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Yale Psychiatry residents organize women's mental health conference

May 31, 2019

The nation’s first academic and trainee-led women’s mental health conference will be hosted by Yale School of Medicine on Oct. 25, 2019.

The Women’s Mental Health Conference at Yale was founded by Yale Department of Psychiatry residents Stefanie Gillson, MD, and Sofia Noori, MD, MPH, and organized by students across medicine, psychiatry, public health, and law.

The conference is dedicated toward improving the wellbeing of women through better training of future healthcare professionals. It seeks to center issues of women’s wellbeing in the male-dominated healthcare professions.

The event will bring together students, researchers, advocates, and clinicians to share knowledge about how to better care for women from a variety of backgrounds and gender expressions.

The conference is open to the Yale community and public and is free to attend. Sessions will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

“I hope the conference will spark more critical discussion about the many ways women's mental health is impacted at all levels, from interpersonal to structural determinants,” said Antonia Caba, a conference organizer and student at Yale School of Public Health. “We've dedicated much of our planning meetings to thinking about how we can be inclusive of women with diverse identities, and I think these conversations will very much be reflected in the conference's workshops and sessions.”

The conference will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the admission of the first women to Yale College, and the first anniversary of the national #MeToo movement. Conference sessions will focus on an array of topics, including sexual trauma, interpersonal violence, perinatal mental health, and intersectionality.

Award-winning playwright, activist, and feminist Eve Ensler will be the keynote speaker. She is best known for her play “The Vagina Monologues,” and has been honored with numerous awards, including the Isabelle Stevenson Award at the 65th Tony Awards in 2011.

“Eve Ensler has been a fierce advocate for women for so long, and I'm so excited to hear her perspective on this topic,” said Shireen Roy, a 2019 Yale College graduate and student at Yale School of Public Health who is helping to organize the conference. “She combines her lived experience with her art and advocacy in a way that ensures that her keynote address will be powerful and motivating to health trainees.”

The conference is accepting proposals for 50-minute panels and workshops on a variety of topics in women’s mental health. Travel stipends will be made available for presenters. Session proposals may be submitted on the conference website by July 15, 2019.

“This conference shows how different specialties can work together and teach each other transferrable skills,” said Casey Chu, a graduate public health student at Yale and a conference organizer. “Psychiatry and social work, which are usually the areas in charge of mental health care, are no longer the only ones responsible for providing it."

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on May 31, 2019