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Women's Health Research Institute of Amarillo

Women's Health Research in the United States

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Over the past ten years, the medical community has recognized that in order to provide optimal medical care to women across the country, better information about women's health issues is mandatory. Knowledge gaps about women's health are particularly striking for those women at highest risk for poor-health, the elderly, minority women, and those living in poverty. The United States has recognized the country's poor record in women's health research and has begun several national initiatives. An Office of Women's Health has been created at the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control. There is now an Office of Women's Health within the Office of Health and Human Services. Advances in research on issues such as breast cancer, medical aspects of pregnancy, and osteoporosis are extremely important. Equally important is research into the major causes of death among women with heart disease, stroke, lung, and colon cancer. These diseases may present differently in women and may require special approaches to diagnosis and therapy.

Several universities around the country have initiated Women's Health Research Centers. The Women's Health Research Institute (WHRI) of Amarillo is one such center. The WHRI of Amarillo was designed to be a research institute on a national scale. By pooling resources and expertise among the many organizations in Amarillo, a potential for national prominence and excellence in research, teaching, and clinical services for women's health is within the grasp of our community.

Women's Health Research Institute of Amarillo

The Women's Health Research Institute of Amarillo is a community-wide effort to improve women's health through research and education. The WHRI is dedicated to filling the gaps in knowledge that are necessary to provide for optimal health care. The WHRI has provided over 23 seed grants to a wide range of investigators. Most of the grants are collaborative efforts between the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy, although the Harrington Cancer Center, Amarillo Veterans Administration Healthcare Systems, Amarillo College, and West Texas A&M University have also provided faculty and student researchers. Northwest Texas Healthcare System has been the primary supporter of the program providing $100,000 of funds each year. Grants are reviewed by an Executive Council representing all participating institutions. In addition to evidence of collaboration among partners in the WHRI, the following areas are considered to be priority by the Executive Council and Board of Trustees.

  • Breast cancer care
  • Osteoporosis
  • Teenage pregnancy in the Panhandle
  • Student competency in women's health
  • Interviewing strategies and health education in domestic violence
  • Depression in women
  • Health maintenance and disease prevention in the elderly
  • Menopause and hormone replacement
  • Cardiovascular disease in women
  • Health care disparities in women

The seed grant program has resulted in many presentations, abstracts, and published papers. Three investigators have received NIH funding as a result of the grant program. The seed grant program has also helped to establish a Center of Excellence in Osteoporosis, which resulted in a series of papers, presentations, and an on-going study on hip fractures in women.

Investigators who have received WHRI funding, and other faculty, have accepted high school and college students into their laboratories as part of a summer program. For the past three summers, and again this year, talented students become an integral part of a clinical and basic science team that is studying some aspects of women's health. At the end of the summer, all students present their research data or describe their experiences with parents, faculty, and media in attendance. Several students have gone on to present abstracts at national meetings.

Educational activities have included the sponsoring of visiting professors and the establishment of an annual women's health symposium for the community. In 2003, Dr. Nannette Wenger, one of the leading authorities on cardiovascular disease in women and Chief of Cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, spoke to both faculty and a community audience on the special aspects of heart disease in women.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Women's Health Research Institute sponsored a successful, all day symposium for women, which covered varied aspects of health and disease. Approximately three hundred women attended the sessions, which was presented by both visiting professors and Texas Tech faculty. Women chose breakout sessions such as "Women and Heart Disease," "The Sexual Woman," "Managing Anxiety, Depression and Stress" and "Tai Chi' as Exercise and Self Defense." Screening booths for blood pressure, bone density, cholesterol, and mammography were also available to all participants. Over the past four years, over $100,000 has been raised for women's health research by the symposium.

Grant Awardees

  1. Risk of Hip Fracture Among Geriatric Women: Rural vs. Urban Patterns, Principal Investigator: Marjorie Jenkins, M.D.
  2. Molecular Targets to Inhibit Osteoporosis, Principal Investigator: Suzanne Lindsey, Ph.D.
  3. Estrogen Fatty Acyl Combined with Proposed Role eLCFAoAs, Principal Investigators: Margaret Weis, Ph.D. & Marjorie Jenkins, M.D.
  4. Dual Strategy to Combat Toxicity and Improve Drug Efficacy in Breast Cancer Therapy, Principal Investigator: Kalkunte Srivenugopal, Ph.D.
  5. Health Related Quality of Life in Working Women, Principal Investigator: James E. Rohrer, Ph.D.
  6. Investigation of the Role of Chondroitin Sulfate in Osteoarthritis: LC-MS Method Development, Principal Investigator: Ronda Akins, Pharm.D.
  7. Comparative Analysis of Immunodulatory Componets in Colostrum and Milk of Mothers Delivering Pre- and Full-term Infants, Principal Investigator: Mubariz Naqvi, M.D.
  8. Immune Cell Specific Killing of Breast Cancer Cells, Principal Investigator: Stephen E. Wright, M.D.
  9. AAV-DC Efficient Activation of Specific T Cells in Breast Cancer, Principal Investigator: Maurizio Chiriva Internati, Ph.D.
  10. Amarillo Area Health Professions Student Research Consortium, Principal Investigator: Dennis B. Dove, M.D.
  11. Modulation of P-glycoprotein Multi-drug Resistance Phenotype by Insulin and Estrogen Growth Factor Manipulation in Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines, Principal Investigator: Mark Arredondo, M.D.
  12. Osteoporosis Screening and Education in Communicating Pharmacies Using a Team Approach: A Pilot Study, Principal Investigator: Eric MacLaughlin, Pharm.D.
  13. Regulation by Long Chain Fatty Acyl CoA Synthetase in Human Coronary Endothelial Cells, Principal Investigator: Margaret T. Weis, Ph.D.
  14. A Study of Bone Density in Menopausal Women Receiving Chemotherapy, Principal Investigator: William Robinson III, M.D.

The Women's Health Research Institute has challenged the entire medical community to submit proposals that would contribute to a better understanding of women's health. Particularly valuable are proposals that would have more than one institution working together. Hence, researchers in the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Amarillo College, West Texas A&M, Harrington Cancer Center, and from community organizations will be looking among each other for new collaborators and new ideas.

In 2001, The Women's Health Research Institute was designated a Center of Excellence by TTUHSC. This designation provides additional funding for a multi-campus osteoporosis research program.

Amarillo will contribute to a healthier future for women everywhere.

2006 - 2007 RFP Applications

Large Grant
Small Grant
RFP Guidelines

Women's Health Fellowship Program

In continuing our commitment to women's health initiatives, the WHRI Executive Council agreed to sponsor a Women's Health Fellowship Program. Our Women's Health Fellowship Program will attract individuals who are interested in obtaining additional training specifically related to women's health issues and gender differences in disease. The fellow will also participate in chosen research projects. This is but another way to help promote and support the health and well-being of women. The first Women's Health Fellowship began training in July 2005.

Application for Women's Health Fellowship 2006-2007
Fellowship memo & flyer

Steven Lee Berk, M.D. Regional Dean and Mirick-Myers Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine

Board of Trustees
Steven L. Berk, M.D. Mr Frank Lopez Arthur Nelson, Ph.D.
Marjorie Jenkins, M.D.   Margaret Weis, Ph.D.

Co-Directors of the WHRI

Marjorie Jenkins, M.D. Co-Director
Assistant Professor,
Dept. of Internal Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology
Women's Health Fellowship Program Director
TTUHSC School of Medicine

Margaret Weis, Ph.D. Co-Director
Associate Professor,
Pharmaceutical Sciences Department
TTUHSC School of Pharmacy

Women's Health Research Institute Executive Council 2005
Steven Berk, M.D.
Marjorie Jenkins, M.D.
Margaret Weis, Ph.D.
Paula Antognoli, Ph.D.
Mr. Jeff Doiron
Dennis Dove, M.D.
Nathan Goldstein, M.D.
Eric MacLaughlin, Pharm.D.
Mike Myers, Ph.D.
Mubariz Naqvi, M.D.
Arthur Nelson, Ph.D.
Cynthia Raehl, Ph.D.
William Robinson, M.D.
Mr. Frank Lopez
Mrs. Mary Schooler (Community Advisor)
Lois Stickley, Ph.D.
James Stoll, Ph.D.
Cathy Van Hook, M.D.
Stephen Wright, M.D.

Faculty NIH Grant Recipients
Suzanne J. Lindsey, Ph.D., received funding for $222,000 on her grant entitled "Scatter factor Induced Carcinoma Cell Migration."

James Stoll, Ph.D., received funding for $74,000 on his grant entitled, "Estrogen and High Affinity Choline Transport."

Margaret Weis, Ph.D., received funding for $74,000, on her grant entitled, "Estrogen, fatty acyl CoA & NOS Function in Hypertension"

WHRI Summer Student Research Internship Program


WHRI Summer Interns 2004

The Sub-Committee on Student Research of the WHRI has been given the charge of "assuring the involvement of students, at all levels, from all disciplines, and from all participating educational members of the Institute, in research activities which address issues pertaining to women's health in the Amarillo area and in the Panhandle of Texas.

The Summer Student Research Internship Program was established to provided the opportunity for selected area high school and college students to join researchers at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center at Amarillo each summer and participate in research projects which have received funding through the WHRI. Interest in the program as evidenced by applications received, continues to increase over the three years to date in which the program has been offered. A total of 28 students have completed the program in this time.

The students spend eight weeks over the summer matched with a faculty researcher who is actively engaged in either bench or clinical research activities on a topic funded through the WHRI and representative of a defined interest area of the Institute. These students have learned laboratory techniques, data acquisition, research methods and application of the scientific method to seeking solution to vexing research questions. Four students to date have been included in publications which recognize their contributions to the project, and two have participated in the presentation of their topic at regional scientific meetings. At the conclusion of the program each summer, each student has had the opportunity to present their work in a Graduate Student Seminar format which formally recognizes their contribution to the project. The high school students who have graduated from the program have all gone on to matriculate in college with a major in science.

Dennis B. Dove, M.D., Chair Department of Surgery, School of Medicine

Amarillo's 2nd Annual Hablando de la Salud de la Mujer Symposium was held September 23, 2006 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

5 am-session b-solis
berk-nunez chef-lala entertainment
lopez salazar-mrj tech-booth

For more information about the Women's Health Research Institute, please contact:

Claudette Dove, RN, BHSA
1400 Wallace Boulevard
Amarillo, Texas 79106
(806) 356-4617
FAX (806) 356-4682