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Focus on the Future

September 17, 2019

It has been over 100 years since the English poet William Wordsworth bemoaned a world “too much with us,” a place where, in his time, the material culture precluded appreciation of the natural world. Now, we navigate a world that imposes a tyranny of the moment, an inclination to swat at whatever is pressing today and to put off the thinking, planning, and action that look to tomorrow and the imperative of a better future.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I am writing to ask you to take a deep breath, set aside the issues that clamor for your attention today, and to think about the fact that supporting advances in women’s health is one of the most significant ways you can influence the future. Women’s Health Research at Yale offers you that opportunity.

We all know that women’s health correlates with a healthier and better-educated society — in both the developed and the developing worlds — and that a healthier and better-educated society also prospers economically. Those are the necessary and wholly desirable ends achieved by the work that starts with Women’s Health Research at Yale.

Here, the core tenets of WHRY’s mission continue to transform the scientific landscape, so that better science can lead to better lives.

WHRY’s efforts include launching new studies on women’s health and sex-and-gender differences; building the interdisciplinary research partnerships that tap into expertise across various subject areas to address real-world health problems; broadly and precisely communicating our findings to the public and professionals; extending our reach to future generations of researchers and medical professionals; and asserting a national voice in order to improve health policy — and outcomes — for all.

WHRY’s work is ongoing and expanding. Through active leadership and by example, WHRY challenges researchers and research institutions to push the frontiers of science toward the prevention and treatment strategies that address important health differences in women and men. This effort involves a fundamental reorientation in the ways scientists approach their work and take into account the influence of sex and gender on health. The impact of this transformation on science, medicine, and women’s health over the 20 years since WHRY’s inception has been profound.

The mission is both necessary and straightforward; WHRY’s influence and significance are proven. What remains is for each of us to understand that taking the long view about the science of women’s health carries its own sense of urgency, its own mandate for each of us to stand up and become involved now.

Twenty years ago medical research was just beginning to address the health needs of women. Since then, and with your help, the nature, purpose, and focus of medical research and practice have changed dramatically. Today, largely because of Women’s Health Research at Yale — and your commitment — we have reached a critical juncture. We must make these gains pervasive and permanent.

Together we can lead the way to a future in which health research, policy, and practice serve all.

With my thanks for your continuing support,

Barbara M. Riley

Philanthropy Chair

Submitted by Rick Harrison on September 13, 2019