Suppose an important woman in your life—your wife, partner, mother, sister, daughter, or friend—becomes ill, and you learn she did not receive the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment because symptoms in women are not as commonly understood as those in men.
Four years ago, Jenny Toolin McAuliffe was only vaguely aware of sex differences in medicine, but through friends she heard about research led by the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “I’ve come to realize just how different women are from men in our symptoms of disease and the ways we respond to medications,” she says. “We’re at such an early, critical stage of understanding these differences, and need to push forward with research discoveries to improve care for women of all ages.”
Now chair of the BWH Women’s Health Leadership Council, McAuliffe is committed to furthering the Connors Center’s research mission, as well as its public policy, education, and patient care programs—locally and across the globe. As the mother of daughters, she says, “I am drawn to this work in a very powerful way. Leading the council gives me a tremendous opportunity to spread the word about the vital need for these programs and to support the center philanthropically.”
Inspired by the leadership of Connors Center Executive Director Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, McAuliffe recently made a bequest to further support the center’s work. “I have enormous respect for Paula Johnson,” McAuliffe says. “When you listen to her and see her in action, she compels you to get involved.”
“By including the Connors Center in my will, I want to help ensure the work of improving women’s health is carried into the future,” she says. “The return on our investment is in the health of our daughters, granddaughters, and people who will live generations beyond us.”