Midlife Women's Health Center

Midlife Women's Health Center

The Massachusetts General Hospital Midlife Women’s Health Center brings together experts from more than 15 specialties to improve, promote and advance health care for women at menopause and beyond through research, collaboration and education.

Contact us: 617-726-6776

Watch our 2015 community conference


A Leading Resource for Women

The Massachusetts General Hospital Midlife Women's Health Center brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from more than 15 medical specialties to provide leading-edge research, consultations and educational resources for clinicians and patients at menopause and beyond.

Health and quality of life concerns of women at midlife involve almost all areas of health care. Based within the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mass General, the center is a collaboration of specialists in:

  • Gynecology
  • Internal medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Reproductive endocrinology
  • Medical endocrinology
  • Psychiatry
  • Mind body medicine
  • Female pelvic medicine
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Urogynecology
  • Dermatology
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • Rheumatology
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity medicine
  • Social work

By working together, our unique multidisciplinary team hopes to advance care, research and education for health conditions that affect women in midlife.

Advanced Research, Education and Training

One of the priorities of the Midlife Women’s Health Center is to support leading-edge research and educational activities that advance the field of midlife women’s health. Our experts conduct and present research that addresses the special needs of midlife women and aims to improve care during menopause and beyond. Each year, we provide continuing medical education opportunities for health care providers together with a community conference to further knowledge of midlife women’s health.

Watch our 2015 Midlife Women’s Health: Staying Healthy and Well community conference

Our Team

Meet our Multidisciplinary Team

Our specialists are dedicated to improving care for women at menopause and beyond through research, collaboration and education and by connecting patients with appropriate care for their individual needs.

  • Jan Shifren, MD

    Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
    Director, Menopause Program, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Isaac Schiff, MD

    Co-Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
    Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Sujata Somani, MD

    Medical Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
    Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Linda Kelly, NP

    Nursing Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
    Nursing Director, Ambulatory Gynecology

  • William Gerald Austen, Jr., MD

    Chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Department of Surgery

  • Herbert Benson, MD

    Director Emeritus, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine

  • Marcy Bolster, MD

    Director, Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program
    Division of Rheumatology

  • Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH

    Department of Endocrinology

  • Erica Camargo Faye, MD

    Department of Neurology

  • Karen Carlson, MD

    Medical Director, Women’s Health Associates
    Department of Medicine

  • Susan Cummings, MS, RD

    Coordinator, Clinical Programs and Services
    Mass General Weight Center

  • Marcela del Carmen, MD, MPH

    Division of Gynecologic Oncology
    Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Emily Doerr, MSW, LICSW

    Department of Social Service

  • Susan Domolky

    Community Representative

  • Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc

    Senior Research Psychiatrist, Center for Women's Mental Health
    Department of Psychiatry

  • Leslee Kagan, NP, MSN

    Director of Women’s Health, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine

  • Janey Pratt, MD

    Director, Mass General Weight Center
    Department of Surgery

  • Barbara Smith, MD, PhD

    Director, Breast Program
    Co-Director, Gillette Center for Women's Cancers
    Division of Surgical Oncology

  • Sandy Tsao, MD

    Department of Dermatology

  • May Wakamatsu, MD

    Director, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
    Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Debra Weinstein, MD

    Vice President, Partners Graduate Medical Education
    Department of Gastroenterology

  • Malissa Wood, MD

    Co-Director, Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program
    Mass General Heart Center

Patient Education

The Midlife Women’s Health Center serves as a resource for patients and health care providers.

  • Pause Magazine

    Created by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pause Magazine is a guide to midlife health.

  • Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

    Information from the North American Menopause Society on bioidentical hormone therapy

  • Vaginal Dryness

    Information from the North American Menopause Society on vaginal dryness

  • Hot Flashes

    Information from the North American Menopause Society on treating hot flashes

Conditions & Diseases

Health and quality of life concerns of women at midlife involve almost all areas of health care. Our multidisciplinary specialists help patients manage a full range of symptoms related to perimenopause, natural or surgical menopause and life beyond menopause.

  • Acne

    Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The glands become clogged, leading to pimples and cysts.

  • Adjustment Disorders

    An adjustment disorder is defined as an emotional or behavioral reaction to an identifiable stressful event or change in a person's life that is considered maladaptive or somehow not an expected, healthy response to the event or change.

  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die, often resulting in symptoms such as impaired memory, thinking and behavior.

  • Amenorrhea

    Amenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by absent menstrual periods for more than three monthly menstrual cycles.

  • Arthritis

    Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.

  • Atherosclerosis

    Atherosclerosis is a thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

  • Baldness (Alopecia)

    Baldness, also known as alopecia, is hair loss, or absence of hair.

  • Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer is a condition in which certain cells in the breast become abnormal and multiply without control to form a tumor.

  • Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

    Candidiasis, sometimes called moniliasis or a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes.

  • Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine because of a sensitivity to gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. This hereditary disorder interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.

  • Cervical Cancer

    If abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix spread deeper into the cervix, or to other tissues or organs, the disease is then called cervical cancer, or invasive cervical cancer.

  • Cervicitis

    A painful irritation of the cervix, cervicitis often lasts several months or longer, sometimes occurring after childbirth or use of oral contraceptives.

  • Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer is malignant cells found in the colon or rectum.

  • Constipation

    Constipation is a condition in which a person has uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements.

  • Coronary Heart Disease

    Coronary heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up within the walls of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries), forming what is called plaque.

  • Cystocele (Fallen Bladder)

    Cystocele is the name for a hernia-like disorder in women that occurs when the wall between the bladder and the vagina weakens, causing the bladder to drop or sag into the vagina.

  • Depression

    A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things.

  • Diabetes

    Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, or sugar diabetes.

  • Dry Skin

    Dry skin is a very common skin condition, usually characterized by irritated skin and itchiness. Dry skin often worsens in the winter, when the air is cold and dry.

  • Dysmenorrhea

    Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain associated with menstruation.

  • Dysthymia

    Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder (also called mood disorder) that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression.

  • Endometrial Cancer

    Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer.

  • Excessive Hairiness (Hirsutism)

    Excessive hairiness, also known as hirsutism, is characterized by abnormal hair growth on areas of skin that are not normally hairy.

  • Fibrocystic Breast Changes

    Generalized breast lumpiness is known by names such as "fibrocystic disease" and "fibroid breasts." Doctors now believe these are just part of the normal breast changes many women undergo throughout the various stages of their lives.

  • Gallstones

    Gallstones form when bile stored in the gallbladder hardens into stone-like material.

  • Gastritis

    Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) / Heartburn

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes its sufferers chronic and exaggerated worry and tension that seem to have no substantial cause.

  • Hair Loss

    Shedding 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal. When a hair is shed, it is replaced by a new hair from the same follicle and the growing cycle starts again. Scalp hair grows about one-half inch a month. As people age, the rate of hair growth slows.

  • Hair Problems

    Hair problems may be due to cosmetic causes, such as excessive shampooing and blow-drying, or due to underlying diseases, such as thyroid problems.

  • Headache

    A headache is pain or discomfort in the head or face area.

  • Heart Attack

    A heart attack occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

  • Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

    Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.

  • Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are blood vessels, normally present in and around the anus and lower rectum, that have become swollen due to stretching under pressure.

  • Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA1 / BRCA2)

    Hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome is an abnormal version of the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2, which increases a person’s risk of developing various types of cancer

  • High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

    Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.

  • Hypoparathyroidism

    Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that causes the following: crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, changes in bowel habits.

  • Kidney Stones

    A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine.

  • Lactose Intolerance

  • Low Back Pain

    Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.

  • Major Depression

    Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.

  • Menopause

    Menopause refers to the time in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle stops permanently. It is a normal, natural event that occurs in all women.

  • Menorrhagia

    Menorrhagia is the most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding characterized by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding.

  • Metabolic Syndrome

    Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

  • Narcolepsy

    Narcolepsy is a chronic, neurological sleep disorder with no known cause. It involves the body's central nervous system. Narcolepsy is a genetic disorder, but what causes narcolepsy is not yet known.

  • Obesity

    Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

  • Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue, causing weakening of the bones in the hips, spine and wrists.

  • Ovarian cancer

    Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary.

  • Panic Disorder

    Panic disorder is characterized by chronic, repeated, and unexpected panic attacks - bouts of overwhelming fear of being in danger when there is no specific cause for the fear

  • Perimenopause

    Perimenopause refers to the transitional period of time before menstruation actually stops, which is marked by changes in the menstrual cycle, along with other physical and emotional symptoms.

  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

    Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences unpleasant sensations in the legs.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, autoimmune disease, is the most crippling form of arthritis and affects approximately 2.1 million Americans.

  • Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.

  • Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.

  • Stroke

    Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.

  • Thyroid Disorders in Women

    The thyroid gland, which plays an important role in the body's metabolism, secretes several hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin.

  • Urinary Tract Infection

    Urinary tract infections describe a health problem that results from a bacterial infection along the urinary tract.

  • Uterine Cancer

    Cancers that occur in each part of the uterus have their own names, such as cervical cancer or endometrial cancer, but are sometimes broadly defined as uterine cancer because the structure is part of the uterus.

  • Uterine Fibroids

    Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumors of the female reproductive system.

  • Vaginal Cancer

    Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the vagina.

  • Vaginitis

    Vaginitis refers to any inflammation or infection of the vagina.

  • Vascular Headaches and Migraines

    This throbbing type of headache is distinguished by the fact that symptoms other than pain occur with the headache.

  • Vulvar Cancer

    Vulvar cancer is a malignancy that can occur on any part of the external organs, but most often affects the labia majora or labia minora.

  • Vulvitis

    Vulvitis is simply an inflammation of the vulva, the soft folds of skin outside the vagina.

  • Vulvovaginal Atrophy

    Vulvovaginal atrophy refers to a condition when a woman develops pain, dryness, itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva caused by low estrogen levels, usually as a result of menopause.


Midlife Women's Health Center

Founder's Building, 5th floor
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-6776

Clinical Trials


Learn more about health concerns and approaches to treatment for women in midlife, as well as educational events for patients, health care providers and community partners.

  • Coordinated care offers freedom from pelvic floor disorders - 12/20/2010, Mass General

    With the help of coordinated, multidisciplinary care provided by physicians in the MGH Pelvic Floor Disorder Service, 39-year-old patient Nicole Ortuno is once again living a normal, healthy life.

  • Pelvic floor disorders: What you should know - 5/4/2010, Clinical

    Nearly one in three American women has one or more pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. The Pelvic Floor Disorders Service at Mass General offers a range of non-surgical and surgical options for treatment.

  • Promoting the benefits of Pap smears - 12/4/2009, Mass General

    MGH Hotline 12.04.09 The inspiration for creating the CBS Cares public service Pap smears web campaign – featuring MGH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Chief Isaac Schiff, MD, and gynecologic surgeon Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH – began when a CBS Cares producer overheard a conversation between two women while dining at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village.

  • There is life after a pelvic floor disorder - 5/11/2009, Mass General

    Nearly one-third of American women have one or more pelvic floor disorders such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence or pelvic-organ prolapse. The Pelvic Floor Disorders Service at Mass General offers expert care and helps bring lasting relief to those suffering from a pelvic floor disorder.


Learn more about health concerns and approaches to treatment for women in midlife.

Contact us: 617-726-6776

Watch our 2015 community conference

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