Scholarly Concentration: Women's Health & Sex Differences

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Marcia Stefanick, PhD
Professor of Medicine (SPRC) and, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Co-Founder, Stanford Women & Sex Differences in Medicine (WSDM) Center            WSDM website:

Lynn Westphal, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Co-Founder, Stanford WSDM Center

Paula Hillard, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Administrative Coordinator
Sonoo Thadaney
Managing Director, Stanford WSDM Center

Administrative Contact
Terri Oppelt (“TO”) Preising
Assistant Director, Operations, Stanford WSDM Center

Objectives and Goals

The Women’s Health and Sex Differences (WHSD) Application area addresses a wide scope of sex/gender-based biology and medical topics, with a focus on health issues that are unique to, or more prevalent or different, in women compared to men. Research on differences due to sex (biology) and/or gender (sociocultural influences), and interactions of sex and gender on biology and health outcomes, is encouraged within each foundation and across all applications.

WHSD students receive training in a model that integrates biomedical and social science, by way of interdisciplinary, collaborative experiences driven from basic, translational, clinical, and population research. This approach transcends the boundaries of medical specialties, in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of health for all women (and men) from conception to old age, with particular interest in reproductive stage transitions, e.g. puberty, pregnancy/postpartum, and menopause.



Students must complete 12 total Scholarly Concentration coursework units. Students undertaking both a Foundation Area and an Application Area must complete six units in each.

WHSD students select coursework from the following:

·   MED 240: Sex and Gender in Human Physiology and Disease (2-3 units; Win)

·   OBGYN 256: Current Topics and Controversies in Women's Health (2-3 units; Spr)

·   FAMMED 245: Women and Health Care (McGann Lecture Series) (1 unit; Aut)

·   SOMGEN 237: Health & Medical Impact of Sexual Assault Through the Life Course (1-3 units; Aut)

·   SOMGEN 230: Sexual Function and Diversity in Medical Disciplines (1-2 units; Aut)

·   SOMGEN 206: Global Medical Issues Affecting Women (1 unit; not offered AY17)

·   SOMGEN 257 Challenging Sex and Gender Dichotomies in Medicine (1 unit; Spr)

·   OBGYN/PEDS 282: Pregnancy, Birth and Infancy (3 units; Spr)

·   INDE 215:  Queer Medicine (1 unit; Spr)

·   INDE 298: Women's Health Independent Project (1 unit)

Other Medical School courses may qualify with approval of Course Directors, who are also developing new WHSD courses which may be offered as early as Spring 2017.  


The Stanford Women and Sex Differences in Medicine (WSDM) Center mission: advancing human health across the lifespan through research and education in women’s health, biology of sex differences, and gender medicine.     See: WSDM website:

Directed by WHSD application co-director, Stefanick, the Stanford WSDM Center serves as the administrative home of the medical school’s WHSD application.

Launched in January 2013, the Stanford WSDM Center has an extensive network of School of Medicine (SoM) and Stanford University faculty partners, including an Advisory Board of ~25 faculty leaders who conduct diverse WSDM-related basic, clinical, and population health research (

Annual WSDM symposia include: Basic &Translational Research on Sex Differences in specified disciplines (e.g. Cardiovascular Health and Disease, 2016); the Women’s Health Forum track of Health Matters Community Health Day 2016; Fall WSDM Seed Grant Workshops and symposia featuring pioneers in Sex and Gender research, education and/or clinical practice.

Recent WH(SD) Projects (Students Matriculated 2007-present)

*WHSD projects can be built on any of the current foundations






Bahm, Sarah

Magnus, David



Current trends in Posthumous Sperm Procurement Protocols

Bell, Katherine

Zaroff, Larry



Undiagnosed: a personal memoir on living with a mystery illness

Chu, Jacqueline

Levy, Ronald

Medicine (Oncology)


Does tumor vaccination delay need for conventional therapy for follicular lymphoma?

Eisenhut, Robin

Stafford, Randall

Medicine (SPRC)


Systematic assessment of adverse events associated with off-label use of human recombinant factor VIIa

Goldner, Joshua

Tremmel, Jennifer

Medicine- (Cardiovascular)


The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on angina symptoms, vascular function, and heart rate variability in women with non-obstructive coronary artery disease

Lewis, Jessica

El-Sayed, Yassar



Continuous glucose monitoring of pregnant women receiving betamethasone therapy

McClellan, Mary

Katzenstein, David

(ID & GM)


Sexually-transmitted infection symptoms, sexual risk behavior and condom use among young adults in Zimbabwe

Ransohoff, Katherine

Tang, Jean (Stefanick, M.)

Dermatology (Med-SPRC)


Building a gene-environment model of vitamin D status and its risk with colon and breast cancer risk in the Women's Health Initiative

Roosen-Runge, Megan

Mangus, David



Physician communication, content and style in the pediatric intensive care setting

Schoen, Lucy

Westphal, Lynn
(Stefanick, M.)



Reproductive Factors and Postmenopausal Cognition as assessed by Modified Mini-Mental Status (WHI project)

Smith, Kierann

Fredericson, Michael

Orthopedic Surgery


Identifying modifiable risk factors for injury in distance runners



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Scholarly Concentrations & the MD Program

The Scholarly Concentration (SC) program is a required, structured program of study in the Medical Student Curriculum that promotes in-depth learning and scholarship. The SC's provide medical students with faculty-mentored scholarly experiences in areas of individual interest combined with structured coursework to support this scholarship.