Showing posts from 2015

Dedicated women coming together to work towards women’s health.

Soroptimist International of La Jolla (SILJ) is an organization that is known for acting upon community needs. The concern of the group about women’s health led them to take action, especially upon the common practice of not including female subjects in the clinical trials taking place at the time and the outcome for women when facing illness.  Their mission became VERY clear:  get women’s health on the radar.

The premise under which the Foundation was created in 1995 still remains:  to get students excited about a career in research.  By awarding grants to students who were involved with scientific mentors, there was a guarantee that women’s health issues would be addressed at the most basic level:  research.

Soroptimist International of La Jolla (SILJ) has been supporting the  scholarship program EVERY year for the past 20 years.  “We are very proud of the men and women who have participated; very proud of our group’s involvement in helping the Doris Howell Foundation into making …

“It’s not who you are or where you’ve been. It’s where you are going that counts“.

Dr. Howell couldn’t have said it better.  Addressing the audience at the Foundation’s 20th anniversary event, she told us the story about the challenges she faced when studying at McGill University; known for its extensive focus on research.  She says humbly that the technicalities of research may have been difficult at times but yet never missed a lecture.  And that is how she learned that information is the key for women's health advocacy.  

“Take the research that is being done, translate it, and put it into practical use.  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.”

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, adv…

Welcoming our newest Board Members

"I am passionate about empowering women in their paths towards healthy living and doing so, through valid and credible research and resources." 
Abigail D’Agostino is a medical professional with over 13 years of wide ranging experience in the healthcare industry and has demonstrated proven success with increasing levels of professional responsibility. Ms. D’Agostino obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse license and Public Health Nursing certificate in 2002 and sought medical-surgical and critical care clinical experience for several years where she won an award for clinical excellence and obtained her critical care certification. 
Ms. D’Agostino further advanced her education and earned her Master’s in Business Administration and then became certified in Plant-Based Nutrition. Ms. D’Agostino is the Director of Patient Care Services for LightBridge Hospice & Palliative Care and is an Associate Consultant with Weatherbee Resources, Inc. She is a vol…

How much exercise do Latina women get during pregnancy? Study finds cultural aspects play a significant role.

It was at the end of 2012 when the Howell Foundation awarded its first Community Engagement Award, "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. Considering the important influence of family and friends in Latino culture, a social support approach was utilized to develop an intervention that targeted individual, social, and cultural influences on physical activity. 
Since the Howell Foundation Community Engagement Initiative was launched in 2012, a sub-committee led by Camille Nebeker (Foundation Board Member and member of the UC San Diego Family and Preventive Medicine faculty) has developed and tested procedures for the CEI grant application and review process.  The application is modeled after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mechanism to initiate collection of preliminary data necessary for most large grant proposals. Likewise, the application review proc…

Twenty Years of Accomplishments, Twenty Years of Appreciation. Ending our 20th anniversary year with a bang!

Our 20th anniversary celebration truly represented what the Howell Foundation stands for:  a sense of community, the importance of women's health research, empowering women with informational events, and introducing young minds to science with our scholarship program.

Today, after 20 years, the inspiration brought about by Dr. Howell has allowed the Foundation to award  over 200 scholarships to aspiring researchers and doctors,  to hold over 80 educational events and to fund 3 grants addressing the health of underserved and/or "at risk" women in our community.

The celebration was marked with testimonials from our scholars, all of whom are on their way to success.  Our first CEI program is starting to create an impact on Latino women in our community.  The support of our sister organization, Soroptimist International of La Jolla, was felt with donations towards our 2016 programs and fabulous attendance at our luncheon.  Dr. Stanley Maloy from one of our dear partners, S…

Touching young scientific minds: Researcher turned teacher among the first to receive the Howell Scholarship.

It is often said that an individual without education is like a building without a foundation.  One of our first scholar's career path allows her to inspire in others the passion of scientific studies.  Education: without a doubt, the gift that keeps on giving!

From Dr. Susan Bailey: "I welcome the opportunity to share my experiences since receiving the scholarship back in 1995!

After earning my PhD in Biomedical Sciences at UCSD, I completed two postdoctoral fellowships.  In the first, I continued work on the topic of my graduate work in Pamela Mellon's laboratory- regulation of pituitary development and gene expression.  In the second, I moved to the Neurobehavioral Genetics group at the Genomics Institute of Novartis, where my research focused on identifying genes associated with anxiety and depression-related disorders.  I moved with the group to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where I held a position as Research Assistant Professor.

I began teaching…

Why a universal health initiative is needed: shifting the current research paradigm to stop illness before it gets to you.

We were very fortunate to have Dr. Stanley Maloy from SDSU speak at the Foundation’s 20th year anniversary celebration last November.  The topic: one world, one health.

As recently as 2011, there was an E. coli outbreak in Germany that very rapidly moved through Europe to Canada.  The outbreak resulted in a few cases at the beginning of May, to over 200 cases by the end of the month.

Aside from the typical, critical symptoms – among them diarrhea and loss of blood-- this particular strain of E.coli was creating a secondary problem. For unknown reasons a substantial number of patients were showing complications from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), creating a series of problems related to kidney failure.   So the health consequences typically known to affect children predominantly had now changed such that 25% of patients were middle aged women –a variation on the patient profile of victims of E.coli.

On May 20th of  that year, the first case was reported to the corresponding health…

Health is a gift. Don't take it for granted. What are you doing TODAY to keep the women you love healthy?

More often than not, women’s health IS  family health.  By donating towards the Howell Foundation’s community research and scholarship programs you help ensure that the illness in the lives of the women you love are diagnosed and treated accordingly.  Women’s health starts with research and continues with education.  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 to learn about the many ways you can give! 

### 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 foru…

Giving Tuesday is just a week away. Let's make the world a better place!

Our voice has an influence.  Let's use it!  The success of  the campaign stems from the fact that in just 3 short years, it has become part of the end-of-year ritual:  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday.  It somewhat let's us know that the Holiday Season is here!  So no matter what our cause is, all of us have a philanthropic side. Motivate those around to donate and make the world a better place!
The  Story Behind Giving Tuesday  #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York's 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, they launched a global digital movement that has engaged over 30,000 organizations worldwide.

The Facts and the Stats For those of you relatively new to the concept of Giving Tuesday, here are some facts about how big the phenomenon has gotten:

Although the statistics are very encouraging, surprisingly --and with the immediacy of social media-- not everyone knows abo…

Coming Full Circle in Women's Health Research

It is always said that if you face a challenge with a smile, success becomes even sweeter.  Gladys Kohn can tell you about both.  Every time you see Gladys you see her with a smile, which is always refreshing!

A history major turned gift shop owner and travel agent, she moved to San Diego in 1986.  Her husband Bert had a great job offer and, like many of us, they fell in love with San Diego.  Eventually, they started a printing business and Gladys was invited to join Soroptimist International of La Jolla which she saw as an opportunity to make new friends and learn about community service.  She become part of the organization’s Health Committee and has been a member of the club for 25 years.  It was there she met Dr. Howell, also a member of the Health Committee.

She can also tell you how the Doris A. Howell Foundation got started. “Back then, the notion of women’s health research was rarely heard of,” she recalls.  The concern of the group about women’s health led them to take actio…

Acting on women's health: working to provide resources to young breast cancer survivors

Deepika Suresh, 2015 UCSD Howell Scholar, presented her work at the Howell Foundation's 20th anniversary luncheon.  She, along with H. Irene Su MD MSCE and Sally Dominick PhD MPH, are working on developing an education intervention on genetic risk assessment in young breast cancer survivors (YBCS).  "My objective is to develop content about genetic risk assessment in YBCS for a web-based survivorship care plan that my lab is in the process of creating", Suresh comments.

"The three main steps in developing this content include going through the professional society guidelines to see what they recommend about these YBCS undergoing genetic risk assessment, completing a systematic review, and conducting interviews with genetic counselors. Ultimately, I wanted to find out what the main barriers are that prevent young breast cancer survivors from undergoing genetic risk assessment and how to overcome these."

An update of her work below.  Thank you Deepika for your w…

The Lighter Side of Gender and Hormones.

Perceptions about hormones, remotes and phones.
Understanding the differences between men and women has everything to do with the hormones produced in our bodies, and nothing to do with stereotype differences; despite the endless gender jokes we are subjected to.  In other words, there IS a reason why we act like we do.

In today’s world, the word 'estrogen' is automatically linked to women and mood swings; in addition to being the perceived culprit of depression and anxiety.  Women's hormonal changes during their cycles were the reason why women were not included in clinical trials until 1993.

Men, on the other hand, are directly associated with the word 'testosterone'. Drive, competitiveness, gender expectations and what seems to be a ‘simple solution’ to pretty much every problem appears to be testosterone-based.

So the next time we are facing ‘difficulties’ with our significant other, remember that there IS a reason why we act like we do: hormones.  Below the…

Power-posing and hormones: How standing can affect our confidence.

For those of us who attended the Howell Evening Series Hormones and Happiness you might remember Dr. Banka mentioning Dr. Cuddy and her study about hormones and power, and how power and falling in love are intrinsically related.

Form Ted Talks, "Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success".

You asked, we listened.  Amy Cuddy on hormones and power.  Enjoy!

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation: 
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 st…

In Support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month: The Facts to Know!

About the Doris A. Howell Foundation: 
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 students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey 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 improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community. 


Summary & Design prepared by Carolyn Northrup with information from the following sources:
American Lung Association
American Cancer Society

Happy 20th! And Thank you!