A big congratulations to all of the award recipients announced during the 2021 ISSWSH Virtual Annual Meeting.

ISSWSH Humanitarian Service Award 2021 Recipient: Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, MD, MSc, IF

The ISSWSH Humanitarian Award was inspired by the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, and their efforts to bring awareness to and eliminate the use of sexual violence against women as a weapon of war. This is one of many issues that deeply affect women’s sexual health but is not often acknowledged in first world countries.

Dr. Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Valleywise Health Medical Center, where she is the Founding Director of The Refugee Women’s Health Clinic. Part of her postgraduate training was as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan, where she examined disparities in reproductive health care among refugees and immigrants. Dr. Johnson-Agbakwu is also the Director of the Office of Refugee Health and a Research Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. She has nearly 25 years of experience advancing reproductive and sexual health equity for women affected by female genital cutting, as well as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

While Dr. Johnson-Agbakwu has already been the recipient of numerous national, state and community-based awards, her work with immigrant and refugee women is an inspiring example of what this Humanitarian Service Award represents. As designated by Dr. Johnson-Agbakwu, ISSWSH is donating $1,000 in her honor to the Valleywise Health Foundation, a charitable organization that raises funds for Valleywise Health programs, educational resources, research, and critical patient services in the greater Phoenix area.


ISSWSH Distinguished Service Award 2021 Recipient: James A. Simon, MD, CCD, NCMP, IF, FACOG

Dr. James A. Simon has been a formidable influence in the world of endocrinology, gynecology and women’s sexual health for several decades. He maintains a private practice as a reproductive endocrinologist in Washington DC and is a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The George Washington University School of Medicine. His prolific publication record reflects his level of expertise and anyone who has listened to his lectures or presentations or anyone who has conversed with him can attest to his wittiness and insightfulness on everything from molecular mechanisms of disease to clinical pearls; medico-legal matters to governmental policy; or current events to NHL hockey – most importantly, his beloved Washington Capitals.

Thank you, Dr. Simon, for your example of dedication to the field, your visionary leadership of ISSWSH and your continued contributions to our society’s mission. We’re honored to announce that you now join an illustrious group as an ISSWSH Distinguished Service Award recipient.


ISSWSH Fernand Labrie Distinguished Investigator Award 2021 Recipient: Paul Yong, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Dr. Paul Yong, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada and also works at the British Columbia Women's Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis and the British Columbia Centre for Vulvar Health. Dr. Yong is Principal Investigator at the UBC Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Laboratory, is a regular lecturer in the UBC Graduate Program in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences and supervises and teaches medical students during their clinical clerkships in obstetrics and gynecology. He has also been mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, as well as residents and fellows in various research projects for the past 13 years.

As a researcher, Dr. Yong has been awarded approximately $2.5million dollars in funding in the past 8 years. He has developed a substantive body of published work with 93 peer-reviewed publications. Most recently, he has been engaged in research on the role of somatic mutations and local neurogenesis in sexual pain in endometriosis, and is part of a group of investigators developing a patient-reported outcome for sexual pain. Dr. Yong is a member of the editorial boards of several medical journals and serves in various capacities for national and international medical and scientific societies, including being the co-chair of ISSWSH’s Scientific Program Committee for this meeting and will shortly become the chair of the Scientific Program Committee for next year’s annual meeting. That’s just a small glimpse into Dr. Yong’s work and achievements as a clinician, a researcher and an educator. As part of this award, he receives a $5,000 prize with no strings attached. Dr. Yong, on behalf of the ISSWSH leadership and the entire society, congratulations on your award!

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