Prepared Testimony to Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, Chicago – October 4, 2009
I. Preface: The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research
Founded in 1979, the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary research organization whose members have made significant contributions to menstruation research. We strive to be the source of guidance, expertise, and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle. Our membership spans discipline, professional responsibilities, and geography to provide woman-centered perspectives on menstrual experiences. The purposes of the Society are to identify research priorities, to recommend research strategies, and to promote interdisciplinary woman-centered research on the menstrual cycle; to provide a formal communication network to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue about menstrual cycle research in the context of women’s health over the life span; to examine the practical, ethical, and policy issues surrounding menstrual cycle research; to generate and exchange information and to promote public discussion of issues related to the menstrual cycle; and to influence public policy for the enhancement of women’s health.
We endorse the four overarching themes identified by NIH in 2009 for addressing research on women’s health: Lifespan, Sex/Gender Determinants, Health Disparities/Differences and Diversity, and Interdisciplinary Research. In SMCR, we are particularly aware of the stigma and silence surrounding menstruation and reproductive health issues. We believe that context, wellness, and prevention must be highlighted when priorities for women’s health are discussed and established in order to develop effective and realistic health strategies.