The 6th Annual Conference on Health Disparities, Women, and Substance Abuse: Global Issues, San Diego, CA June 14, 2013

International Women’s and Children’s Health and Gender (InWomen) Group (Chair: Wendee Wechsberg, RTI International) is a multidisciplinary forum hosted by the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC, http://NIVC.perpich.com ) that addresses all aspects of the consequences of substance use in women and children. The 2013 InWomen organizing committee met virtually once/month using the NIVC virtual communication systems provided via JBS International to select the speakers and plan the meeting.

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This map shows the distribution of 2013 InWomen members throughout the world.

The 6th annual meeting of the InWomen group convened before the 2013 NIDA International Forum (a meeting of researchers and policy makers on substance abuse from around the world) and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence meeting in San Diego, CA, on Friday June 14, 2013.

The focus of this year’s meeting was on Health Disparities, Women, Substance Abuse: Global Issues. Steffanie Strathdee (UCSD) was the plenary speaker and the title of her talk was Have We Come a Long Way, Baby? Lessons in HIV Prevention from Women Substance Users At-Risk around the Globe. Other talks discussed research on substance abuse with Native American women in Arizona, couples’ treatment in Central Asia and access for services for women in South Africa.  The full speaker and meeting agenda is available at http://wp.me/p3k6IT-1W . A poster session with 32 posters (and 5 travel award winners) promoted networking and the exchange of information (you can review poster titles here: http://wp.me/p3k6IT-1C).

Funds for the conference itself were raised through corporate donations (RTI and Reckitt Benckiser) and private donations from the InWomen membership. The Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supplied some funds for the travel awards and speaker travel costs and the NIDA International Program provided staff support. Tax-deductible donations for next year’s meeting travel awards are being accepted at this URL: http://tinyurl.com/InWomenDonation.

This year a strong push was made to move the membership towards using social media for interactions and a blog was supported through the NIDA International Program. A pre-conference Twitter for Scientists class was held on Thursday night by Meg Chisolm (Johns Hopkins Medical University) who also gave a talk during the conference. You can review tweets with hashtag #inwo13 that were made throughout the conference.

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In the spirit of cultural engagement as well as intellectual exchange, Wendee Wechsberg invited a vocalist in the session immediately after the plenary speaker and the Unified Dance Ensemble to perform celebratory songs with drums to encourage the audience to focus on the positive aspects of the research being discussed.

Work has now commenced on planning for the 2014 InWomen meeting to be held in conjunction with the 2014 NIDA International Forum and CPDD meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The membership will be polled to determine the topic of most interest to them and the posts in the InWomen blog will continue to highlight new references in the annotated bibliography, recent relevant policy news or funding opportunities. Please check the blog at any time or tweet relevant information and include our new hash tag: #inwom. New members are always welcome to the group. Contact either Krystyna Isaacs (krysisaacs@gmail.com) or Wendee Wechsberg (wmw@rti.org ) if you are interested in joining this vibrant group of researchers and policy makers interested in international women’s and children health as it related to substance abuse prevention and treatment.

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