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Cynthia Morton, PhD, celebrates her award with her family
The Women’s Health Leadership Forum of BWH awarded its 2003 Mary Horrigan Connors Award for Outstanding Leadership in Women’s Health to BWH Director of Cytogenetics Cynthia Morton, PhD. Morton will use the $25,000 award to advance her search for genes involved in the development of uterine fibroids, benign tumors that afflict one in every four women.
The Women’s Health Leadership Forum, co-chaired by BWH Trustee Jacqueline O’Neill and Tracy Palandjian, supports the hospital’s efforts to improve the health of women and transform medicine so that an understanding of gender and its effects are routinely applied in clinical practice. Members established the award in 2000 to provide seed money for research, patient care, teaching or community-health projects.
At the award ceremony on September 17, Morton explained that while some women may be genetically predisposed to developing fibroids, the tumors’ causes remain largely unknown. She plans to recruit 500 pairs of sisters, gather their health histories and study their DNA, paying particular attention to two chromosomes that appear to swap genetic material in fibroid sufferers. Eventually, Morton hopes to develop a less invasive treatment for fibroids than hysterectomy, currently the only sure-fire cure.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award and join such a distinguished group,” said Morton, referring to Carolyn Kaelin, MD, JudyAnn Bigby, MD, and JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, previous award recipients at BWH.
The award is named for the mother of Jack Connors Jr., chairman of the Partners Board of Trustees. The Connors family’s $5 million gift has fostered research and educational programs to improve the health and well being of women in Boston and around the country.