As a clinician who has practiced in the Women's Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic for over 10 years and has evaluated and treated women with menopausal, hormonal and sexual health concerns, Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D., has a broad interest in women's health. Dr. Faubion's research encompasses sex- and gender-based differences in disease, menopause, hormone therapy, healthy aging, and sexual health and dysfunction in women.
In Dr. Faubion's role as director of the Women's Health Clinic and Office of Women's Health, she is acutely aware of the need to improve the evidence base for medical practice. Her role in the research community is guided by the need to develop research strategies that will improve the clinical practice. Thus, research questions come directly from the clinical dilemmas faced every day in medical practice.
In order to expand an evidence-based practice, Dr. Faubion's research group has developed a clinical database: the Data Registry on Experiences of Aging, Menopause and Sexuality (DREAMS). This database, developed in 2005, already has extensive longitudinal data with over 7,000 patients and has facilitated multiple research projects. In this context, Dr. Faubion has encouraged and directed strong research collaborations with established clinical and basic science researchers within the institution.
- Factors impacting menopause. In collaboration with clinician researchers and basic scientists, Dr. Faubion developed and refined a clinically based database for Mayo's Women's Health Clinic. As the clinical concerns of women in Dr. Faubion's practice surfaced, DREAMS was developed. Dr. Faubion is interested in patterns and variations in the experience of menopausal symptoms based on variables such as caffeine intake and a history of recent domestic abuse. By understanding that the experience of menopause is impacted not only by women's physiology, but also by their environment, their relationships, and their psychological and emotional health, it is possible to guide health care providers in the management of menopausal women.
- Sexual health and cancer. Dr. Faubion is collaborating with others to develop and operationalize a national registry on female sexual health and cancer. Because of Dr. Faubion's clinical work with women experiencing sexual dysfunction following a diagnosis of cancer, she recognizes the impact cancer may have on women's sexual health and relationships. This work has also led to her involvement with the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer. Dr. Faubion hopes to align the DREAMS database with this national registry in order to better understand how cancer impacts sexual health and determine best practices to manage sexual dysfunction in this setting.
- Premature and early menopause. Dr. Faubion has a keen interest in the significant difficulties experienced by women going through premature menopause (before age 40) or early menopause (age 40 to 45). The most common cause of premature or early menopause is surgery, which causes a sudden loss of ovarian hormones and particularly severe symptoms. In addition, current evidence suggests significant adverse long-term health effects of early estrogen deprivation in the absence of hormone replacement. Dr. Faubion is working with Walter A. Rocca, M.D., on the Rochester Epidemiology Project, involving a cohort of women experiencing early bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy who are paired with age-matched controls. The aim of this study is to further evaluate the development of chronic disease in women experiencing premature or early menopause, and to determine if they have an accelerated course of aging, or are at increased risk of certain diseases related to early estrogen deprivation.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Faubion views women's health from a global perspective and appreciates the importance of, and need for, continued research into female physiology and pathophysiology, which will provide the necessary evidence base for practice guidelines. This focus on the importance of sex as a biological variable has also been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Research on Women's Health, and is key to the concept of individualizing and personalizing medicine. Working collaboratively within the research training community, Dr. Faubion is developing positions that will help to direct future research endeavors.
- Fellow, International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health, 2015
- Director, Office of Women's Health, Mayo Clinic, 2014-present
- Director, Women's Health Clinic, Division of General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2012-present
- Member, North American Menopause Society, 2012