Introduction to the UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health
The UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health is an exciting new venture. It was established in 2004 with the objective of making a major contribution to the health of women, both in the UK and internationally. Its aim is to create a leading centre of excellence for research, clinical care, education and training in women’s health. The Institute links the academic strength of University College London (UCL), one of the world’s leading universities, and the clinical strength of University College Hospital (UCH), a flagship NHS Trust with a state-of-the-art new hospital building. As a result the Institute is able to combine the clinical expertise and skills of staff at UCH with the highest quality research expertise of staff at UCL.
The Scope of the Institute
Cutting edge expertise in research and education at UCL is integrated with clinical excellence across the spectrum of women’s health at UCH, which draws on the commitment of many dedicated professionals in medicine, nursing and associated disciplines. The work of the Institute team also involves professional education, public consultation and community projects, to support important health care initiatives and to meet the scientific challenges of our changing world. Alongside its work in the UK, the Institute has embarked on a major venture in women’s health in Africa.
Specialist Expertise in the Institute:
• Fetal Medicine
• Maternal Medicine
• Family Planning
• Sexual Health
• Pelvic Pain
• Surgical Technology
• Fertility Treatment
• Cancer Screening
• Cancer Genetics
• Cancer Surgery
• Alternative Care
• Education & Training
• Health in the Developing World
• Reproductive Health
• Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology
In all of these areas, our clinical teams work seamlessly with research groups and are established as international leaders in fields such as fetal medicine, neonatology and gynaecological cancer. We have more than one hundred researchers whose expertise ranges from psychology and epidemiology to clinical trials and laboratory based molecular genetics/cell biology. This team includes world-ranking senior academics with access to the latest research technology and facilities.
To bring together the expertise of clinicians and researchers from a diverse range of disciplines, so that they can deliver excellence and innovation in research, clinical practice, education and training in order to make a real and sustainable difference to women’s health locally, nationally and worldwide.
The Changing Sphere of Women’s Health
In the developing world, women’s health is devastated by adverse social and economic conditions. Even in post-industrial nations where women live longer, they suffer more ill health than men. The boundaries of women’s health have altered. For example, technological advances in assisted reproduction raise new issues not just for the health services but also for society. The increase in smoking and obesity amongst young women needs to be understood in its social and economic context to enable change. Women have higher expectations of the services providing health care and expect their choices to be heard. We now realise that good medical care balances quality of life with physical wellbeing – we need to work with models of health, illness and health care that move beyond the traditional.
Impressive progress has been achieved in medicine and nursing to improve many areas of women’s health. Equally important are the ground-breaking contributions from disciplines such as genetics, biochemistry, psychology, sociology, economics, law and ethics.
Consumer and advocacy groups have done much to raise awareness of women’s health issues and their influence has enriched research, practice and policy.
Improving the Future
What is missing is coherence. A single vision and effort is needed to harness the multiplicity and richness of ideas from widely varying groups that share the same aim: to improve the health of women. The Institute for Women’s Health will bring together experts from diverse disciplines and interest groups to support important health care initiatives and engage with scientific challenges yet to come.