Let the Count Down Begin

The 11th InWomen’s Conference is Here!

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June 14, 2019 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas, USA

Are you as excited as we are?
Read below for how to prepare for InWomen’s and what to expect.

InWomen’s will once again provide an encouraging platform for forging new collaborations among emerging and innovative leaders from around the world, expanding on substance use research agendas, and revolutionizing awareness for gender issues.

Final Program

DOWNLOAD the full program
Check-in will begin at 7:30 AM.


Become a Buddy!

If you have attended an InWomen’s Conference before, consider becoming a buddy to a first-time attendee!

“Buddy” and “First-time” stickers to place on your name badge can be picked up at check-in. This is a great opportunity to network, make new friends, and help amplify the atmosphere! Already know you are interested in taking part?

Let us know!

Your Lunch Discussion Table

Don’t forget to choose your InWomen’s discussion table if you have not already! Lunch time discussion tables are now limited to 10 attendees each to ensure an intimate environment, and are filling up quickly.

Sign Up Here

Three Helpful Things to Know About San Antonio

1. Getting to the JW Marriott Conference Venue
The conference venue is about 14.1 miles away, or 31 minutes by car, from the San Antonio International Airport.

Address: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway, San Antonio, Texas 78261
(210) 276-2500

2. Things to See
While you’re in San Antonio, take some time to explore the breathtaking downtown RiverWalk, the Natural Bridge Caverns, or even the Historic Market Square

3. The Weather
AccuWeather predicts June 14 to be 94°F and mostly sunny, so please dress accordingly! Though conference venues are notoriously cold, so be sure to bring a sweater or jacket for inside of the venue.


Have any questions or concerns? Please write to bhoward@rti.org 


InWomen’s to Offer CAADE CEU

June 14, 2019

InWomen’s is exactly four weeks away, and we could not be more excited!

For the first time ever, InWomen’s is a California Association for Alcohol & Drug Educators (CAADE) Continuing Education Provider.

Attendees will receive a certificate of attendance with our unique CEU provider number.

Registration is still open:

Register Here 

Meet Our 2019 InWomen’s Panelists

Panel I: How the Global Opioid Epidemic is Affecting Women and Families


Speaker I:  Women in the Middle-East: Opioid Addiction and Mythsmona-headshot.jpg

Mona Al-Sawwaf, MD

Dr. Mona Al-Sawwaf is a Consultant Psychiatrist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and International Advisor to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on women and addiction. Her research  focuses specifically on substance use among Arab women. She previously served as the head of the women’s psychiatric unit and clinic supervisor at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah. As a U.S. Department of State-sponsored Humphrey Scholar, Dr. Al-Sawwaf combined mid-career professional development affiliations at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School with graduate courses at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. While there, she consulted with colleagues about the management of drug addiction in women, and current research, program planning and the designing of effective prevention programs.

Speaker 2:  Sex Differences in Prescription Opioid Use Patterns Among Community Members in North Central Florida 



Mirsada Serdarevic, PhD

Dr. Serdarevic studied psychology at the University of Vermont (UVM) and received her BA in 2013. Soon after, she began working at the Health Behavior Research Center at UVM on a R01 study that was funded by NIAAA as a senior research assistant with Dr. John Helzer and Dr. Gail Rose. In 2015 Mirsada began her doctoral studies at the Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine at the University of Florida (UF) as a NIDA T32 pre-doctoral fellow. Under the mentorship and chair of her committee, Dr. Linda Cottler, Mirsada received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from UF in the spring of 2019. Mirsada’s research interests include substance use, mental health, and health disparities. Her dissertation specifically focused on prescription opioid use and risk factors for use in the community. She has published 9 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 2 opinion editorials.

Speaker 3:  Gender-specific Aspects of the Opioid Epidemic Among Women in the United States 



Jennifer Lorvick, DrPH

Dr. Jennifer Lorvick is a Senior Public Health Scientist in the Community Health and Implementation Science Program at RTI International. Her community-based research focuses on the social and structural determinants of infectious disease risk, such as deprivation, violence, incarceration and drug use. She is currently examining health care access and utilization among women in the criminal probation system. Her background is in public health and the epidemiology of drug use, HIV, HCV and sexually transmitted infections. Her work has been published in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, the International Journal of Drug Policy, and the Lancet. Gender-specific aspects of the opioid epidemic among women in the U.S.

Flash Presentations: How Will We Solve the Opioid Crisis 


(1) Women Who Use Opioids Experience Stigma: Impact on Access and Retention in Harm Reduction Services and Interactions with Child Welfare Rose Schmidt, MPH

Rose Schmidt is the Research Manager at the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health and a member of the Canadian FASD Prevention Network. At the Centre, she manages research and knowledge translation activities on diverse topics related to women’s mental health and substance use, including: gender informed addiction services, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) prevention, and the implementation of trauma-informed practice. Rose has a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University and a BSc in Health Science and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Rose’s work addresses gender-based determinants of health inequity and integrates social epidemiological methodology into applied policy research.

(2) Preparing for the Inevitable – The Development of a Model of Care to Manage Women with Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders in Pregnancy and Parenting in Sydney, Australia Maja Moensted, PhD

Dr. Moensted has many years of experience working within the academic and community sector conducting social research, mainly focusing on the meeting between vulnerable citizens and welfare institutions. She has expertise in qualitative approaches to social inquiry and has used different methods to explore a range of contemporary issues including social determinants of health, youth inequality, crime and substance use, racial discrimination and the experiences of young carers. She completed a Doctoral Study in Social and Political Science at University of Melbourne in which she investigated the support needs of disadvantaged young people. Dr Moensted currently works with Drug Health Services and Discipline of Addiction Medicine, University of Sydney investigating best practice service approaches for mothers with substance use issues and highly complex needs.


Panel II: Marijuana Use – Focused on Teens

Speaker 4: Marijuana Use Among South African Teens

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Courtney Peasant Bonner, PhD

Dr. Peasant Bonner is a Research Clinical Psychologist at RTI International where she works in the Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research (SUGAR) Program to adapt and evaluate women-focused HIV prevention interventions. Dr. Bonner has worked with young people living with and affected by HIV for 10 years and is passionate about HIV prevention among underserved populations. Dr. Bonner’s research and publications focus on understanding the impact of gender-based violence, substance use, and mental health on HIV risk and developing sustainable interventions to address these factors to reduce health disparities among vulnerable women. Dr. Bonner’s current research projects are examining the feasibility of integrating mental health, HIV prevention, and substance use services for young women in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Bonner earned her PhD from The University of Memphis and completed her postdoctoral research at Yale University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS.

Speaker 5: Trends in the Use of Marijuana Among Female Teenagers in Thailand 



Usaneya Perngparn, PhD

Assistant Professor Dr. Usaneya Perngparn, Consultant of Drug Dependence Research Center, College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University completed a Doctoral Degree in Research for Health Development, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. She received 2 Master’s Degrees in Demography at Chulalongkorn University and in Population Research at University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, where she had training at Addiction Centre. Having close collaboration with national/international levels, she has given counseling and training in drug/alcohol, training analysis needs and data management. She had a long-time contribution to the Ministry of Public Health in compiling and processing national drug dependent treatment records. Her research areas are on sociocultural context of risk-taking behaviors among women and transgender sex workers, evaluation of drug dependence treatment system and the multi-sector community development projects to reduce opium cultivation and use in hill-tribal communities, indigenous Buddhist temple treatment of drug dependence and methadone treatment. She conducts and oversees research in alcohol, substance abuse, harm reduction, prevention and intervention. Her works are published in many international journals.

Speaker 6: Trends in Marijuana and Vaping Use Among Teenagers (U.S. National Youth Survey)



Omar El-Shahawy, MD, MPH,PhD

Dr. El-Shahawy  is a post-doctoral fellow in the New York University School of Medicine, Population Health Department, Section on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use. Dr. El-Shahawy obtained his medical degree at the University of Ain Shams in Cairo, Egypt, in 2002 and his Master of Public Health in international health development from the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2007. He was awarded the prestigious Hubert Humphrey fellowship from the Department of State and National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2010. During his fellowship, he had a particular focus on gender issues in adolescent and marginalized groups. He later obtained his PhD in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences from the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. His current research interests include novel tobacco products, smoking cessation among vulnerable populations, and patient-physician decision making.

Speaker 7: Youth Cannabis Trends Within the Overall Context of Cannabis Use in Europe 



Paul Griffiths, MSc

Mr. Griffiths joined the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) nearly a decade ago and became scientific director in 2010. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Griffiths has supervised a considerable increase in the scope and scientific sophistication of the Centre’s work, making the EMCDDA a world leader in documenting the extent of drug use and identifying trends in use patterns and substances of abuse. Mr. Griffiths and the agency’s staff monitor all aspects of the European drug situation, maintain a network of European drug information centers, and, with Europol, implemented the European Union early warning system on new psychoactive substances. Previously, at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Griffiths revised the primary United Nations instrument for collecting information on the drug situation, which required significant skill in both the technical and political arenas. Mr. Griffiths has made a world-class contribution in documenting drug abuse trends and standardizing statistical records and, at the EMCDDA, has helped create what the journal Addiction called one of the world’s leading research centers in the addictions field.




Register Here

International Women’s and Children’s Health
and Gender Group Conference

Early-bird rates:

  • Full conference fee (high- and middle- income countries): $175 (USD)
  • Reduced conference fee (low-income countries and students): $100 (USD)
    *Registration fees will increase to $200 and $125 after April 30

Friday, June 14, 2019
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
San Antonio, Texas, USA
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

Preliminary Agenda 

Welcome:  Dr. Loretta Finnegan, CPDD Executive Officer

Opening Remarks: Dr. Wendee Wechsberg, InWomen’s Chair

Panel I:
How the Global Opioid Epidemic is Affecting Women and Families
Special Guest Moderator: Dr. Redonna Chandler, Director of the AIDS Research Program; Chief, Services Research Branch, NIDA

  • Women in the Middle-East: Opioid Addiction and Myths  Dr. Mona Al-Sawwaf, Consultant Psychiatrist, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 
  • Sex Differences in Prescription Opioid Use Patterns Among Community Members in North Central Florida  Mirsada Serdarevic, PhD Candidate, University of Florida
  • Gender-specific Aspects of the Opioid Epidemic Among Women in the United States   Dr. Jennifer Lorvick, RTI International

How Will We Solve the Opioid Crisis? 

    • Women Who Use Opioids Experience Stigma: Impact on Access and Retention in Harm Reduction Services and Experiences with Child Welfare  Rose Schmidt, MPH, Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
    • Preparing for the Inevitable – The Development of a Model of Care to Manage Women with Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders in Pregnancy and Parenting in Sydney, Australia   Dr. Maja Moensted, Drug Health Services at NSW Health


Panel Discussion Q&A

Morning Break: Coffee & Tea
Poster Session I: 
Even Numbers
Poster Session II: 
Odd Numbers
Networking Discussion Tables
Best Poster: Flash Presentation/Acknowledgement of Travel Awardees
 Panel II:

Marijuana Use Among Teens
Special Guest Moderator: Dr. Richard Jenkins, Health Scientist Administrator, NIDA

  • Marijuana Use Among South African Teens  Dr. Courtney Bonner, RTI International
  • Trends in the Use of Marijuana Among Female Teenagers in Thailand  Dr. Usaneya Perngparn, Drug Dependence Research Center, Chulalongkorn University
  • Trends in Marijuana and Vaping Use Among Teenagers (U.S. National Youth Survey) Dr. Omar El-Shahawy, New York University

Panel Discussion Q&A

Testimonial: Marijuana Use and Sexual Exploitation I Monica Anderson

Break: Networking & Line Dancing Lesson

Closing Remarks & Next Steps


InWomen’s Poster Abstracts Due January 31


The deadline to submit poster abstracts for
InWomen’s 2019 has been extended through
11:59 PM January 31!


Abstract Guidelines

Only poster abstracts with a focus or component on women, children, youth, LGBT+ individuals, and/or gender differences in areas pertaining to substance use will be considered. Priority will be given to abstracts that relate to the InWomen’s mission and vision. You may submit up to three abstracts for consideration.

*Please note that the 2019 InWomen’s conference will focus on: How the Global Opioid Epidemic is Affecting Women and Families; and Marijuana-use Among Children, Teens, and Young Adults.

Word Limit
Limit the body of each abstract to 300 words,  including section headers.

Abstracts must be submitted in English.

Abstract submissions should adhere as closely as possible to the following section headers:

  • Background OR Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results OR Findings
  • Conclusion OR Discussion

Abstract Categories
Poster Abstracts should fall under one Primary Category:

  • Basic Science
  • Epidemiology
  • Implementation Science
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Other – Related Category

And at least one Secondary Category:
(e.g., Alcohol Use; Children and Adolescents; Co-occurring Disorders; Gender Differences; Health Disparities; HIV; Gender-based Violence; LGBT+ Individuals; Marijuana Use; Mental Health; Opiate Use; Pregnant and Parenting Women; Program Evaluation; Sexual Risk; Smoking; Trafficking; Other – Related Category) .


Travel Awards

Several merit-based travel awards will be awarded to students and new investigators (not more than 7 years post their terminal degree). Priority will be given to those whose abstracts clearly align with InWomen’s mission and topical focus, as well as to individuals who have not previously received awards. You may apply for a travel award during the abstract submission process.

Only the presenting author is eligible for a travel award. Travel awards are non transferable and are electronically wired to awardees following the conference at the USD rate. Travel award amounts vary by country region.

Is Marijuana as Safe as We Think?


Permitting pot is one thing; promoting its use is another.


A few years ago, the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of sixteen leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs to four hundred and sixty-eight pages. It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery.

For example, smoking pot is widely supposed to diminish the nausea associated with chemotherapy. But, the panel pointed out, “there are no good-quality randomized trials investigating this option.” We have evidence for marijuana as a treatment for pain, but “very little is known about the efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States.” The caveats continue. Is it good for epilepsy? “Insufficient evidence.” Tourette’s syndrome? Limited evidence. A.L.S., Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s? Insufficient evidence. Irritable-bowel syndrome? Insufficient evidence. Dementia and glaucoma? Probably not. Anxiety? Maybe. Depression? Probably not.


Full article here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/14/is-marijuana-as-safe-as-we-think

Women and the Opioid Epidemic: Why Opioid Interventions Should Include a Focus on Women


The opioid epidemic is growing disproportionately among women. From 1999 through 2016, mortality rates for opioid overdose increased 507% among women, compared to 321% among men, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Deaths related to prescription opioid as well as heroin use increased at nearly twice the rate for women as for men.

There is no question about the tragic dimensions of the opioid epidemic for people of all genders, their families and their loved ones. However, decades of research have taught us that women experience substance use, addiction, and treatment differently than men. For example, women transition from substance use to addiction more quickly than men, and they are less likely to participate in traditional substance abuse treatment programs. We need to apply this knowledge to the opioid epidemic and ensure women’s needs are met. Understanding and serving women who use opioids is vital to an effective public health response.

Polysubstance use—the consumption of more than one drug at once—is one aspect of the opioid epidemic that is particularly relevant to women. A recent national study of women who used opioids for nonmedical purposes found that 89% used additional substances, suggesting that “polysubstance use is the norm.”

Benzodiazepines and alcohol are particularly worrisome in this regard. As depressant drugs, the use of either substance along with opioids greatly increases the risk of opioid overdose. Since 1999, there has been over a 1,000% increase in the number of fatal overdoses among women using opioids and benzodiazepines at the same time. More than 3,700 U.S. women died from this drug combination in 2016 alone. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to receive concurrent prescriptions of opioids and benzodiazepines, enhancing this risk. Our recent research conducted in Oakland, California, showed that a third of women who used illicit opioids in the past 30 days had also used benzodiazepines.

Alcohol is the most common secondary substance found in opioid overdose deaths. In our research, we found that three-quarters of women who used opioids also used alcohol—and half reported binge drinking, consuming four or more drinks in a single sitting. The hazards of binge drinking in the context of opioid use have received little attention, despite the implications for overdose.

Fortunately, there is an extensive body of research on substance use among women to inform our response. Harm reduction services, such as syringe exchange and naloxone distribution, are essential. Medication-assisted therapy for opioid dependence needs to be widely available and available on demand. An emphasis on treatments that recognize the relationship between trauma and substance use is vital, as study after study has established the pervasive presence of trauma among women who use drugs. Similarly, the frequent occurrence of gender-based violence speaks to the importance of offering programs and service venues that create safe spaces for women.

In response to risks of polysubstance use, educational messages can emphasize the need to carefully manage or eliminate the concurrent use of substances. We know many of the answers to helping women survive the opioid epidemic—let’s implement them.

Written by Dr. Jennifer Lorvick, RTI International:

“I am passionate about making hepatitis C virus treatment available to all infected people. It is within our grasp to eradicate this disease, and I am fed up with the lack of political and public health leadership around this.”

Originally posted on gendercenter.rti.org