WOMHER’s International Interdisciplinary Conference 2023
On the 4 and 5 of May 2023 WOMHER held its 1st International Interdisciplinary Conference on Women’s Mental Health, "International Women’s mental health – what are the issues?"
At Sigtuna Foundation WOMHER gathered a group of 60 leading academics and researchers in different disciplines in women’s mental health from around the world.
Tora Holmberg, Vice-Rector for Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University together with Mats Larhed, Vice Rector for Vice-Rector Medicine and Pharmacy and Professor at Uppsala University opened the conference by highlighting the opportunities that interdisciplinary research like WOMHER is supporting can do for society. WOMHER provides a more holistic view on women’s mental health issues and answers questions why and how potential solutions can be used in an effective way that will benefit society at large.
Research on women´s mental health was presented
During the two days key note speakers from WOMHER’S International Advisory Board presented their research. Their research came from different disciplines but its focus is always in the field of women´s mental health.
Professor Catherine Monk from Columbia University, NY, was the first to present her work on Women’s Mental Health Matters” for Women, and the Next Generation. She focused on how mental health issues during pregnancy can affect the child in later life. As a member of WOMHER’s Advisory Board she talked about how communities of practitioners and conferences such as this one are very important to share research and discover other ways to look at the issues.
" WOMHER is a leading voice for research on women’s mental health issues and overall for drawing attention to the topic of women’s mental health. WOMHER is important because it is so grounded in research but also interdisciplinary. The atmosphere created here at the conference has been one of self-reflection, open to input and comment from different disciplines, which can generate advanced knowledges and therefor, in the end, good care ", says Professor Catherine Monk.
New ideas in group discussions and speakers’ corner
Since the conference focused, among others, on networking, group discussions enabled the participants to discuss what the issues in the field of women´s mental health are from their point of view. A lot of good ideas and suggestions for the future – both for the conference which is to occur bi-annually, and for further research and collaboration - came out of these sessions.
An important part of the conference was the “speakers’ corner” were anyone could make suggestions, raise question or search for research partners. In this way participants could shape future conferences and highlight issues that had not been in the program to start with.
Karin Schulz, Secretary General of MIND, and a member of WOMHER’s Advisory Board participated in the conference and appreciated the different views on the topic.
" Due to all these perspectives in one room my understanding has broadened in terms of how we can understand the concept of being a woman. The main issue from my point of view is that we need to find out why girls and women from 11 years of age experience more mental health problems than men thorough their whole life. WOMHER as a community can be used to identify factors affecting women’s mental health and then together, through different disciplines, answer these questions and make a great difference ", says Karin Schulz, Secretary General at Mind.
This is not the end, it is now the real work starts
After two days of inspiration and intense discussions Malin Gingnell, director of WOMHER, concluded WOMHER’s first international conference.
" This is not the end, it is now that the real work starts. I really believe that this conference has inspired our participants to find new contacts, common projects or just start thinking about what interdisciplinary research can contribute in their work. The goal of WOMHER and these gatherings is to create a community and I am hopeful that these two days have made everyone here feel that they are a part of this, because together we are WOMHER ", says Malin Gingnell.
The list of keynote speakers
Professor Catherine Monk from Columbia University, New York, USA
- Women’s Mental Health Matters — for Women, and the Next Generation
Professor Gillian Einstein from University of Toronto, Canada
- Combining Sex & Gender for Women’s Brain Health: A new paradigm, Situated Neuroscience
Professor Jasmine Abdulcadir from University of Geneva, Switzerland
- Sexual Assault Reporting: Challenges in Doing Research to Improve Prevention, Information and Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault in Emergency Care Settings.
Professor Markus Heilig from Linköping University, Sweden
- PTSD - from the Clinical Syndrome into the Brain and Back
Professor Søren Brunak from University of Copenhagen, denmark
- How do Diseases Connect over Time in a Life-Long Perspective?
Taking Advantage of Population-Wide Health Data from the Nordic Ecosystem