ABOUT SMCR

Founded in 1977 by a multidisciplinary group of women who were pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to women’s health, we are a nonprofit, interdisciplinary and global research volunteer-led organization.

We are researchers in the social sciences, the natural sciences and the humanities, health care providers, policy makers, health activists, artists and students from a wide range of fields with interests in the role of menstrual and ovulatory health across the life span.

MISSION

Our 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.

OBJECTIVES

Our purpose as a Society is:

  • to inform public policy for the enhancement of women’s health.
  • to identify research priorities, to recommend research strategies, and to promote interdisciplinary woman-centered and gender-sensitive research on the menstrual cycle.
  • to generate and exchange information and to promote public discussion of issues related to the menstrual cycle.
  • to examine the practical, ethical and policy issues surrounding menstrual cycle research.
  • to provide a formal communication network to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue about menstrual cycle events in the context of women’s health over the life span.

SMCR History

This short film (20 min) was produced by JoEllen Wilbur and Alice Dan. It features interviews with founding members of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and other leaders of the organization. These interviews were conducted at the 2003 meetings in Pittsburgh.

The Periodical

The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research publishes a newsletter, called The Periodical, for its members three times each year. View the latest to learn about what the society and it’s members are doing in the community.

SMCR AWARDS

The Society has created and bestowed the following awards which recognize exemplary research, service and other activity promoting greater understanding of menstrual experience and the importance of menstruation to health and well-being:

The Ann Voda Lifetime Achievement Award

This award was created in 1999 in recognition of the valuable contributions that Ann Voda, RN, Ph.D, made during her career as a menstrual cycle researcher and founding member of the Society.  Ann’s research focus was on midlife women’s health and the menopause transition.

As director of the Tremin Trust, one of the largest longitudinal collections of data on women’s health, Dr. Voda and her colleagues explored the natural history of women’s menstrual cycles and their menopause transitions. In 1997, Ann published Menopause, Me and You: The Sound of Women Pausing. Dr. Voda’s body of work is both foundational and catalytic, inspiring future research on the topic.

This award recognizes an outstanding lifetime contribution to menstrual cycle research.

2013: Phyllis Mansfield, PhD

Dr. Mansfield’s research has focused on the menopausal transition. She has authored a substantial number of papers about many aspects of the menopausal experience, including the staging of the menopausal transition, and older women’s sexuality and body image. In addition, she worked closely with Ann Voda to continue the work of the Tremin Trust, an ongoing and extensive longitudinal data set on menstruation and women’s health, which began prior to 1940.

Dr. Mansfield has been a long time member of SMCR, having served on the Board for many years. In addition, she has served as conference coordinator and also as a co-editor of several special issues of journals (e.g., Women & Health, Health Care for Women International, and Women’s Health Issues), which provided wider access to SMCR members’ research.

2011: Jerilynn Prior, MD

Dr. Prior’s distinguished career has explored how disturbances of ovulation and progesterone production are common, even in regular cycles; how progesterone promotes bone formation and is maintenance in young women; and how perimenopause has erratic and higher, or low estrogen levels, contrary to what is widely believed.  In addition, Dr. Prior is the founder (in 2002) and scientific director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation (CeMCOR) which focuses on ovulation and the relevance of progesterone to women’s health.  

Dr. Prior is author of many scientific articles as well as Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Perimenopause and co-author of both The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health and Transitions Through the Perimenopausal Years: Demystifying Your Journey.

Dr. Prior has been a longstanding member of the Society. She has been on the Board of Directors for many years and served as conference coordinator in 2007 and president from 2007-9.

2009: Diana Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Taylor’s lifetime of contributions to women’s health research and to women’s right of access to full reproductive health care has been outstanding. Early in her research career, she began conducting clinical trials to test health promotion strategies to manage premenstrual symptoms. This work has been widely disseminated along with her descriptive longitudinal studies of the menopausal transition of Anglo American, Mexican American, African American and Filipino American midlife women. She is co-author of Taking Back the Month: A Personalized Solution for Managing PMS and Enhancing Your Health.

2007: Joan C. Chrisler, PhD

Dr. Chrisler’s work has been presented at many Society conferences, and she served as president of the Society from 2001 – 2003.  Her research substantively contributes to understanding many dimensions of the menstrual cycle across the lifespan through the lens of feminist psychology. She is particularly interested in the portrayal of menstrual cycle themes in popular media  She has also been active in other areas of women’s health research as well, including serving as the president of the Society for the Psychology of Women.  Dr. Chrisler is well-known for her generous mentoring of student and junior colleagues. A prolific scholar, she has published ten books and dozens of journal articles and book chapters including The Wrong Prescription for Women: How Medicine and Media Create a “Need” for Treatments, Drugs, and SurgeryReproductive Justice: A Global Concern and From Menarche to Menopause, and From Menarche to Menopause: The Female Body in Feminist Therapy . Dr. Chrisler is the founding editor of SMCR’s journal, Women’s Reproductive Health.

2005: Nancy Fugate Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Woods’ extensive research has improved our understanding of the menopausal transition and enhanced nursing care to mid-life women.  In addition to serving as President of the Society, Dr. Woods has been instrumental in influencing the research agendas of the National Institutes of Women’s Health Task Force and Office of Women’s Health Research Advisory Council. Dr. Woods is the author of several important books on women’s healthcare including Culture, Society, and Menstruation (with Virginia Olesen). Over the course of her career, Dr. Woods has served as the President of the American Academy of Nursing, President of the North American Menopause Society, and as Dean of the University of Washington‘s nursing program. She was also elected to the Institute of MedicineNational Academy of Sciences.

2003: Alice J. Dan, PhD

Dr. Dan is one of the founding members of the Society.  She convened SMCR’s first conference in 1977, and again in 1997, marking our 20th anniversary.  She and other founders insisted on looking at the menstrual cycle from a variety of perspectives in order to better understand the role that the cycle plays in women’s lives.  She has published numerous articles on menstrual functioning, and the health consequences of menopause.   In addition to her own research, Dr. Dan edited several books featuring the work of Society colleagues including Menstrual Health in Womens Lives.  These pioneering publications have enhanced the visibility of the cycle as it impacts well-being and they continue to inspire menstrual health scholarship today.

2001: Kathleen I. MacPherson, MA, MS, PhD

Dr. MacPherson was a leader in the field of women’s health who transformed the way nurses and others conceptualized menopause including her groundbreaking 1981 article “Menopause as disease: the social construction of a metaphor.” Dr. MacPherson introduced us to the concept of the “medicalization of normal events” and was a valuable member of the Society as well as mentor, teacher and friend to many SMCR members.

The Mary Anna Friederich Service Award

Dr. Mary Anna Friederich was secretary/treasurer of the Board for 26 years, from 1981-2007 and a founding mother of SMCR. After attending a St. Louis conference in 1978, she volunteered to serve on the original Steering Committee that followed this conference to form the Society.

It was important for our Society to have Mary Anna’s support as a physician; she gave an interdisciplinary perspective on women’s health.

This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding and unusual service contributions to the Society.  It is not given every year but at the discretion of the board to a deserving individual.

2015: Joan Chrisler, PhD and Elizabeth Kissling, PhD

In 2015 this award recognized both Joan Chrisler and Elizabeth Kissling.

A prolific scholar and the author of numerous published articles and books on women’s health, longtime member of SMCR, Joan Chrisler has served the Society in many ways.  She has been a Past President and conference convener and throughout her career has supported the work of many other Society members, by encouraging them to submit their work for publication.  This award recognizes not only her career contributions to SMCR but very importantly, the instrumental role she played in launching SMCR’s own journal, Women’s Reproductive Health, and serving as its inaugural editor.  

Elizabeth Kissling’s research illuminates the intersection of women’s health, sexuality, embodiment and feminism, especially as these issues are represented in entertainment media.  Liz’s expertise on representational messages has benefitted the Society through her efforts to enhance the Society’s currency and impact across the internet. Liz was responsible for updating our listserv communication, creating our website, and maintaining it since its inception, and our establishing and editing our blog. Her behind the scenes work has been invaluable to promoting our visibility in the broader public arena.

2013: Margaret L. (Peggy) Stubbs, PhD

Dr. Stubbs edited the Society’s Newsletter for many years and has actively promoted the publication of conferences papers by working with Dr. Phyllis Mansfield to develop special issue for journals (e.g., Women & Health, Health Care for Women International, and Women’s Health Issues), She co-directed the 2003 conference in Pittsburgh, served as president from 2003-2005 and has brought many of her students to Society meetings.

The Linda McKeever Award

Linda McKeever, DNC, WHCNP, was a dedicated women’s health advocate. In her doctoral research she described women’s models of menopause, portraying the normal perimenopausal  process.  Before her untimely death from a brain tumor in the early 1990s, Linda was an active participant in the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

2015: Amy Dryden

2015: Amy Dryden, from the Center for Health Research, University of Western Sydney, for her presentation, “Young women’s constructions of their post-cancer fertility.”

2013: Cécile Charlap

2013:  Cécile Charlap, doctoral student at the University of Strasbourg for her paper on “The last ones and the memory of them: Construction, representations, and experiences of the last periods before menopause.”

2011: Arpan Yagnik

2011:  Arpan Yagnik for his presentation entitled “Construction of Menstruation in Indian Television Commercials.” This research was conducted at Bowling Green University, where Arpan was a second year doctoral candidate studying communications with an emphasis on health and development.

2009: Nicki Dunnavant

2009: Nicki Dunnavant, a graduate of Colorado College, for her presentation, “Restriction and renewal, pollution and power, constraint and community: The paradoxes of religious women’s experiences of menstruation.”

The Esther Rome Award

Esther Rome was a tireless women’s health advocate as a member of both the Boston Women’s Health Collective and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.  Among other interests, she was passionate about tampon safety:  her testimony before Congress on tampon absorbency was influential in pushing the industry to provide some standardized absorbency information on tampon packaging for consumers.  She presented regularly at SMCR conferences and served on the SMCR Board of Directors until her untimely death from breast cancer in the mid-1990s.  

2015: Saniya Lee Ghanoui

2015: Saniya Lee Ghanoui, a student at the University of Illinois, for her presentation, “Menstrual documentary:  Menstrual education films of the 1970s”

2013: Angela Barney

2013: Angela Barney for her presentation “Out of the menstrual closet: Perceptions of women who leak menstrual blood,” based on her final capstone project for her Women Studies major from SUNY Fredonia.

2011: Meghan McLean

2011: Meghan McLean for her presentation entitled, “Coaches’ Perceptions of a Menstruating Athlete.” She conducted her research as a junior psychology major at Connecticut College program in social psychology.

2009: Clara Hendricks

2009: Clara Hendricks, a graduate of The University of Massachusetts, Boston, for her paper entitled, “Menstrual education the construction of womanhood: A study of Latina second-generation Immigrant.”

Making Menstruation Matter Award

The Making Menstruation Matter award acknowledges a journalist, activist, artist, public figure or organization who has meaningfully contributed to the public understanding of menstrual cycle-related issues.  The point of the award is to recognize AND encourage thoughtful dialogue about the menstrual cycle beyond the academy.

Unlike our other awards, the MMM award is named prior to the biennial conference so that the awardee may arrange to deliver a guest lecture at the conference. The recipient of the Making Menstruation Matter award is invited to showcase their work at the conference.  This award is not given every year but at the discretion of the board to a deserving individual or organization.

2015: Our Bodies Ourselves

2015:  Our Bodies Ourselves. OBOS [formerly the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective] is a non-profit, public interest organization based in the US, which develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality. OBOS’ landmark publication, Our Bodies, Ourselves, has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into more than two dozen languages. The 9th edition published by Simon & Schuster in 2011—40 years after the book’s initial publication –received critical acclaim, including being named one of the best consumer health books of that year by Library Journal.

OBOS then and now

For more than 40 years, Our Bodies, Ourselves has been committed to serving only in the public interest and remains one of the few health groups that does not accept funds from pharmaceutical companies. OBOS’s health information—in book format and online—meets international standard for health research.

Working in collaboration with US and global organizations, in more than 30 countries, OBOS vigorously advocates for women’s health by challenging institutions and systems that devalue women and prevent them from having full control over their bodies and their health.


We honor this group for these efforts and in particular, their pioneering historic work around improving menstrual product safety (through activism spearheaded by Esther Rome) and menstrual health and awareness more generally.

There is no doubt. Our Bodies Ourselves makes menstruation matter in enduringly profound ways.

2013: Gloria Steinem

2013: Our inaugural award recognized feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem, who, in 1978, penned a brilliant satire first appearing in Ms magazine and later in her collected essays  Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. In it, she blew the lid off how gender ideology (read: sexism) shapes how we “do” menstruation.

Nearly 40 years old, this piece STILL hums. Have you read it?

Where tongue meets cheek, Steinem was able to break the menstrual taboo of concealment in under 1000 words. Her bold thought experiment stimulated a conversation that we will keep having until something big shifts in the menstrual discourse.

Until then, Steinem wryly asks:

So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?


Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event:


Men would brag about how long and how much.


Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.


To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.


Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free.

Nearly 40 years out, this prose should be nothing more than a quaint artifact of how things USED TO BE. It should be as relevant today as powder blue leisure suits, wide belts and platform shoes. But the gendered root of the menstrual taboo endures.

Because “If Men Could Menstruate”, near and dear to menstrual cycle advocates old and new, and emblematic of Steinen’s long career of speaking up for women and girls, the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research  chose Steinem as the first recipient of the Making Menstruation Matter award.  

Timing is everything.

At the same time that “If Men Could Menstruate” was published, The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research was forming. Now more than 3 decades later, it seems most appropriate to honor the courage Gloria Steinem has shown throughout her career in articulating and calling attention to women’s realities and imagine something better. To quote Peggy Stubbs, SMCR president:

The intersection of her lifetime achievements and our Society’s interests, is no doubt, an example of how far-reaching Ms. Steinem’s work has extended. For our part, we want to let her know that her work has and continues to energize ours. And we know there are others who, like us, have been and are similarly inspired by Ms. Steinem to continue to work in their own ways to enhance the quality of girls’ and women’s lives.

Click here to hear Steinem’s remarks at the Awards Ceremony.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chris Bobel

President

Chris Bobel is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of social movements, gender, health and embodiment, or how feminist thinking becomes feminist doing at the most intimate and immediate levels. She is the author of The Paradox of Natural Mothering, New Blood: Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation and co-editor of Embodied Resistance: Breaking the Rules, Challenging the Norms. Her current project is an ethnographic study of menstrual health campaigns targeting school girls in the Global South. In short, she finds bodies and their taboos endlessly fascinating.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris

Secretary

Jessica Barnack-Tavlaris, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at The College of New Jersey. Her specialties include attitudes toward menstruation, menstrual suppression, sexual risk, health disparities, and public health. She is the Book/Media Review Editor of SMCR’s journal Women’s Reproductive Health.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Tomi-Ann Roberts

Director

Tomi-Ann Roberts is the Winkler Herman Professor of Psychology at Colorado College. Her research interests include the sexual objectification of girls and women, self- objectification, and consequences of these for emotions and attitudes regarding menstruation and other matters of reproductive health.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Jane Ussher

Director

Jane Ussher is Professor of Women’s Health Psychology at University of Western Sydney. She has been researching gendered health since she started her PhD in 1983. Her research focuses on examining gendered factors underlying mental health problems, subjectivity and identity in relation to the reproductive body and sexuality, and gendered issues in cancer and cancer care.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Janette Perz

Director

Janette Perz is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Health Research at the University of Western Sydney. She researches in the field of reproductive and sexual health with a particular focus on gendered experiences, subjectivity, and identity.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Breanne Fahs

Activist

Breanne Fahs is an Associate Professor of women & gender studies at Arizona State University, where she specializes in studying women’s sexuality, critical embodiment studies, radical feminism, and political activism. She is also a clinical psychologist specializing in sexuality, couples work, and trauma recovery.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Ingrid Johnston-Robledo

Past President

Ingrid is Dean of Arts & Sciences at Castleton State College. Her research specialties include the psychology of women’s embodiment, with particular emphasis on women’s attitudes toward their reproductive functions.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Evelina Weidman Sterling

President Elect

Evelina Weidman Sterling, PhD, MPH, MCHES, is a Lecturer of Sociology at Kennesaw State University, public health educator and researcher specializing in reproductive and women’s health issues. Currently, she serves as an independent consultant having helped dozens of non-profit organizations, universities, and government agencies with all aspects of program development, implementation and evaluation.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Jerilynn Prior

Director

Jerilynn Prior is Professor of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR). She does research related to practical health issues for women such as the prevalence of ovulation disturbances, changes in perimenopause and effects of hot flushes/flashes (vasomotor symptoms).

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Sheryl Mendlinger

Director

Sheryl Mendlinger is with the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University. Her expertise is the intergenerational transmission of knowledge among multicultural populations, focusing on the menstrual cycle.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Maureen McHugh

Director

Maureen McHugh is a Professor of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she teaches Psychology of Women, Human Sexuality, Diversity Issues and Social Psychology. She has published on a wide range of topics including gender differences, feminist methods and violence against women.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

David Linton

Newsletter Editor

David Linton is Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.  His research, teaching and publications focus on the social construction of menstruation, particular via advertising, film and television representations.

Preferred pronouns: he/his

Margaret L. (Peggy) Stubbs

Treasurer

Margaret L. (Peggy) Stubbs is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh PA. Her specialties include psychosocial aspects of menstruation; attitudes towards menstruation, pubertal development; and menstrual education throughout the lifespan.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Mindy J. Erchull

Director

Mindy J. Erchull is a social psychologist who works as an Associate Professor of Psychological Science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  She has broad research interests in feminist identity, the objectification and sexualization of women, and women’s reproductive health.  Her research related to the menstrual cycle center around attitudes and education.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Joan C. Chrisler

Director

Joan C. Chrisler is Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College. Her specialties include PMS, attitudes toward menstruation and menopause, sociocultural aspects of menstruation, and cognitive and behavioral changes across the menstrual cycle. She is the founding editor of SMCR’s journal Women’s Reproductive Health.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Heather Dillaway

Director

Heather Dillaway is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her research focuses primarily on how women’s experiences of menopause and midlife are shaped by their social locations and contemporary social contexts.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Jax J. Gonzalez

Director

Jax J. Gonzalez is a menstrual activist and Masters Candidate in Sociology and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality studies at Brandeis University. Their research surrounds queering menstruation and the potential roles menstrual and sexual subjectivities play in the classroom during puberty curricula in the Elementary setting, or how educators manage “teaching the taboo.”

Preferred pronouns: they/them

Laura Wershler

Blog Editor-in-Chief

Laura Wershler is a veteran women’s health advocate and writer who volunteered and worked for pro-choice sexual and reproductive health organizations in Canada for over 25 years. In 2011 she received a post-graduate certificate in journalism from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. Laura has a special interest in holistic reproductive health care and menstrual cycle advocacy.

Preferred pronouns: she/her

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