The Columbus Dispatch
OSU plans women’s health research center
Soter, foundation pledge $15M for the program
A new $15 million research center focused on making women’s health more equitable is coming to Ohio State University.
Sarah “Sally” Ross Soter and the Soter Kay Foundation pledged the gift to Ohio State’s College of Medicine to establish the Sarah Ross Soter Women’s Health Research Program, according to a university news release.
The funding will create “a multidisciplinary translational research hub that discovers new therapies to prevent and treat diseases that disproportionately affect women,” according to the university.
“Sally Soter and her family care deeply about Ohio State, having been generous donors and volunteers for many years. We are honored to receive this investment that will build upon Ohio State’s excellent women’s health research and care,” said Dr. John J. Warner, CEO of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
The program will have a dedicated “neighborhood” of eight labs at the new Pelotonia Research Center, which opened earlier this month on Ohio State’s West Campus expansion, now called Carmenton.
Two endowed professorships for postdoctoral fellows and young clinicians will be a feature of the program. The funding also will support and expand the OSU College of Medicine’s health equity programs for women from underrepresented communities to have equitable access to clinical trials and discoveries.
Soter’s interest in women’s health and well-being dates back two decades to a Wexner Medical Center cardiology waiting area. While reading a magazine, she found an article titled, “Women & Heart Disease: Is your biggest worry breast cancer? Think again.”
“When I read that article, I knew that something had to be done,” Soter said. “I am thrilled to be able to do
something like this. I don’t believe people are treated equally, and that has to change. I like to find out the crux of the problem and correct it.”
Certain conditions — like cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and anxiety and depression — disproportionately afflict women. Studies show that women also experience drug side effects more often than men.
“Today’s inadequacies in women’s health are not destined to be tomorrow’s reality,” said Dr. Carol Bradford, dean of the OSU College of Medicine and vice president for health sciences. “With this gift, we will lead the way in defining the best prevention and treatments for women — creating new standards of care that save and improve women’s lives around the world.”
This isn’t the Soter family’s first gift to Ohio State. The Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital is named in honor of Sally’s late father, and in 2005, Soter established an endowed chair in women’s cardiovascular health research, held by her own cardiologist, Dr. Laxmi Mehta.
In 2019, Soter received the American Heart Association’s Award of Meritorious Achievement for her work advocating for women’s heart health email@example.com @sheridan120