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  September 10, 2001

Health Center Names Five Scholars
to Student Women's Health Issues

The Health Center has named five scholars to study separate medical issues affecting women, as part of a national initiative to improve health care for women and the quality of research in the field.

The scholars are the first chosen to receive support from a five-year, $2.5 million grant awarded to the Health Center by the National Institutes of Health as part of a major initiative to improve women's health and increase the number of researchers in the field. The Health Center is one of 11 academic institutions nationwide to receive funding for the women's health program.

The scholars will study HIV risk for pregnant women, health care for female prisoners with AIDs, differences in recovery by men and women after heart attacks, development of a new fluoride-lik e substance to treat osteoporosis, and the relationship between inflammatory diseases and osteoporosis.

"We are delighted to have NIH support for these scholars and their work," says Susan Reisine, the principal investigator for the grant. "Not only will we promote understanding about health issues unique to women, but we are also helping train junior faculty as scientists and medical investigators, and that's crucial to future progress in the field."

Reisine is a medical sociologist and director of research for the School of Dental Medicine.

Three of the scholars are from the Health Center and two are from the University's main campus in Storrs. Each will be paired with a senior Health Center investigator for guidance and support.

The scholars and their projects are:

Catherine Lewis, assistant professor of psychiatry. Her project will study the use of health care services by female inmates with addictions, in order to improve treatments.

Francisco Sylvester, assistant professor of pediatrics. His work will look at the mechanism of bone loss in Crohn's disease, to determine why bone loss in inflammatory diseases seems to be more severe in women than men.

Yu-Hsiung Wang, assistant professor of pediatric dentistry. His work will study fluoride and ways to develop a new agent that has fluoride's beneficial effect on osteoporosis without its disadvantages.

Kristin Kelly, assistant professor of political science. Her work will explore women's understanding and handling of HIV risk during pregnancy, to develop ways to reduce transmission of the disease from infected mothers to their babies.

Crystal Park, assistant professor of psychology. Her work will study differences in ways women and men react and cope after a heart attack and whether gender differences influence function and well being.

Their work will be supported for two years. Other scholars and other research projects will be named throughout the five-year project.

For more information about the program, contact Very Dynder, program coordinator, by email or at (860) 679-8137.

Kristina Goodnough

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