The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer
Letter from the chair

Shari Goldfarb, MD

At the start of this new decade, I would like to thank all of the past chairs and the current leadership of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer for helping to grow our organization to the strong organization it is today. We are a global interdisciplinary network of clinicians, researchers and healthcare professionals, from more than 30 institutions worldwide. If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2020, I encourage you to do so today!

As a result of the hard work of our dedicated members and committees, we have a sustainable, growing society, which enables us to fulfill our mission of accelerating rigorous science, promoting evidence-based education and practice, and advocating for informed policy. Through our core values of collaboration, diversity, excellence, integrity and scholarship, we are working towards a world in which all women and girls affected by cancer will have timely access to evidence-based education and care to promote sexual well-being and optimize sexual outcomes.

Thank you to all who made the 7th Conference of the Scientific Network, November 13-15, 2019 in Columbus, OH, a great success. It was our largest conference to date with 76 multidisciplinary attendees from 17 different states. We especially thank our host and scientific program chair, Kristen Carpenter, and The Ohio State University with support from the OSU James Comprehensive Cancer Center, for welcoming us to Ohio. Kristen and her committee developed an academically rigorous and stimulating program which highlighted the unique struggles that adolescent and young adult women face with regard to their disease, survivorship and sexuality. Our invited speakers exceeded our expectations with their high-level presentations on specific sexual and reproductive health survivorship issues for young adult women.

We are thrilled to also have offered our second pre-conference CME course in conjunction with our conference. The course highlighted the treatment and needs of special cancer populations and was a huge success. Each talk was given by a renowned expert in the field and was well received by all of the attendees.

You can help us make our future conferences even better! In order to meet the needs of attendees, we need to know what matters most to you regarding conference topics, availability of CE/CME credit, and what goes into your decision to attend the Scientific Network Conference. Please take a few short minutes to complete the Scientific Network Conference & CME Survey. Responses will be accepted through Monday, February 17.

Speaking of future conferences, we look forward to seeing you at our next conference where the energy and information sharing will continue. Please save the date and mark your calendar for the 8th Conference of the Scientific Network, October 28-30, 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island. Information will be posted on the Network website as it becomes available.

We look forward to a great year ahead!
With best wishes,
Shari Goldfarb, MD
Welcome New Board Members
The Scientific Network welcomes three new directors – Marloe Esch, Natasha Frederick, and Susanne Pettigrew, to the Scientific Network Board. In addition, Shari Damast and Carol Kuhle were elected for a second term. Your Scientific Network Board is:

Shari Goldfarb, MD, Chair

Sharon L. Bober, PhD, Chair Elect

Jeanne Carter, PhD, Immediate Past Chair

Jennifer Reese, PhD, Secretary

Anuja, Jhingran, MD, Treasurer

Emily Abramsohn, MPH, Director

Kristen M. Carpenter, PhD, Director

Shari Damast, MD, Director

Marloe Esch, BSN, RN, OCN, Director

Kathryn E. Flynn, PhD, Director

Natasha Frederick, MD, MPH, Director

Diana Jeffery, PhD, Director

Carol Kuhle, DO, Director

Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, MAPP, Director

Susanne Pettigrew, PA-C, NCMP, Director

7th Conference of the Scientific Network
November 13-15, 2019
Columbus, Ohio
The focus of this year’s conference was Brightening Futures: Improving Sexual Health for Adolescent and Young Adult Survivors. Attendees were treated to outstanding education, clinical updates, cutting edge research, and survivor stories that ignited our passion for women’s sexual health and cancer, while also providing unique opportunities for networking with colleagues. Here are a few key highlights from the conference:
  • A well-attended pre-conference CME course featuring educational sessions on cutting edge topics such as the effect of stem cell transplantation on sexual health, the impact of graft versus host disease on sexual function, “previvors” in the new era of genetic testing, HPV-related cancers, and community-based research
  • Informative presentations by international experts including the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) Lecture given by Lisa Larkin, MD, and a state-of-the-science presentation on oncofertility by Leslie Appiah, MD
  • Exciting paper sessions featuring new research and clinical innovations
  • Dinner with Network colleagues and an inspiring Patient Perspectives Program
  • A new Meet-the-Expert roundtable discussion with networking
  • An informative and well-attended poster session
Here are some things attendees said they got out of the conference:
  • “I learned a lot about the unique needs of AYA patients and how to better address them.”
  • ”I’m definitely coming back next year because it was so informative!”
  • “Overall, the conference was fantastic. I really enjoyed each of the speakers as well as the panel sessions.”
  • “The conference was great, very informative and professional. Great networking opportunity.”
  • “Networking!”
Scientific Network members may access past conference presentations in the Members-Only section of the website. Not yet a member? Join today!
8th Conference of the Scientific Network
October 28-30, 2020
Providence, Rhode Island
Annual Trainee Research Award named in honor of Stacy Tessler Lindau
We are excited to announce that the trainee research award has been named the Stacy Tessler Lindau Trainee Research Award, in honor of the inimitable Dr. Lindau. Dr. Lindau is the founding Chair of the Scientific Network and has played a critical role in its growth and success since its inception, saying, “The Network was founded to ensure that everyone, across all disciplines, and patients, could work together to create essential knowledge for the preservation and recovery of female sexual function in the context of cancer. I was shocked to be honored with a young investigator award named for me. I can think of no higher honor or more important function of the Network than to train and lift up the next generation of promising scientists and clinicians in the field.”

The 2019 Stacy Tessler Lindau Trainee Research Award recipient is Lauren Zimmaro, PhD, post-doctoral fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, for her work in developing a mobile technology-based (mLearning) intervention to enhance breast cancer clinicians’ communication about sexual health.
Member Spotlight
This issue’s Member Spotlight focuses on Dr. Lauren A. Zimmaro, this year’s recipient of the newly coined Stacy Tessler Lindau Trainee Research Award. Dr. Zimmaro received her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Louisville, where she studied the biobehavioral impacts of stress and mindfulness among cancer patients. She completed her clinical internship training at Duke University Medical Center where she specialized in medical psychology and received focused training at the Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Fertility Center. Currently, she is a T32-funded post-doctoral fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Reese. Dr. Zimmaro’s clinical research centers on stress, resilience, and quality of life among patients with cancer, with a particular focus on mind-body processes. In addition, she currently serves as a primary therapist on an NCI-funded trial of a couple-based intimacy enhancement intervention for breast cancer survivors experiencing sexual concerns. With regard to her introduction to the Scientific Network, Dr. Zimmaro says, “I find the topic of sexual health in cancer to be a fascinating extension of my work as a mind-body researcher, and so I was particularly excited to connect with the leaders of the sexual health field in oncology as well as to hear the cutting-edge research that was taking place, especially regarding oncofertility, intervention development, and young adult quality of life.”
New & Newsworthy
In November 2019, the Scientific Network’s Chair Elect, Sharon Bober, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, with colleagues from the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) to educate local practitioners’ in the areas of sexual health and cancer. Read the interview below to learn more about Dr. Bober’s experience and this initiative.

Network: Dr. Bober, in late November you went to Nairobi, Kenya for the ISSM/SMSNA Sexual Health Symposium. What were you and your colleagues hoping to accomplish on this trip?

Dr. Bober: In collaboration with the HCG-CCK Cancer Centre, the Kenyan Association of Urological Surgeons (KAUS), and the Faraja Cancer Support Trust, our goal was that the Sexual Health Symposium would be the first in a series of activities to expand knowledge on sexual health and cancer in Kenya. We hope this inaugural event will lead to further clinical and academic collaborations throughout Kenya that can expand knowledge and skills for treating both male and female patients and survivors.

Network: That’s amazing. How did the idea take hold?

Dr. Bober: In early 2019 when colleagues from SMSNA attended the KAUS Annual Meeting in Kisumu and met with providers and survivors at the HCG-CCK Cancer Centre in Nairobi, feedback was clear that there are wide gaps in knowledge regarding sexual rehabilitation strategies after cancer treatment and lack of available medical, surgical and psychosocial treatments for sexual dysfunctions in Kenya. There was broad interest to develop education on sexual health following prostate cancer and women’s cancers in particular.

Network: What a great opportunity for all. What did you find most surprising about how sexual health is currently addressed in Kenya?

Dr. Bober: It was quite a realization to learn that this country of 46 million people has less than 30 medical oncologists and that most patients are diagnosed at late stages of cancer. Especially given how much attention we have on the growing number of cancer survivors in this country, the realization that so many people have little or no access to screening such as mammography or pap smears is sobering. On the other hand, we really didn’t know how many people would attend a conference like this and we had literally standing room only. There were nurses, teachers, urologists, gynecologists, psychotherapists and medical students all eager for more education and also eager to connect with each other.

Network: That must have been so rewarding to see such interest. Did your trip make you think differently about how sexual health should be addressed for women in the US?

Dr. Bober: It certainly made me realize that some taboos are truly universal. The truth is that most women in the US who get cancer survivorship care still don’t hear about sexual health in any way and that is not much different than Kenya or anywhere else. I can’t say the Kenya trip made me think differently about women’s care here, but it did make me appreciate how women’s sexual health is easily neglected both near and far.

Network: What are the next steps for this project?

Dr. Bober: We are hoping to return in early 2021 in order to deliver some hands-on training to providers. It’s exciting to be part of such a wonderful collaboration with American, European and Kenyan colleagues.

Network: Well, best of luck as this project moves forward. And thanks for talking with us.

Dr. Bober: You’re welcome.
Welcome New Members
  • Sarah Arnold, MD, Grand Rapids, MI (Spectrum Health Medical System)
  • Lynne R. Brophy, MSN, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University James Cancer Center)
  • Mary Caldwell, MS, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University James Cancer Center)
  • Michelle Dailey, MFT, LMFT, Norwalk, CT (Whittingham Cancer Center)
  • David Finitsis, PhD, Hartford, CT (Hartford Healthcare Center Institute)
  • Aleece Fosnight, MSPAS, PA-C, CSC, CSE, Brevard, NC
  • Valerie Frank, MA, Patient Advocate (Dana-Farber)
  • Elizabeth Gandee, BSN, MS, APRN-CNP, WHNP, IF, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University Medical Center)
  • Terry Gibbs, DO, Toledo, OH (Promedica)
  • Alexia Holovatyk, MS, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University)
  • Laura Hunnibell, FNP, Dayton, OH (Dayton VA Medical Center)
  • Allyson Jang, MD, MS, Sacramento, CA (UC Davis Medical Center)
  • Jenna Kahn, MD, Portland, OR (OHSU)
  • Christine Krause, MD, IF, Ann Arbor, MI (University of Michigan)
  • Deborah Marshall, MD, MAS, New York, NY (Mount Sinai)
  • Sheyla Medina, Providence, RI (Warren Alpert Medical School)
  • Patricia Mumby, Maywood, IL (Loyola University Medical Center)
  • Dayssy Dias Pardo, MD, MS, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University)
  • Jessica Pettigrew, CNM, Aurora, CO (University of Colorado)
  • Allison Quick, MD, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University)
  • Nathalia Ramalho, MD, Pernambuco, Brazil (Imip)
  • Stephanie Routson, MSN, Palo Alto, CA (Stanford University)
  • Kelly Shaffer, PhD, Charlottesville, VA (University of Virginia School of Medicine)
  • Meghan Steiner, MD, Chicago, IL (University of Chicago)
  • Lauren Weiner, BA, La Jolla, CA (UC San Diego)
  • Stacy Whiteside, APRN, MS, Columbus, OH (Nationwide Children’s Hospital)
  • Brett Worly, MD, MBA, Columbus, OH (The Ohio State University)
  • Lauren Zimmaro, PhD, Philadelphia, PA (Fox Chase Cancer Center)
Upcoming Meetings of Interest
Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO)
Boston, MA
March 25-28, 2020

Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO)
2020 Annual Meeting
Toronto, Canada
March 28-31, 2020

Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM)
41st Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
April 1-4, 2020

American Society of Breast Surgeons
21st Annual Meeting
Las Vegas, NV
April 29 – May 3, 2020

Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
45th Annual Congress
San Antonio, TX
April 30 – May 3, 2020

Thank you for your interest in the Network. To get involved, contact us at

Written by the Network Newsletter Committee – Jennifer Reese (Chair), Elizabeth Arthur, Dana Haseotes – and Scientific Network Coordinator, Missy Render
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