Meet Aparna Shah, MD, FACOG, Women’s Health
Medpace is pleased to announce that Dr. Aparna Shah has joined Medpace’s women’s health medical leadership team. Dr. Aparna Shah completed a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, followed by a three-year fellowship in Urogynecology. Since completing medical school, she has worked in both academic and hospital-based settings and now has over 20 years of post-graduate clinical experience in women’s healthcare across the age spectrum. While practicing, she has pursued academic research and presented on various women’s health-related conditions. She is eager to bring her extensive experience in women’s healthcare to Medpace.
How does your prior experience translate into the work you do at Medpace?
Dr. Shah’s years of experience caring for women with gynecologic and urogynecologic conditions have provided her with an excellent understanding of women’s healthcare and the unmet needs within this therapeutic area. She has in-depth knowledge regarding disease processes and pathophysiology unique to women, relevant outcome measures, and standards of care. She finds that her role at Medpace can utilize the knowledge and experience she has gained in caring for women for over two decades to facilitate the design and execution of clinical trials to improve healthcare outcomes and quality of life for women.
What drew you to Medpace?
In caring for women over the years, Dr. Shah mentioned it was hard not to appreciate the many unmet needs within the women’s health therapeutic area. After providing care on a patient-by-patient basis for over two decades, she ultimately wanted to approach women’s healthcare with a broader lens and positively impact women on a larger scale. Medpace particularly drew her to medical monitoring with a wide array of therapeutic expertise fully embedded within the clinical trial process, from inception to completion, and integrated across all functional areas. She notes that the idea of improving women’s healthcare with the opportunity to contribute her real-world clinical and scientific experience to the design of clinical trials is fascinating to her.
What challenges, considerations, or risks are specific to women’s health clinical development?
She emphasizes that women’s healthcare is an area ripe for development. There are so many conditions for which currently available therapeutic options are suboptimal, and thus there is a tremendous need to study therapeutics targeted toward women’s health. As noted by the FDA, it’s critical to learn about diverse populations of women from racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic perspectives, as well as from the perspective of including women with a range of medical conditions. As far as challenges, first and foremost, she notes that women may feel uncomfortable participating in gynecologic trials because of the sensitive and personal nature of gynecologic health concerns. Additionally, she notes that women often have childcare responsibilities on top of occupational responsibilities, and this can make it challenging for women to participate in clinical trials from a time perspective. Finally, Dr. Shah points out that women’s healthcare needs change dramatically from the childbearing period to the menopausal period and beyond. Thus, recruiting for women’s health-focused clinical trials may require the recruitment of adolescents, pregnant women, and geriatric patients depending on the nature of the trial, and recruitment of these populations poses unique challenges.
What topics within women’s health do you find crucial in the clinical trial industry?
Within the women’s health space, there are numerous topics where there is significant room for growth and introduction of novel therapeutics. As a urogynecologist, she notes that there is a tremendous need for additional treatment options for urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, overactive bladder, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, recurrent urinary tract infections, vulvodynia, and bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis. These are spaces in which many women are not able to achieve adequate relief with currently available treatment options. From a general gynecologic perspective, she notes that there is room for growth in the management of endometriosis, fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, contraception, osteoporosis, and sexually transmitted infections, to name just a few.
What motivates you and your interest in clinical research- specifically in women’s health?
Dr. Shah finds that women’s health has always been an area of focus and motivation for her. She has cared for women exclusively for so many years and realizes how many gaps exist in currently available treatment options for many gynecologic conditions. She notes that it is the combination of being passionate about women’s healthcare and the knowledge that improvements and innovations are needed in this space that motivate her when it comes to clinical research focused on women’s healthcare.