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:

Paula Hillard, MD
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

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.

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

WHSD students also select coursework from the following:

· 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)

· OBGYN 216: Current Issues in Reproductive Health (1 unit; Win)

· OBGYN 222: Obstetrics & Gynecological Simulation Skills (1-2 unit; Win)

· SOMGEN 206: Global Medical Issues Affecting Women (1 unit; Win)

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

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

Other Medical School courses may qualify with approval of Course Directors.  


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

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

Launched in January 2013, the Stanford WHSDM 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 WHSDM-related basic, clinical, and population health research (

Annual WHSDM symposia include: Basic &Translational Research on Sex Differences in specified disciplines (e.g. Genetics, 2018; Neurosciences, 2017 & 2013; Cardiovascular Health and Disease, 2016; Cancer, 2015; Immunology, 2014); the Women’s Health Forum in Spring; WHSDM Seed Grant Workshops in summer and symposia featuring pioneers in Sex and Gender research, education and/or clinical practice.

Recent WH(SD) Projects (Students Matriculated 2015-present)

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






Castro Paz, Imilce

Girod, Sabine




Feasibility and Acceptability of a Psycho-educationally Based Group Intervention to Improve Preoperative Preparation of Orthognathic Surgery Patients and Their Caregivers

Connolly, Sara

Smith-Coggins, Rebecca

Emergency Medicine



Sleep Health in Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Johansen, Sara

Shaw, Kate



Contraceptive Counseling for Women Treated for Breast Cancer at a Tertiary Care Institution: a Retrospective Review

Schneyer, Rebecca

Shaw, Kate



Dysmenorrhea as a Risk Factor for Pain with Intrauterine Device Insertion

Yang, May

Tremmel, Jennifer

Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine)


Association of Triglycerides to HDL Cholesterol Ratio with Cardiometabolic Outcomes


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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.