Uncovering Why Diseases Affect Women Differently

Scientists predominantly use male cells and animals when investigating diseases (even those prevalent in women), sometimes resulting in the development of drugs with serious side effects in women.

To change this, and help investigators uncover why diseases affect women differently than men, in 2009, the Women’s Health Research Institute at Northwestern University developed the Illinois Women’s Health Registry (WHRI), linking women to studies throughout the state. A recent upgrade makes the registry mobile- and tablet-friendly, allowing users to easily fill out an annual survey about their health in about 30 minutes.

“Information will now be available to investigators at no cost so they can do major epidemiological and demographic studies of women,” said Marla Mendelson, MD, ’87 GME, co-director of the WHRI and associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and of Pediatrics.

The WHRI aims to educate stakeholders about the importance of sex inclusion in all biomedical sciences, cultivate research that explores sex differences, advocate for policies that ensure sex inclusion, mentor women in the biomedical sciences, and promote clinical services that are sex and gender sensitive.

Learn more about the Women’s Health Research Institute.