Women’s Health is Everyone’s Right


[00:00:00] Stephen Calabria: From the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, this is Road to Resilience, a podcast about facing adversity. I'm Stephen Calabria. Today on the show we welcome Michal Elovitz, MD, the Dean of Women's Health Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Elovitz is also the Director of the Women's Biomedical Research Institute, which performs state of the art research across womens' entire lifespan in such areas as obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive science, population health science and policy, and cardiology, among others.

[00:00:34] A leader in her field, Dr. Elovitz is outspoken on the need for greater research into areas of women's health, and is an advocate for greater equity for women physicians, nurses, and patients. We're pleased to have Dr. Elovitz on the show.

[00:00:49] Dr. Michal Elovitz, welcome to Road to Resilience.

[00:00:53] Michal Elovitz: Thank you for having me.

[00:00:54] Stephen Calabria: We hear so much about women's health. What is women's health?

[00:00:58] Michal Elovitz: It's amusing to be asked that question when women make up for 50 percent of the population, right? So I don't think anyone would ask you what men's health is, right?

[00:01:06] Stephen Calabria: Right.

[00:01:06] Michal Elovitz: From prostate candor to erectile dysfunction to cardiovascular disease, we talk about men's health all day long. We do not talk about women's health all day long. So Thank you. Women's health is exactly what it says.

[00:01:17] It's how women live, function, and thrive in society from a health care perspective. And a lot of that health care is dictated by our ability to understand what drives health and disease. So women's health science or the biology behind women's health. And that's really where there's just a black hole. There is a complete lack of knowledge.

[00:01:40] Stephen Calabria: Why did you choose this as your field of study? Were there certain circumstances that led to it? Or was it always kind of an interest?

[00:01:47] Michal Elovitz: I told myself I would be a doctor at age 12. Contrary to belief, not because I thought I'd be a good doctor. I thought it'd be a way to be independent as a female.

[00:01:57] Which plays into all of the gender health inequity, right? The idea that I saw a mother who could not function without her partner, despite not wanting to be with him. So I wanted to be financially independent. That's how I decided to be a doctor. I stayed being a doctor and chose obstetrics and gynecology because there was something so amazing about being able to give care to women, especially, at the time, pregnant women.

[00:02:21] And so I started my career really caring for women across their lifespan and fell in love with, not just being able to deliver great care, but then became very interested in how to improve that care.

[00:02:34] Stephen Calabria: What are some of the most serious health complications that affect women specifically?

[00:02:39] Michal Elovitz: There's a lot. It depends on, when I think about women's health, I like to try to conceptualize it across the lifespan.

[00:02:45] So we have adolescence, right, where a lot of the disorders in adolescence from eating disorders to cancers are maybe not unique. I mean, eating disorders out of women, maybe not. But one of the things we don't talk about when we talk about adolescence is menstruation, right? The mystery of the period, the problem of the period, right, when it's actually this really kind of amazing biological event that happens every month, but very much can burden women in their adolescence.

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