OSSD President’s Update for 2022
by Rhonda Voskuhl, M.D.
    
    

 

Rhonda Voskuhl M.D. is the current President of the OSSD. She holds the Jack H. Skirball Chair and is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and the Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

As the OSSD President, I want to provide updates regarding progressive changes made at OSSD in 2021 and share my excitement for our annual meeting, OSSD 2022. Aligned with one of my top priorities, OSSD has strengthened its collaborations with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research in Women’s Health (NIH ORWH) and the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR). OSSD, ORWH, and SWHR share common goals. Each plays a unique and critical role in advancing the unified mission of recognizing and studying sex differences in health and disease to improve the lives of both sexes. Communications about ongoing initiatives in each organization can be shared between organizations to spread the word to constituents of other organizations to cross fertilize interest and expand outreach. This builds momentum and forges joint efforts in novel ways. OSSD 2022 will for the first time host a scientific session by speakers from the NIH funded Specialized Centers for Research Excellence on Sex Differences (SCORES). There will also be a session dedicated to NIH ORWH Science Policy Scholar Travel Awards. Based on collaboration between OSSD and SWHR, the new Editor-in-Chief of our official journal, the Biology of Sex Differences, took the helm. Over the last year, Dr. Jill Becker (EIC), has recruited internationally recognized experts to the editorial board and is building on the previous year’s success regarding the increasing impact factor. At OSSD 2023, we hope to sponsor a session comprised of speakers that are the lead authors of the “Top 3” most cited papers in Biology of Sex Differences from 2022, so start thinking about your submission now. The above examples of joint initiatives amplify interest and spur unique creativity across the three key organizations: OSSD, ORWH, and SWHR. There is exponential strength in unity. As coined by Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Over the last year, OSSD was successful in two new outreach programs to its members. These include the “Speakers Series”, a virtual presentation on the second Thursday of January, February, and March of each year as a run up to the May annual meeting. An expert in the sex differences field gives a one hour presentation regarding their research followed by a “Meet the Expert” session for trainees. Another is the “Paper Picks” initiative. Each OSSD Officer and Councilor chooses a published paper accompanied by a statement on why it is important which is shared with all OSSD members on the OSSD website every two weeks. Together, these new outreach initiatives are keeping our members engaged throughout the year.

The OSSD Election of new Officers and Councilors recently completed on January 5, 2022. It was wonderful to see so many candidates for office who represent scientific excellence and commitment to the study of sex differences. We gained diversity in our leadership with regard to scientific field, ethnicity, sex, and gender. This breadth of diversity was achieved by hard work from the President, the Officers and Councilors, the OSSD Nominations Committee and the newly formed OSSD Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Amendments to the OSSD bylaws were made to prevent one group from being over represented and another under represented. We had more OSSD members vote in the last election than any recorded in previous years. The elections were extremely competitive, with very small margins of difference. Those who just missed being elected should run again next year. This extraordinarily high level of participation in our recent election is astounding given that it took place during year two of COVID and its inherent isolation. Together, this underscores the robust and growing interest in OSSD and the study of sex differences in health and diseases, an enthusiasm not dampened by challenges.

It is my privilege to continue leading this inspiring organization and I look forward to seeing you in person in Los Angeles for OSSD 2022 on May 2-5.

 

 

 

Rhonda Voskuhl, MD