Chatham News

Chatham to host 19th biennial conference for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research June 2-4

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
May 20, 2011

Chatham University’s Shadyside Campus will host the 19th biennial conference for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research June 2-4. The three-day multidisciplinary conference for scholars, health care providers, counselors, public policy advocates, writers, students, teachers, artists, and others interested in the health of girls and women across the lifespan as it relates to the menstrual cycle will focus on the theme “Embodied Consciousness, Informed Choices: Critical Perspectives on the Menstrual Cycle.”

For more information about the 2011 conference, including registration details, fees, and full schedule, visit or contact Dr. Peggy Stubbs, conference coordinator, at 412-365-2962 or (Conference schedule is subject to change.)

The conference will feature a keynote speech by Sharra Vostral, Ph.D., associate professor of gender and women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois, on June 3 at 2:30 p.m. in the Sanger Lecture Room of Coolidge Hall. Dr. Vostral is the author of Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology (2008). Her address will focus on her current research—the innovation of Rely tampons and the emergence of Toxic Shock Syndrome. The concept of “biologically incompatible technology” will be used to explain the complicated relationship of constituent bacteria, women’s menstrual cycles and a reactive technology.

Other highlights of the conference include two plenary panels, “Menstruation and Stigma” on June 3 and “Re: Cycling and Sustainability” on June 4. Both will be held at 8:30 a.m. in Eddy Theater.

The plenary panel on the stigma associated with the stigma surrounding menstruation will include a presentation by titled “Stigma and Emotional Health” by Lawrence M. Nelson, M.D., head of the Integrative Reproductive Medicine Group, Intramural Research Program on Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Nelson will discuss education’s role in reversing the stigma associated with menstruation; evidence to be presented shows that stigma has adverse effects on emotional health.

The plenary panel on sustainability will feature a presentation by Megan White Mukuria, founder and CEO of ZanaAfrica, a nonprofit that seeks to alleviate poverty in Africa with tools that address health, education, and the environment, with a focus on gender and technology. Globally, menstruation keeps girls out of school, thus perpetuating cycles of poverty. Drawing on a decade of work with girls in Kenya, Mukuria will share a promising solution to realize a vision of all girls managing their menstruation with dignity while protecting the planet. American Friends of ZanaAfrica was recently awarded a $100,000 Grand Challenges Exploration Grant for Ground-Breaking Research in Global Health and Development, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The award will allow Mukuria and Lawino Kagumba, Ph.D., to pursue the development of sanitary pads that utilize an agricultural by-product as an alternative absorbent material. If successful, low-income women and girls across Kenya will have access to locally produced, affordable feminine hygiene products through a process easily replicated in other countries.


About the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1977 by a multidisciplinary group of women who were pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to women’s health. The organization’s mission is to be the source of guidance, expertise, and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle. The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research offers a network of communication and support that spans discipline, professional responsibilities, and geography to provide woman-centered perspectives on menstrual experiences. For more information about the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, visit

About Chatham University 

Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit .