at the annual Women’s Health Luncheon, hosted at the Westin Boston Waterfront by the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, executive director of the Connors Center, led a panel of experts in a discussion about “Power Over Pain.”  

Enjoy the photo gallery below.

2016 Women's Health Luncheon

“Pain may be the most complex human disease we have,” said Gary Strichartz, PhD, MDiv, FRSM, director of the Pain Research Center, kicking off a discussion that covered sex differences in pain and treatment of pain. Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Headache, said, “A third of women in this room have experienced a migraine. In, fact, it is the most common severe pain disorder that affects women.”

As an anesthesiologist and clinical pain researcher in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Kristin Shreiber, MD, PhD, said, “Because women tend to have more anxiety than men, they can be at increased risk for developing chronic pain later on.” She also shared that men do better with traditional physical therapy while women had better outcomes with group therapies like yoga. Strichartz added that patients who practiced mindfulness meditation before surgery had reduced pain and less need for opioid pain medications later.

After the panel discussion concluded, Karen Zahorsky, chair of the Women’s Health Board of Advocates, introduced the audience to Us Plus One, a movement to inspire and engage more advocates for gender equity in medical research.

As the program concluded, the guests heard from Jack Connors, who helped establish the Connors Center in memory of his mother. Connors shared reflections and a heartfelt toast to Johnson, who is leaving BWH this summer to serve as president of Wellesley College. “Paula, there are thousands of women who are leading healthier lives as a result of your work. We are proud of you, we are grateful to you, and we will miss you.”