Duke launches Global Women’s Health Technologies Center
Duke University is pulling its biomedical engineering and global health experts together to create the Global Women’s Health Technologies Center, which will accelerate women’s health research and help more women and minorities pursue related training and degrees.
About 800 women around the world die every day due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and even more from breast and cervical cancer, according to a Duke Global Health Institute announcement. The center’s mission is to increase research, training and education in women’s diseases, with a focus on breast cancer, cervical cancer and maternal-fetal health.
The center also will focus on increasing retention of women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The Global Women’s Health Technologies Center reflects a partnership between the Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Global Health Institute and is led by Nimmi Ramanujam, a Duke professor of biomedical engineering and global health.
“I believe that we can attract and retain women in science and technology by making the subject personally relevant,” said Ramanujam in a statement. “Women are powerful advocates and researchers, and want to improve the quality of life of other women around the world.”
Since coming to Duke in 2005, Ramanujam has established a laboratory that is developing and applying optical strategies and technologies for cancer screening in resource-limited settings, detecting residual disease during cancer surgery, and visualizing tumor hypoxia and metabolism in the context of cancer therapy and drug discovery.
She is working with DGHI partners at the Family Health Ministries to develop a portable, low-power spectroscopic device for screening cervical cancer in Haiti and has studies planned in Moshi, Tanzania.
The center will offer courses to engage students in STEM fields by targeting areas of a woman’s life that are subject to significant health disparities. These courses will be linked to the research currently under way at Duke in women’s health technologies and will emphasize the translation of research into practice, according to the announcement.
Learn more about the Duke Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies at gwht.pratt.duke.edu.