December 2nd is Doris Howell Day!



“I realized how little women knew about themselves, when you would ask a woman where she got her medical advice for herself and her family, she would say, ‘I ask my husband,’ ” she said. “Well, how does he know about what’s best for you?”

Read the full interview here.

For her 90th, and in recognition for her relentless pursuit of women's health, the City of San Diego honored her by declaring December 2nd as Doris Howell Day. Under the premise that women's health is family health, she has dedicated over 20 years in making sure women are informed on the latest research in women's health to become their own health care advocates.

The organization, set up in conjunction with Soroptimist International of La Jolla over 20 years ago, is focused on 3 key areas.  



The scholarship program was intended to get young graduate and post-graduate researchers excited and into the field of women’s health.  So far, in 20 years, it has proven to work!  According to Dr. Thinzar Helmi Lwin, "The Howell research scholarship fueled my interest in science and cancer biology.  It led me to great mentors who guided me into the medical field during my time at UCSD.  I have since finished medical school in New York and am now a surgical resident training at Mt Sinai Beth Israel in NY. I am very appreciative of the Howell Foundation for giving me the opportunity to get started in biomedical research which helped me to get where I am today!"

We are very active in the community with 5 events per year –our Luncheon and Evening Series programs-- that present the latest trends in women’s health.   We seek to inform and empower women to be their best healthcare advocates when discussing their health.   The feedback has always encouraged us to present only the best.  Just this year, our speakers included researchers of the stature of Dr. Claudia Kawas, from the '90+Study',  Karen Possemato from Illumina on the advances of genetics for personalized medicine, Dr. Dorothy Sears with simple lifestyle changes for improving women’s health, authors Hilary Stokes and Kim Ward on the path to happiness, and Dr. Sonia Sharma, with her research on the genome 10,000 experiments at a time: applying genomic approaches to understand autoimmune disease in women.

Our Community Engagement Initiative seeks to partner with post graduate research and community organizations to promote women’s health research that can impact and improve women’s health throughout the community.  Just last year, Dr. Sandra Soto presented the findings of the Howell Foundation’s first Community Engagement Initiative “For our Health”.  The aim of the study was to pilot test the impact of a physical activity intervention on the physical activity practices of pregnant Latinas.  Partnering with WIC, a social support approach was utilized to develop an intervention that targeted individual, social, and cultural influences on physical activity in pregnant Latino Women.  The continuation of this study is now in NIH’s hands for further funding. 

As to what Dr. Howell Feels on the work the Foundation does to improve women's health?

“Take the research that is being done, translate it, and put it into practical use. It’s not who you are or where you’ve been. It’s where you are going that counts .Please take it seriously because we have no way to go but up, no way to go but success, no way to go but needed.  It is filling that need that I hope our Foundation will constantly try to do as its mission; and so far I believe we’ve succeeded.”

Here are some suggestions on how you can continue to help beyond #givingTuesday:

Become a Friend of Howell.  Your small donation or full scholarship award  can help us achieve BIG things; among them, helping young scholars achieve their education goals and dreams!
Attend our events.  Spreading the word with family and friends  or participating with sponsorships  allows us to catch up while enjoying wonderful food and perhaps a great glass of wine.
Donate on behalf of your organization.   Women –and men-- in your company or foundation will have the opportunity to learn more about the women in their lives.   If you’d prefer, we can visit your location and talk about the latest in women’s health research through our speakership services.
Consider us in your planned giving efforts.   Celebrate the life of  the women who mean the most to ensure the legacy of  the women and men in your life.

So as to the ‘why’ we should care about women’s health:   Women’s health is family health:  Healthy women, happy family. Personalized medicine needs to consider gender and sex, which ultimately starts with research at its most basic level: the cellular level.  By understanding the physiological, psychological and social differences between men and women:

  • Researchers can keep discovering new cures for disease based on the differences between men and women.
  • Doctors can establish the necessary guidelines to treat illness specific to gender and sex –vs. a ‘one size fits all’ approach. 
  • The pharmaceutical industry can develop targeted medications that effectively treat and cure illness in a specific sex-specific manner.
  • Men and women can be informed and become advocates for their own health, and most importantly, their family’s health.   

As the year comes to an end, consider us in your giving efforts.   Your contributions are tax deductible, and the women in your life who have unfortunately been touched by illness will certainly appreciate it!  

Donate towards the gift of health.

Visit www.howellfoundation.org to learn about the many ways you can give! 


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The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.
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