The mission of the Women's Health Research Institute is to accelerate the rate of discovery in the sciences that impact women’s health and well-being and to increase the research and education portfolio in women’s health at Northwestern University and its clinical affiliates.  The Institute is achieving this by:

  • Fostering research that explores the sex and gender determinants of health and disease with an emphasis on women
  • Encouraging interdisciplinary research, diversity inclusiveness and a comprehensive approach to research
  • Preparing researchers and clinicians who understand the sex and gender determinants of health and disease
  • Developing leadership among women and girls interested in science
  • Facilitating the translation of basic research into clinical practice that is sex and gender sensitive
  • Becoming the authoritative resource for the community on women’s health issues and providing opportunities to engage women in advancing research that includes sex and gender variables.

Our Strategy

We provide a broad array of programs that help researchers make new discoveries, let scholars educate scientists of the future, and help all women receive better, more personalized healthcare.   This goal is reflected in our motto Science to Care.   The partnerships we have developed across campus have led to a cohort of talented investigators and clinicians who are transforming women’s health across all disciplines and creating a contemporary face for women’s health research that is sex and gender sensitive.


The Institute has played a important role in fostering Northwestern Medicine's rankings in Women's Health.  

  • In 2014, Prentice Women's Hospital part of Northwestern Medicinel was listed in the Top Ten Women's Health Providers by Global HealthCare.   They acknowledged the important  role that the  Womens' Health Research Institute played in facilitating sex based research that is translated into sex-specific clinical care, accelerating the rate of discovery in the sciences that improve women's health. 
  • The Feinberg School of Medicine which houses the WHRI, was recently ranked #10 by the U.S. News and World Report as part of the 2014 Best Medical School for Women's Health.
  • In 2011, the Women's Health Science Program for High School Girls conceived and run by the Institute,  received the prestigeous U.S. Presidential Award for Science Education from President Barack Obama.
  • Our informative blog was named one of 18 Extremely Valuable Student Health Resources by KwikMed..


The creation of the Institute for Women’s Health Research Institute was announced in November, 2006 by Dr. Lewis Landsberg who was Dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University at the time.  Teresa Woodruff, PhD was named director of the new Institute, housed in the Feinberg School of Medicine.  The Institute is the only entity at Northwestern that is actively and consistently advocating for sex-based research and care across the full spectrum of NorthwesternMedicine and has become the key advocate for comprehensive, multidisciplinary women’s health from the bench to the bedside—intimately intersecting the university and its medical affiliates around women’s health.

In the Fall, 2012, our fifth anniversary, the Institute moved into Phase II of its strategic plan.  We announced a name change, to Women’s Health Research Institute--putting women first, and to put more emphasis on our advocacy for sex-based medicine.  We also introduced our new and more powerful brand and logo.   Our future plans include expanding our most successful programs with an emphasis on facilitating more sex-based research on colliding epidemics such as obesity and diabetes, and silent killers including infectious disease and the environment.   We recognize that the quickest way to new discovery is through teams that cross basic and clinical research, reflecting it in our new tagline: Science to Care.

Learn more about the Institute accomplishments in the following reports:

Innovation Engine:  Women's Health Research Institute

WHRI Brochure

2011 Annual Report

2010 Annual Report 

2009 List of Accomplishments

Scholarly and Research Publications