APA is bringing together multidisciplinary practitioners, researchers and policy-makers to take a close look at the current psychosocial and behavioral research on women's health and explore ways to translate important findings into primary care, community interventions and health policy.

The conference, "Enhancing Outcomes in Women's Health: Translating Psychosocial and Behavioral Research into Primary Care, Community Interventions, and Health Policy," to be held Oct. 4-6 in Washington, D.C., will also examine how depression and critical health behaviors such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise contribute to today's major killers and causes of disabilities of women--cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

"Psychology has a tremendous amount of research that directly informs women's health, but often, practitioners, community health workers, health-policy specialists and others are unaware of the research, or do not change their practice behavior in line with the research findings," says conference co-chair Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD, associate executive director of APA's Public Interest Directorate. "This conference will help address this issue and others facilitated by interaction across the disciplines and between researchers and practitioners."

The meeting will also explore women's health across cultures, adds conference co-chair Renee Royak-Schaler, PhD, chief of the division of behavioral sciences at the American Health Foundation Cancer Center.

"The conference will highlight women's diverse health concerns," she says. "We will be looking at the research that has been done in primary care, public health and psychology that has addressed socioeconomic status and cultural diversity and how those affect women's health outcomes."

The conference--APA's third on women's health in the last seven years--is open to psychologists, psychiatrists, obstetricians, gynecologists, primary-care physicians, nurses, counselors, community health workers, public health educators and other women's health specialists.

Each day of the conference will feature symposiums, interactive poster sessions and special invited panels on topics critical to women's health, such as smoking, depression, physical activity, psychosocial factors and cardiovascular disease, menopause, obesity, health in older women, cancer-related health disparities and substance abuse.

Other highlights include a panel on emerging models for women's health care and a session that will provide an overview of what researchers have learned from four major national studies on women's health, including a multiethnic cohort study of women transitioning through menopause.

"With all the baby boomers aging, menopause is a hot topic and one that has finally come out in the open," says Mary Blehar, PhD, director of the women's mental health program at the National Institute of Mental Health and a member of the conference planning committee.

Speakers include science writer Jane Brody of The New York Times, who will give the keynote address, and James S. Gordon, MD, chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Gordon will give a special address on integrative approaches to health and mental health.

Throughout the conference, sessions and workshops will underscore multidisciplinary approaches in women's health, particularly those that synthesize psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, medicine, nursing and public health.

"This conference will really interest those who want to set up a collaborative model of women's health," says Helen Coons, PhD, of Women's Mental Health Associates in Philadelphia, another member of the conference planning committee. Coons, along with psychologist Susan McDaniel, PhD, and family physician Elizabeth Naumburg, MD, will lead a skills-focused continuing professional education (CPE) workshop that examines ways to use interdisciplinary, collaborative models to address psychosocial and behavioral issues in primary care, obstetrics and gynecology.

Their presentation is one of seven CPE workshops to be held before and during the conference. In addition, many conference sessions will qualify as CPE for psychologists, physicians, nurses and public health educators.

Further Reading

For further information and forms for registering online or by fax or phone, contact Wesley B. Baker, Conference Coordinator, (202) 336-6120; e-mail.