Until the early 1990s women, particularly those of "childbearing potential" were excluded from clinical trials research. Prior to this time, all medications, excepting oral contraceptives, being reviewed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had been studied in largely male populations. However, these medications were being marketed to both men and women as if there could or would be no difference with respect to efficacy or metabolism of the drug, or side effects. Over the past 17 years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to include women of all ages in clinical research and to conduct studies designed to address potential sex and/or gender differences in the etiology and treatment of all diseases. So much has the environment changed since the early 90's that all research grant applications reviewed by the National Institutes of Health must stipulate how they plan to enroll women, children and minorities or provide a compelling reason for their exclusion from the study.
To this end, the Research Division of the Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness aims to determine how sex and gender impact behavioral health. Moreover, our research focuses on issues specific to women such as premenstrual syndrome, perinatal depression and anxiety, and menopause related mood and cognitive complaints. The Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness encourages all women to participate in clinical research as a way to insure that women’s health issues are at the forefront of research advances. Without women's participation in research, new knowledge regarding the cause and treatment of illnesses in women will be greatly curtailed. You can support women health research by:
- participating in a research study
- referring a friend to a study
- educating others regarding the importance of women’s health research
- becoming a Patron of Research by making a financial contribution to the study/program of your choice.
The Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness offers opportunities to participate in research studies focusing on:
- hormone effects on the brain during pregnancy,
- postpartum/antepartum depression and anxiety,
- pregnancy loss and complications,
- severe premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
- cigarette smoking and its effects on mood, and
- hormone effects on memory and mood during the menopause.
Click on a link below to learn more about the following studies:
Are you interested in learning more about what it means to be a research volunteer? Click here to be brought to the University of Pennsylvania's Office of Human Research Volunteers page and see how you can make a difference as a research volunteer today.