Awardees & Updates – 2009

2009 Jane Walentas Women’s Health Research Award

Dr. Pouneh Fazeli, MD of Harvard Medical School, to support research of a potential treatment for bone loss in women with anorexia nervosa over the age of 35 years old. Anorexia nervosa (AN), a psychiatric disorder characterized by self-imposed starvation has a high morbidity and mortality rate. While AN is most commonly thought of as an adolescent or college-aged disease, there is increasing evidence of a rapid rise in the number of peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women being diagnosed. For example, the Renfew Center, the nation’s oldest inpatient eating disorders facility, recently reported that nearly 25% of their patient population was older than age 35, representing a 70% increase in that age group over prior years. For women with AN as well as those in recovery, bone loss is one of the most common medical complications. Osteoporosis and bone fractures are seven times more likely as compared to healthy women of a similar age. Right now there is no effective treatment for bone loss in AN sufferers. Treatments for bone loss in otherwise healthy women do not work with this growing population. This study will test the use of parathyroid hormone (PTH) as a possible treatment for anorexia-induced bone loss in women over age 35.

Lead investigator, Dr. Pouneh Fazeli, MD is a clinical and research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fazeli received an M.D. and Masters in Bioethics from Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania Medical School. She has received numerous honors most recently a Young Investigator Award from The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Medical Society.


In 2014, FWW awardee Dr. Pouneh Fazeli, MD of Harvard Medical School published her research about treatment for improving bone health in adult women with anorexia nervosa in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.