Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) director of reproductive infectious disease, OB/GYN physician Yasaswi Kislovskiy, MD, has been appointed to serve on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women.
The task force advises Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the gaps in knowledge and research regarding safe and effective therapies for pregnant and lactating women, and makes recommendations on actions that could be taken by HHS to address these gaps.
Dr. Kislovskiy joined AHN in 2021, practicing out of AHN West Penn Hospital and AHN Federal North outpatient center in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood. She also serves as the co-director of the network’s Perinatal Hope Program for expectant mothers with substance abuse disorder.
The research task force she now sits on was established by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, a major piece of health care legislation that authorized significant changes at NIH and other U.S. health agencies, providing new funds for medical research, mental health programs, and more.
The task force, which has been meeting since 2017, includes federal officials from NIH and its Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the HHS Office on Women’s Health, among other agencies.
The task force also invites a rotating cast of non-federal members from various medical societies, non-profit organizations, and within the health care industry, according to the NIH.
Members of the task force review current research on pregnancy and lactation, and identify ethical issues surrounding the inclusion of pregnant women and nursing mothers in clinical research.
For example, of the more than six million women in the United States who become pregnant in a given year, roughly 90 percent take at least one medication during pregnancy or lactation. But in many cases, insufficient information exists to guide the care and treatment of pregnant women – for instance, medication dosing amounts that have been approved for the general population may or may not safely apply to pregnant or nursing women, because the issue has never been studied.
“Pregnant and lactating women have been historically excluded from clinical research, out of an abundance of caution for both mother and baby,” said Dr. Kislovskiy. “However, that caution has led to an absence of the kinds of evidence-based data that would help to better inform prenatal and postpartum clinical decisions. It’s critically important that we as a task force highlight these gaps and challenge that historical perspective, so the scientific and medical community can best incorporate these patients in future studies, safely and purposefully.”
Dr. Kislovskiy specializes in comprehensive care for patients living with HIV, peripartum challenges, and severe gynecologic infections. She also focuses her efforts on preventive health solutions and treatment for various sexually transmitted diseases and viral infections.
Most recently, she was the lead investigator in a research study published in Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment (doi: 10.1177/11782218211046261) which looked at nine expectant women undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C. Interviews showed that treatment of Hep C during pregnancy gave women an increased sense of self-esteem and well-being, and also increased trust with providers.
“Dr. Kislovskiy is deeply committed to the health and well-being of marginalized and minority populations, working alongside patients to listen, learn and care for them. Her dedication to research initiatives, paired with her compassionate care delivery, make her an invaluable asset to Allegheny Health Network,” said Marcia Klein-Patel, MD, PhD, Chair of AHN Women’s Institute. “We’re extremely excited about her appointment to the NIH task force, as it’s yet another significant milestone in her ongoing practice to improve care for obstetric patients and highlight the need for evidence-based decisions throughout the prenatal and postpartum journey.”
Dr. Kislovskiy received her medical degree from Michigan State University and completed her residency and fellowship in OB/GYN at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. In addition to her practice at AHN, she also serves as an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine and clinical instructor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, multiple employed physician organizations, home and community based health services, a research institute, and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more. AHN employs approximately 22,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
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