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Advocate for women’s health research is honored

Medicine@Yale, 2009 - Nov Dec


In an October 29 ceremony held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, Carolyn M. Mazure, Ph.D., director of Women’s Health Research at Yale (WHRY), was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Mazure was honored for her work in founding WHRY, for her wide-ranging influence on biomedical research and health care, and for her own research on gender-specific aspects of depression which has shown, for example, that stress is a more potent pathway to depression for women than for men.

Mazure founded WHRY in 1998 with the support of The Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation based on the premise that understanding gender differences is vitally important to the health of both women and men. The WHRY program, which is dedicated to exploring the wide range of conditions that are more prevalent in women, or for which the causes, treatment, or prevention have gender-specific differences, has grown to become a national model for initiating and fostering interdisiplinary research on women’s health and gender differences, and for disseminating findings with real-world benefits to the community.

Mazure, professor of psychiatry and psychology and associate dean for faculty affairs, is internationally recognized for her own research on depression.

The WHRY program is now constructed around research “cores” devoted to a range of areas in women’s health. In a recent line of research under the umbrella of the Women and Trauma core, WHRY scientists are conducting one of the first studies of how women veterans returning from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan readjust to civilian life.

The WHRY’s Pilot Project Program provides Yale scientists with “seed” funding that allows them to generate the data they need to obtain external grants from the National Institutes of Health. All told, over $4 million in such grants have allowed Yale researchers to obtain more than $40 million in external funding to extend their research. Also honored at the October event were Connecticut’s three women hospital presidents and CEOs, including Marna P. Borgstrom, M.B.A., CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, founded in 1993, showcases the outstanding contributions of Connecticut women to their communities, their state, and the nation.

Prior inductees affiliated with the School of Medicine include Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D., Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and the late Patricia Goldman-Rakic, Ph.D. Steitz, discoverer of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (see related story), intracellular complexes that play a key role in the splicing of pre-messenger RNA, the earliest product of DNA transcription, was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2008.Goldman-Rakic, who died in 2003, was a pre-eminent investigator of the workings of the prefrontal cortex, seat of all higher-level cognitive functions in the brain. She was inducted to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 2008.