March Update

April 13, 2020

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

I sincerely hope this update finds you healthy. We are living in an unprecedented time right now with the COVID-19 pandemic. To all of the health care professionals, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, and those on the front lines fighting this pandemic, a SINCERE THANK YOU!

The spread of the virus has certainly changed the way we go about our lives, and our research. If you are interested in learning about how we are adapting research in this time of global crisis with a gender lens from some of our projects, please consider reading something I wrote last week here. As issues change daily, please consider submitting an original blog or an op-ed on how this will affect your gender-related work to be featured on our website. Just let me know if you are interested! We should be concerned about urgent public issues that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, such as escalated violence or barriers to health care.

The intersectional issues and implications can be quite dangerous as people are required to shelter.

Though the month of March has brought on a whirlwind of the unknown, some wonderful things came out of it as well. We celebrated five years of the RTI Global Gender Center AND International Women’s Day (which we celebrated for an entire week) with lunch discussions focused on the Center’s four main priority areas: education, economic empowerment, ending gender-based violence, and health and wellness. In total we had nearly 200 attendees in-person and online all week.

On March 4, we hosted WomenNC’s Annual Local to Global Forum with close to 140 attendees celebrating the eight scholars from UNC, Duke, NCSU and NCCU “femtored” by RTI GGC affiliates. Each scholar presented their final research project in preparation to present at UNWomen. Although this meeting was canceled, all other events are being held virtually, including presentations to local governments to have an impact locally. See more about these wonderful events below.

Stay safe, and please keep your social distance.


RTI Gender-related March Project Wins

RTI Gender-related Publications in March

Armaroli P, Riggi E, Basu P, Anttila A, Ponti A, Carvalho AL, Dillner J, Elfström MK, Giordano L, Lönnberg S, Ronco G, Senore C, Soerjomataram I, Tomatis M, Vale DB, Jarm K, Sankaranarayanan R, Segnan N. (March 2020). Performance indicators in breast cancer screening in the European Union: A comparison across countries of screen positivity and detection rates. Int J Cancer.

Belus JM, Baucom DH, Wechsberg WM. (March 2020). Individual and Relationship Predictors of Couple-Level Sexual Concurrency in Heterosexual South African Couples. Arch Sex Behav. 

Bloch EM, Hull J, Green-Thompson R, Ingram C, Crookes RL, Fawcus S, Anthony J, Courtney L, Roubinian N, Jauregui A, Hilton JF, Murphy EL; NHLBI REDS-III South Africa Program. (March 2020). Antenatal blood transfusion in South Africa: indications and practice in a high-HIV-prevalence setting. Transfusion. 

Ekstrand ML, Raj T, Heylen E, Nyblade L, Devdass D, Pereira M, Mazur A, Srinivasan K. (March 2020). Reducing HIV stigma among healthcare providers in India using a partly tablet-administered intervention: the DriSti trial. AIDS Care.

Flax VL, Kasasa S, Ssendagire S, Lane C, Atuyambe L, Lance PM, Ssengooba F, Draru J, Bobrow EA. (March 2020). Using a Quality Improvement Approach in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Program in Uganda Improves Key Outcomes and Is Sustainable in Demonstration Facilities: Partnership for HIV-Free Survival. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 

Høyer S, Riis AH, Toft G, Wise LA, Hatch EE, Wesselink AK, Rothman KJ, Sørensen HT, Mikkelsen EM. (March 2020). Male alcohol consumption and fecundability. Hum Reprod.

Krogstad EA, Odhiambo OK, Ayallo M, Bailey VC, Rees H, van der Straten A. (March 2020). Contraceptive implant uptake in Kenya versus South Africa: Lessons for new implantable technologies. Contraception.
Lee S, Taylor JL, Redmond C, Hadd AG, Kemppainen JA, Haynes BC, Shone S, Bailey DB Jr, Latham GJ. (March 2020). Validation of Fragile X Screening in the Newborn Population Using a Fit-for-Purpose FMR1 PCR Assay System. J Mol Diagn. 

Liao MZ, Flood Nichols SK, Ahmed M, Clark S, Hankins GD, Caritis S, Venkataramanan R, Haas D, Quinney SK, Haneline LS, Tita AT, Manuck T, Wang J, Thummel KE, Brown LM, Ren Z, Easterling TR, Hebert MF. (March 2020). Effects of Pregnancy on the Pharmacokinetics of Metformin. Drug Metab Dispos. 

Meinhofer A, Hinde JM, Ali MM. (March 2020). Substance use disorder treatment services for pregnant and postpartum women in residential and outpatient settings. J Subst Abuse Treat.

Meyer I, Whitworth RE, Lukacz ES, Smith AL, Sung VW, Visco AG, Ackenbom MF, Wai CY, Mazloomdoost D, Gantz MG, Richter HE; NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health. (March 2020). Outcomes of native tissue transvaginal apical approaches in women with advanced pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Int Urogynecol J.

Owen BN, Baggaley RF, Elmes J, Harvey A, Shubber Z, Butler AR, Silhol R, Anton P, Shacklett B, van der Straten A, Boily MC. (March 2020). What Proportion of Female Sex Workers Practise anal Intercourse and How Frequently? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. AIDS Behav. 

Peebles K, van der Straten A, Palanee-Phillips T, Reddy K, Hillier SL, Hendrix CW, Harkoo I, Gati Mirembe B, Jeenarain N, Baeten JM, Brown ER. (March 2020). “Brief Report: Anal Intercourse, HIV-1 Risk, and Efficacy in a Trial of a Dapivirine Vaginal Ring for HIV-1 Prevention.”J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 

Pleasants E, Tauya T, Reddy K, Mirembe BG, Woeber K, Palanee-Phillips T, Zimba C, Atujuna M, Montgomery ET; MTN-020/ASPIRE Study Team. (March 2020). Relationship Type and Use of the Vaginal Ring for HIV-1 Prevention in the MTN 020/ASPIRE Trial. AIDS Behav. 

Rysavy MA, Horbar JD, Bell EF, Li L, Greenberg LT, Tyson JE, Patel RM, Carlo WA, Younge NE, Green CE, Edwards EM, Hintz SR, Walsh MC, Buzas JS, Das A, Higgins RD; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network and Vermont Oxford Network. (March 2020). Assessment of an Updated Neonatal Research Network Extremely Preterm Birth Outcome Model in the Vermont Oxford Network. JAMA Pediatr. 

Shuster DL, Shireman LM, Ma X, Shen DD, Flood Nichols SK, Ahmed MS, Clark S, Caritis S, Venkataramanan R, Haas DM, Quinney SK, Haneline LS, Tita AT, Manuck TA, Thummel KE, Morris Brown L, Ren Z, Brown Z, Easterling TR, Hebert MF. (March 2020). Pharmacodynamics of Metformin in Pregnant Women With Gestational Diabetes Mellitus and Nonpregnant Women With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. J Clin Pharmacol.

Stannah J, Silhol R, Elmes J, Owen B, Shacklett BL, Anton P, McGowan I, van der Straten A, Dimitrov D, Baggaley RF, Boily MC. (March 2020). Increases in HIV Incidence Following Receptive Anal Intercourse Among Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. AIDS Behav. 

Tangka FKL, Subramanian S, Jones M, Edwards P, Flanigan T, Kaganova Y, Smith KW, Thomas CC, Hawkins NA, Rodriguez J, Fairley T, Guy GP. (March 2020). Insurance Coverage, Employment Status, and Financial Well-Being of Young Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 

Trocin KE, Weinstein NI, Oga EA, Mark KS, Coleman-Cowger VH. (March 2020). Prenatal Practice Staff Perceptions of Three Substance Use Screening Tools for Pregnant Women. J Addict Med.

Trude ACB, Black MM, Surkan PJ, Hurley KM, Wang Y. (March 2020). Maternal anxiety and diet quality among mothers and toddlers from low-income households. Matern Child Nutr.

Williams PA, Poehlman J, Moran K, Siddiqui M, Kataria I, Rego AM, Mehrotra P, Saldanha N. (March 2020). Strategies to address anaemia among pregnant and lactating women in India: a formative research study. Public Health Nutr. 

Willis SK, Mathew HM, Wise LA, Hatch EE, Wesselink AK, Rothman KJ, Mahalingaiah S. (March 2020). Menstrual patterns and self-reported hirsutism as assessed via the modified Ferriman-Gallwey scale: A cross-sectional study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 

Wise LA, Wang TR, Willis SK, Wesselink AK, Rothman KJ, Hatch EE. (March 2020). Effect of a Home Pregnancy Test Intervention on Cohort Retention and Pregnancy Detection: A Randomized Trial. Am J Epidemiol.

We update our website regularly with all RTI Gender-related publications underresources. Please let us know if we missed any of yours. 

Calls to Action

Please consider donating your soda pull tabs to Sister Rosemary who lives in Uganda and takes in children who have been released from rebel soldiers after being kidnapped. The bag in the image above is an example of what they make. At this point at least 30,000 kids have been kidnapped. She takes care of 300 to 500 kids each night to help them recover from sex trafficking. She provides them with access to education, food, shelter, and teaches them to sew. Thank you for your help!

Sewing Hope Foundation website:
Sister Rosemary at TEDxUCO:


March Events Recap

In collaboration with Women’s Advancement in Leadership (WALS) Employee Resource Group, we hosted a week of lunch discussions, March 9, 10, 11, and 13, to commemorate our 5th anniversary, and International Women’s Week!

Expert affiliates facilitated intimate and thought-provoking discussions with each session covering one of four major areas contributing to gender inequality. Sessions raised questions about timely gender-related issues on a global scale, shared new innovations in gender-driven research, and showcased what RTI and others are doing to combat inequality. At the end of each session, a group photo honoring the #EachforEqual International Women’s Day campaign was taken with attendees. Sessions were recorded and are available to RTI GGC affiliates upon request, and accessible on the Center’s internal share drive.

WomenNC’s 11th Annual Local to Global Forum Recap: A SUCCESS BY ANY MEASURE

WomenNC leadership, scholars, and femtors at WomenNC’s 11th Annual Local to Global Forum.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Local to Global Forum at RTI International on March 4 and supported WomenNC’s eight Juanita M. Bryant Leadership Training Program scholars.

The scholars’ projects included research about gender issues in North Carolina and policy solutions to improve the lives of women and girls. Learn more about their research, HERE.

This year’s scholars were university students from Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Central University. 

“Remember: you stand on the shoulders of others—of those that have come before.”-North Carolina Representative Cynthia Ball

As well stated in Representative Cynthia Ball’s remarks to the scholars, the inter-generational audience of feminist activists, scholars, researchers, and advocates suggested the wealth of information and experience in the room

With a few anecdotes about her rise to several key leadership positions, including in 1996 becoming the first woman to be elected to statewide executive office in North Carolina, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall noted the difficulties she overcame. Subsequently, she has paved the way for other female leaders in both the public and private sectors.

In her remarks, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes, the youngest person elected to the Board of Commissioners, reminded the scholars that they do not need to wait to assume leadership positions: the world is open to young female leaders. WomenNC scholars are up for this leadership challenge and are well-prepared for it, beginning the final phase of their leadership training program with WomenNC. Working with individual “femtors” from RTI’s Global Gender Center under the direction of Dr. Wendee Wechsberg to craft research projects focused on the status of women and girls in North Carolina communities, they are now prepared for the advocacy part of the program, having been paired up with advocacy mentors from such organizations as NC PTA, North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Equality NC.

While this year’s scholars were not able to present their work at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) due to its cancellation because of COVID-19, the scholars have presented their work to other audiences in the state as they seek to influence policy at the local level!