The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer
Letter from the Chair
Passing the Baton in a Time of Challenge
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As I write my last letter as Chair of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer, we find ourselves in the midst of perhaps the most challenging and troubling times many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. An international pandemic that at that time I write this has our president hospitalized, racial inequities brought to the forefront, political divisiveness, raging forest fires, and most recently, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a champion for gender equity and equal rights for human beings. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has always been an inspiration to me, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to sit one on one with her. Her legacy will live on in all the lives that she has touched. With these recent events and the ongoing uncertainties we face, I find myself confronting many emotions all at once.

Among my emotions is disappointment, as I must share with you that our annual Network meeting, which was rescheduled to April 2021, must once again be postponed due to the current uncertain climate. We have heard from many in the Network that their institutions have prohibited business travel through next summer, making travel to a conference impossible, even if a safe way to do so could be found. We recognize that until there is a widely utilized, safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, we have to defer our plans for in-person meetings. This is quite disappointing because we hold tight the notion that all of us working to fulfill the mission and vision of the Network benefit immensely from the opportunity to connect in person. We feel the loss of this missed opportunity to converse with colleagues whose work we admire and clinical experts whose successful sexual health clinics we would like to emulate.

Yet despite how the coronavirus has upended our plans for an in-person conference, I feel hopeful. We have been challenged with the question of how we can bring our members valuable content and remain connected while our situation requires that we remain in a virtual format. We are making great strides toward this goal. First, our Board and Leadership are working hard planning for online clinical and research offerings that will come your way in Spring 2021. While these virtual events won’t replace our conference, they will offer three key things which we know are of great value to Network members: the chance to share research; the ability to benefit from listening to relevant, timely content; and the chance to connect and network with colleagues. We are planning offerings that are not only relevant, but hopefully convenient and even more accessible than our usual in-person conference. In addition, we are planning webinars and online networking events to keep us connected before the spring comes around. Our first webinar on September 30th, 2020, discussed how to create a virtual care team, which is a most relevant topic these days. Our second webinar is scheduled for November 16. We hope that you can join us for it. We are also in the process of planning a virtual networking event for December 2, 2020. Save those dates! If you have ideas for webinar topics that you are interested in, please don’t hesitate to email them to and we will see what we can do!

And, perhaps most strongly and most importantly, I am excited. Excited to see what the future will bring under the capable and inspiring leadership of my friend, colleague, and our next Chair, Dr. Sharon Bober, who directs the Sexual Health Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Center. Her work is inspiring, and her leadership of the Network has already helped us move forward. I am also excited to think about how we, as a Network, can collaborate to advance our mission and vision of sexual health and well-being for all women and girls affected by cancer – regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual or gender status. The commitment of our membership, our board, and our leadership team is truly inspiring to me – and gives me unflagging hope that we can continue our efforts in spite of these troubling times. I have no doubt that despite what 2020 can throw at us, our members, our board, and our leadership have the drive and the ability to keep our Network going. I am passing the baton with great hope and excitement for the future of this Network, and I hope that all of you will join me on this journey and be inspired too.

In this Newsletter, I hope you will read our features on our talented members who are in the spotlight, including Drs. Allison Quick and Monica Christmas, about our upcoming events, and about our exciting plans for the future – and be inspired. But I also hope you will share with us what you hope the Network can achieve during these unprecedented and challenging times. We have posed questions about how the pandemic has affected your clinical practice and research on women’s sexual health after cancer. Please share your experiences so that we can relay this back in our next Newsletter. Never have your voices been more important to us or has your work been more critical to women affected by cancer.


Shari Goldfarb, Scientific Network Chair
8th Conference of the Scientific Network
Our annual conferences have always provided a space for clinicians, researchers, and healthcare professionals to come together to learn about the latest advances in the research and clinical care of women's sexual health after cancer. Despite not being able to hold the 8th Conference of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer in-person this spring as planned, it is important to us to continue to provide a way for our members to access the high-quality content that you have come to value from the Network.

Therefore, we are excited to announce that we are taking this opportunity to go virtual! Stay tuned to learn more about modified sessions we will be hosting in an online format in the spring, which will include both opportunities to showcase recent research findings as well as clinically oriented content. We hope that going virtual this year will make these opportunities more accessible than ever.
New & Newsworthy
Scientific Network Webinars
We held our first Scientific Network live-stream webinar on Wednesday, September 30 with an audience of over 90 attendees! The webinar was entitled, Sexual Health in Cancer Survivors: Building a Virtual Care Team, and featured the expertise of Shari Goldfarb, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on the coexistence of cancer and COVID, as well as perspectives from a multi-disciplinary team of Mayo Clinic clinicians – Carol L. Kuhle, DO, MPH; Nicole M. Cookson, PT, DPT, WCS; and Jennifer A. Vencill, PhD, LP, CST – on utilizing telemedicine to successfully meet the sexual health needs of women with cancer. The presentation wrapped up with a lively Q&A portion, providing attendees an opportunity to interact with the members of the panel in real time.

In case you missed it, a recording of the webinar will be made available under the Education tab on the Scientific Network's website within the next couple of weeks.

Save the date for our next webinar focusing on the role of trauma-informed care in sexual health and cancer. It will be held on Monday, November 16 at 2:00pm Eastern/1:00pm Central. Watch our website for more information! This webinar is free, but registration is required. Registration will open on November 2.
How Have You Adapted Your Work & Research During COVID? Let Us Know!
The Covid-19 pandemic may not feel new anymore, but it continues to affect all of us in new and challenging ways. Click here to let us know how you and your institution have adapted to support the continuation of research and patient care during this unprecedented time. Insights will be shared in future newsletters.
Research Spotlight

Allison Quick, MD, from The James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University, examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of fractional CO2 laser therapy for genitourinary syndrome (GSM) for breast cancer survivors. Participants received three monthly treatments intended to remodel vaginal tissue by activation of fibroblasts, collagen production, and neovascularization for relief of symptoms. Fifty-nine (88.1%) of those enrolled completed all treatments according to protocol with no reported SAE. The scores of the VAS, FSFI, and UDI improved from baseline to follow-up. Dr. Quick and her team published their work in Supportive Care in Cancer.
View Publication
Member Spotlight

Monica Christmas, MD

Monica Christmas, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the section of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at the University of Chicago with several years of community-based clinical experience managing a diverse population of menopausal and post-menopausal women. She is the director of the Menopause Program and Center for Women’s Integrated Health at the University of Chicago and is the 2020 Chair of the Education Committee for the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). To address unanswered questions about the optimal management of menopause in racially and ethnically diverse women, Dr. Christmas joined the SWAN study (Study of Women Across the Nation: as a co-investigator. She presented research from the SWAN study, entitled, “Race/Ethnic Variation in Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms and Perceived Quality of Life in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN),” at the 16th World Congress on Menopause in Vancouver June 2018 and is currently investigating associations between race/ethnicity, treatment choice, adherence rates over time and QOL in a large ethnically diverse cohort of women with menopausal symptoms.

Dr. Christmas also serves as the Chief Menopause Editor for and has written a series of blogs on menopause and sexual dysfunction for the site. Dr. Christmas is committed to advancing the treatment of menopause and sexual dysfunction through research and education. She joined the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer to broaden her expertise in managing a wide array of women with sexual dysfunction. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organization and is looking forward to participating in meetings and developing professional collaborations.
Upcoming Network Events
Scientific Network Webinar
When Women Survive Sexual Trauma and Cancer: The Importance of Delivering Trauma-Informed Care
Monday, November 16, 2020
2:00pm Eastern/1:00pm Central

Join us on November 16 for a look at trauma-informed care for women who survive both cancer and sexual trauma with panelists Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, MAPP from the University of Chicago and Helen L. Coons, PhD, ABPP, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus. This webinar is free, but registration is required! Registration will open on November 2.

Network with the Network!
Wednesday, December 2nd at 8:00pm Eastern/7:00pm Central

Join us for a virtual networking event with members of the Network leadership and other members. We hope to see you there!

The Scientific Network Newsletter is brought to you by the Newsletter Committee:
Jennifer Barsky Reese, PhD – Chair
Liz Arthur, PhD, APRN-CNP, AOCNP
Marloe Esch, BSN, RN, OCN
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