Since joining the faculty in 1995, Stacie Geller, PhD, has played an integral role in the area of women’s health, both domestically and internationally. While she is involved in many different areas of women’s health research, she says her “global maternal-health work is the most meaningful work I do.”
“I have been working globally, primarily in Africa and Southeast Asia, to reduce death and morbidity from postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). I have been able to conduct NIH-funded clinical trials to examine the efficacy and safety of drugs to reduce PPH and then translate those findings to change Ministry of Health policy within a country and implement workable programs in the field.”
As a testament to the impact her work has in these nations, Dr. Geller was installed as Development Queen Mother of the Manso Nkwanta Traditional Area in Ghana by the Queen Mother and King of Manso Nkwanta. She is now known in the area as Nana Akosua Kannin I. The king asked Dr. Geller to contribute to the area by helping to improve education for girls and decrease teenage pregnancy.
Dr. Geller completed an NIH funded five-year National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) randomized clinical trial comparing the use of oral misoprostol to standard care to reduce PPH in rural India. This study found that with a simple intervention, such as misoprostol, PPH could be reduced by 50 percent. She is currently working with the MacArthur and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations to implement a continuum of care model to reduce PPH in India, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Dr. Geller also serves as director of the Center for Research on Women and Gender (CRWG) and head of the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, where she promotes collaborative multidisciplinary work related to women’s lives.
When asked to describe her research, Dr. Geller said, “My work is about helping those that need help the most—those who are most vulnerable and without other resources.”
UIC was designated a National Center of Excellence by the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 1998 and was named an Ambassador for Change in 2006. The program is designed to integrate biomedical expertise with the grass roots women’s health vision and emphasizes partnership across disciplines and professions, between academics and communities, and between health-care providers and patients. Dr. Geller also serves as principal investigator of the NIH-funded women’s health research career development program, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH).
Under Dr. Geller’s leadership, the CRWG’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, which encourages girls and young women in math and science, received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. The award, announced by President Obama in January 2011, honored WISE’s mentoring initiatives and included a $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work. Dr. Geller had the honor of meeting President Obama in the Oval Office.
Her commitment to improving the lives of women around the world was recognized by the UIC campus in 2010 when she was selected as the UIC Woman of the Year. Established in 1992, this annual award honors a UIC woman who has consistently worked on women’s issues beyond the call of duty and who is an exemplary role model. Dr. Geller was nominated by Sarah Kilpatrick, MD, PhD, who wrote: “Stacie is an ideal candidate for this award because she has directly, positively impacted women through her research, her mentorship, and her leadership.”