Since its founding in 2008, the Women and Infants Health Specimen Consortium (WIHSC) has formed a critical central research infrastructure for the Washington University academic community.
The establishment of such a core has been essential for the success of clinical and translational research in clinically important issues in women’s health, such as pregnancy-specific reference intervals, pre-eclampsia, recurrent pregnancy loss, pre-term delivery and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, as well as gynecologic pathologies such as endometriosis and sexually transmitted diseases.
Founded by Drs. Kelle Moley, Ann Gronowski and Marwan Shinawi of the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pathology & Immunology and Pediatrics respectively, the consortium now provides specimens to many academic departments at Washington University, including Pediatrics, Microbiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pathology, Internal Medicine and Developmental Biology. Many sub-studies using WIHSC specimens and data involve multidisciplinary collaboration from the departments involved in the consortium.
WIHSC enrolls subjects from several clinics at the Washington University Medical Center, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH), which is the largest tertiary care center in the State of Missouri. Averaging 3,500 deliveries a year, BJH is a major provider of obstetrical services to underserved populations in the City of St. Louis, as well as the sole provider of perinatal (high risk obstetrics) and prenatal diagnosis services within the city. In addition, many of the women who receive care at community clinics within the City of St. Louis deliver at BJH.
WIHSC also enrolls from the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) program offered in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Washington University Medical Center. ART performs the largest number of in vitro fertilization cycles in the St. Louis area. Patients represent a broad range of socioeconomic groups since roughly half are from Illinois and have mandated fertility/in vitro fertilization (IVF) insurance coverage, and the other half, from Missouri, are often self-pay patients.
WIHSC is funded by The Children’s Discovery Institute and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award. Sub-studies may receive additional funding through individual grants and principal investigators.
The Women and Infants Health Specimen Consortium would like to acknowledge:
- The Children’s Discovery Institute and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award for their funding.
- Drs. Herbert Virgin and George Macones for their support.
- The faculty and staff at the REI Clinic, 4444 Forest Park, for allowing the WIHSC to launch their efforts at that site.
- The ICTS Tissue Procurement Core (TPC).
- Our additional recruitment sites on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital campus including the Center for Advanced Medicine, the Women’s Health Clinic and Labor & Delivery.
- The WIHSC team and the Division of Clinical Research for their efforts in recruiting participants, collecting specimens and working to make the project successful.
- Our participants, for their generous donations and willingness to participate.