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The VCU Institute for Women's Health sponsored the Fifth Annual Women's Health Research Day on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.

More than 200 faculty, students, and staff attended the event. Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, Executive Director of the Institute for Women’s Health and Dr. Jerome Strauss, MD, PhD, Dean of the VCU School of Medicine, gave introductory remarks. The Keynote Address was presented by Dr. Vivian Pinn, Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. Dr Pinn’s talk was entitled “Moving Into the Future: New Dimensions and Strategies for Women's Health Research for the NIH”.

Pinn discussed the significant strides that have been made in the field of women’s health through the National Institutes of Health research initiatives and the importance for investigators to focus on interdisciplinary research.

The event included 40 poster presentations by faculty and students, representing approximately 30 departments from both VCU campuses and the community.  The posters covered a wide range of women’s health topics including pregnancy, cancer, diabetes, infant mortality, hormone therapy and substance use disorders.

Awards were presented by Drs. Diane Wilson and Viktor Bovbjerg for the Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award and best posters in several categories.  In addition, the recipients of the IWH Community-Based Participatory Research Seed Grants were announced by Dr. Judy Bradford. 

Women’s Health Research Day Chairs were Robert Downs, MD, Professor of Medicine and Saba Masho, MD, MPH, DrPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health.

For more information, contact Janett Forte: @ 804-827-1200.

Women's Health Research Agenda 2009

To view complete list of poster abstracts 2009

Fact Sheet on the Office of Research on Women’s Health

FY 2009 NIH Research Priorities for Women’s Health

NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health  |

For more information:
Contact Janett Forte at 827-1200 or

Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award

The 5th Annual VCU Women’s Health Research Day included a display of 40 research posters by VCU faculty and students, covering a wide range of women’s health topics including pregnancy risk factors, diabetes, infant mortality, hormone replacement therapy and substance abuse disorders.

Many of the posters were entered in a competition for the Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award, created in memory of Elizabeth Fries, Ph.D., a VCU psychology professor who served as co-director of cancer control at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and Director of Research for the Institute for Women’s Health. Fries died in 2005. The award is given to a young researcher (graduate student, fellow, post-doc, or assistant professor) who shows promise for improving women’s health. Fries’ husband, Viktor Bovbjerg, Ph.D., presented the award.  Abstracts were divided by topic area Clinical - Basic Science – Behavioral, with each category having a top award. 

This year’s winning poster was presented by Kai Cheang, Pharm. D., an assistant professor in the VCU School of Pharmacy, who studied the effect of oral contraceptives on metabolic risk factors in obese versus lean women, Poster # 8

Title: Effect of a Combined Oral Contraceptive on Metabolic Risk Factors in Obese vs. Lean Women

Authors: Kai Cheang, Paulina A. Essah, Edmond P. Wickham III, Susmeeta T. Sharma, and John E. Nestler.

Cheang received a certificate as well as a generous stipend donated by Liz Fries' husband, Dr. Viktor Bovbjerg, to cover the registration and travel costs for presentation of her work at a scientific conference.


The top award in the Behavioral category went to Brandi Jancaitis MPH ,a Prevention Research Specialist, Substance Abuse Division, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, Poster # 23

Title: Early Treatment Engagement and Retention Among Methadone and Non-Methadone Maintained Pregnant Women

Authors: Brandi Jancaitis, James May, Dace Svikis, and Saba Masho.


The top award in the Basic Science category went to Nikita Mishra, PhD., graduate student in VCU Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Poster # 31

Title: Neutrophils Enhance Vascular Reactivity to Angiotensin II via a RhoA Kinase Pathway

Authors: Nikita Mishra and Scott W. Walsh.


Institute for Women’s Health announced the recipients of our second seed grant program, fostering excellence in community - based participatory research in women’s health.  The community-based research awards, totaling nearly $50,000, will allow researchers and community organizations to study and conduct projects addressing community needs such as understanding risks of contracting sexually transmitted disease and the impact of guidelines for HPV vaccination, analysis of exercise and nutrition in women and men with substance use disorders, and substance abuse treatment and overall healthy living for women and girls.

These projects play a critical role in the Institute’s goal of community engagement. We look forward to fostering new partnerships that promote a participatory, cooperative, and co-learning process for VCU researchers and our community partners.

VCU Institute for Women’s Health Awards nearly $50,000 in Community-Based Research Grants to Improve Health of Women and Girls

Women's Health 2009 Community Based Awards List


Virginia Commonwealth University | Institute for Women's Health
Sanger Hall, 1st Floor
1101 E. Marshall St.
PO Box 980319
Richmond, VA 23298-0319
Phone: 804.827.1200
last updated: January 27, 2014