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Future Fertility welcomes new advisory board members heading into 2024

The group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare

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Future Fertility, the pioneer of AI-powered oocyte assessment, has proudly announced the expansion of its advisory board.

This distinguished group is comprised of professionals at the forefront of reproductive medicine, artificial intelligence and global healthcare. The advisory board’s members bring a wealth of expertise that spans clinical practice, embryology, scientific research, commercial strategy and AI integration.

Future Fertility held its inaugural advisory board meeting at this year’s ASRM congress in New Orleans, bringing the group together to reflect on the company’s progress in 2023 and identify areas for growth and support into 2024 and beyond.

“As a technology company that serves such a specialised area of medicine and laboratory practice, having the means to gain practical feedback, guidance and advice from industry experts will ensure our products continue to evolve in a way that meets the needs of our clients, and ultimately patients, worldwide,” says Christy Prada, CEO of Future Fertility.

“We are lucky to have such an inspiring group of leaders in their field supporting our ambitions.”

New members of Future Fertility’s advisory board include:

Sebastian Bohl – VP, Global Head of Product Planning & Portfolio Expansion, GBF Fertility at Merck Healthcare

Sebastian Bohl is an accomplished entrepreneurial leader with a diverse background that spans the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices sectors. His global and in-country roles have honed expertise in commercial strategy, marketing, consulting, and business development. With a keen drive for innovation and efficiency, he consistently delivers high performance, exemplifying a commitment to refining business models and organisational structures for optimal results. Mr Bohl’s commercial expertise aligns with Future Fertility‘s ambitions for growth in 2024.

Dr Kate Devine – Medical Director and Chief Research Officer, US Fertility

Dr Kate Devine is US Fertility’s Medical Director and Chief Research Officer. As a board-certified REI (Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist), she treats patients in Washington DC and was Shady Grove’s Research Director for over a decade. In her role as CRO at US Fertility, she leads a dedicated research division, expanding medical care in the field while also overseeing a culture of medical excellence at the network of clinics.  She has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and has a special focus on endometrial receptivity and optimization of frozen transfer cycles.

Dr Kathy Miller – Chief Scientific Officer, Innovation Fertility

Dr Kathy Miller, with a deep background of combined experience in research and laboratory management, serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Innovation Fertility and is also the Vice President of MedTech For Solutions. She has authored over 100 abstracts, papers, and chapters on her research, which focuses on advancements in blastocyst culture, pre-implantation genetics and other new technologies such as time-lapse and artificial intelligence. This focus makes her a valuable contributor to Future Fertility’s pursuit of innovation.

Dr Mitch Rosen – Fertility Physician and Director, UCSF Fertility Preservation Program

Based at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, Dr Mitch Rosen is an expert in reproductive endocrinology and fertility, uniquely holding multiple clinical and laboratory roles. He is a fertility physician and high complexity lab director (HCLD), as well as an Associate Professor at UCSF where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows. His commitment to medical education and research enhances the clinical and scientific depth of Future Fertility’s advisory team.

Dr Prati Sharma – Reproductive Endocrinologist, CReATe

Dr Prati Sharma, a distinguished REI at CReATe in Toronto, brings a patient-centric approach to the advisory board. Active in various medical associations across North America, her extensive training and board certifications underscore her commitment to providing exceptional patient care. Dr Sharma combines her love for research in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility with “patient-centred” clinical practice.

These new advisory board members join the following established members:

Dr Angie Beltsos – CEO Clinical and Medical Director, Kindbody

Dr Angie Beltsos is a board-certified REI and Chief Executive Physician of Kindbody, a national network of fertility clinics and fertility benefits provider in the US. She is also the founder and was CEO and CMO of Vios Fertility Institute – a network of fertility clinics. She has received numerous awards and is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally, and a frequent media resource on the topic of infertility. Dr Beltsos is the executive chairperson for the Midwest Reproductive Symposium International and continues to educate and mentor REI doctors and students of all stages of education.

Dr Avi Goldfarb – Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Professor Goldfarb’s leadership and groundbreaking research at the intersection of AI and healthcare provides pivotal insights in shaping Future Fertility’s responsible and interpretable AI solutions.

Dr Jim Meriano – Director, Embryology Laboratory, TRIO Fertility

Dr Jim Meriano has been instrumental in shaping and advancing Future Fertility’s AI-based oocyte assessment solutions. His extensive experience as an embryologist and lab director, spanning over 30 years in the field of fertility, has significantly contributed to the company’s research and academic insights.

Dr Rita Vassena – Founder and CEO, Fecundis

Dr Rita Vassena brings more than two decades of expertise in biomedical and fertility research to Future Fertility. With a notable tenure as the Global Scientific Director at Eugin Group and two terms as an Executive Member of ESHRE, she has co-authored over 110 fertility research papers. Currently leading Fecundis, Dr Vassena’s extensive experience and leadership will enrich Future Fertility’s scientific strategy.

With this accomplished advisory board, Future Fertility looks ahead to a year of commercial growth and innovation in 2024. The diverse expertise spanning clinical, embryology, commercial strategy and research uniquely positions the company to contribute significantly to its mission of developing AI-based solutions that solve real information gaps across the fertility journey.

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‘It’s hard to stay healthy’- experts raise alarm over ‘pervasive’ economic challenges in US

A report highlighting women’s struggle with economic stress in the US has prompted experts to demand change

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Experts have raised concerns over the “pervasive” economic and health challenges women in the US are facing, after a damning report exposed significant financial stress.

national survey of women over 25 has found that American women face significant economic stress, with half of women reporting feeling “uncertain” or “worried” when thinking about how to pay for healthcare later in life and low-income and rural women reporting challenges to staying healthy today.

The report, which highlighted financial difficulties among women for the second year in a row, has prompted experts to speak out and demand change.

“The recent findings from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) underscore the pervasive economic and health challenges confronting American women, particularly those from low-income and rural communities,” Georgie Kovacs, women’s health expert and founder of Fempower Health, told Femtech World.

“Many women juggle caregiving responsibilities for their children while managing employment, often in environments that offer limited support.

“The scarcity of healthy food options in low-income areas, coupled with restricted access to essential healthcare services, exacerbates their daily struggles, impacting both their mental and physical health and that of their families.”

Underlining the “profound” impact of the menopause transition, Kovacs said women across the country are in desperate need of enhanced workplace policies and better access to specialised care.

“Our approach to addressing these challenges cannot be piecemeal – we require comprehensive systems that integrate childcare, health services, job security and mental health support, ensuring that no aspect of a woman’s health is overlooked,” she explained.

“It is imperative that we view the economic insecurities faced by women through a holistic lens, recognising the interconnectedness of health, employment and wellbeing.

“It’s time for all stakeholders, including government bodies and private sectors, to unite in crafting and implementing solutions that are as multifaceted as the lives of the women they aim to support.”

Katie Higgins, chief commercial officer at fertility benefits platform Progyny, called on employers to do more to support women, arguing that the pressure of financial uncertainty could “erode” self-esteem, strain relationships and compound parental stress.

“Balancing financial pressures with caregiving responsibilities can heighten feelings of guilt and inadequacy, impacting maternal mental health.

“Employers play a vital role in empowering women to prioritise their health without financial barriers through comprehensive benefits that include family building, fertility, maternal leave and menopause.”

Lois Quam, chief executive officer at sexual and reproductive health organisation Pathfinder International, noted that there is an important connection between health and income, meaning that women with the least financial resources often find themselves unable to access health services and modern innovations.

“From rural areas to the wealthiest cities in the world, women everywhere are being left behind. In the US and globally, they get paid and promoted less than men and leave the workforce at greater numbers to raise their children.

“Closing the gender pay gap could help keep women in the workforce, especially when childcare is so costly and inaccessible,” she told Femtech World.

Author and women’s health expert, Dr Mindy Pelz, encouraged women to “take control” of their health.

“It’s hard to stay healthy, even without the added pressure of economic stress,” she said.

“Many women just can’t rely on the American healthcare system to take care of them. That’s why I’m such an advocate for taking your health into your own hands.

“Simple lifestyle changes like intermittent fasting, meditation, cold exposure, walking 10,000 steps a day, avoiding electronics before bed might seem small on their own, but if you add them together and are consistent with them over time, they can make a huge difference.”

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Wellness app introduces menopause and migraine education content

Through its new sponsorship from Pfizer, Rosy will provide women in the US with free evidence-based resources

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Dr Lyndsey Harper, founder and CEO of Rosy

The US sexual wellness app Rosy is to introduce new content focused on menopause and migraine education.

Rosy, a digital platform currently available in the US and Canada, aims to reduce the shame and stigma around women’s health and provide a multidisciplinary approach that supports women holistically.

Now, through its new sponsorship from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Rosy will provide women in the US with free “evidence-based” resources, rolled out in two phases.

The first will focus on menopause and the second on migraine, with the overall goal of empowering women to take their health into their own hands.

Each year, an estimated one million Americans reach menopause, which can coincide with symptoms like vaginal dryness, decreased sensation and libido, pelvic floor issues and urinary problems.

Historically, these issues have gone ignored and unaddressed, with 73 per cent of women not receiving treatment.

Through the first phase of the sponsorship from Pfizer, Rosy will aim to create a series of modules to increase awareness surrounding menopause-related topic, which will include symptoms, diagnosis, lifestyle change to support symptom relief and potential treatment options.

During phase two, the company will focus on patient awareness modules for women suffering from migraine, a leading cause of disability worldwide among young adult women.

“We’re thrilled to be building out our network and offering free educational resources to women, empowering them to confidently take action regarding important, lifetime health concerns,” said Dr Lyndsey Harper, founder and CEO of Rosy.

“Our larger goal is not just to inform women, but also provide them with personalised recommendations for evidence-based interventions to support them on their journey to optimal health.

“With continued scale, our educational modules have the ability to change not only the health of individuals but the health of larger populations as well.”

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Group Black launches platform to help Black women advocate for their health

The platform aims to address racial health inequalities and help Black women better advocate for themselves

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The Black-owned media company Group Black has launched a digital platform to empower Black women to better advocate for their health.

She’s Good [For Real] will serve as Group Black’s first-owned brand in the multicultural marketing space. Actress and singer Tatyana Ali joining will join as a spokesperson and community ambassador.

Group Black will support Baby Yams, Ali’s first venture in the retail space. Her initial offering is a handmade baby quilt of which proceeds will go to Black midwives and doulas across the US.

“When it comes to maternal health, I believe Black women should be at the centre of the conversation,” Ali said.

“This is why I am so eager to partner with Group Black to help bring She’s Good [For Real] to life. The time is now, and to combat the racial bias in our healthcare system, we must continue to educate ourselves on the issues.

“She’s Good [For Real] is a resource for us to take our power back and get the support we need in our maternal journeys.”

Black women in the US are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes and, according to the NIH, they are 50 per cent less likely than their non-Black counterparts to seek treatment for mental health issues.

She’s Good [For Real] aims to address these disparities and help Black women better advocate for themselves.

The platform aims to reach Black women through social content, editorial and video content from experts in the healthcare field and community engagement.

“As Black women, we bravely proclaim ‘I’m good’ when asked how we’re doing – giving the impression we’re virtually indestructible,” said Ashley Banks, senior vice president at Group Black.

“We’re learning to be our own advocates, but we need more organisations to illuminate and address the healthcare issues unique to our community, hence the creation of She’s Good.”

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