Translational Research
Dr. Pedro T. Ramirez and Elaine Finger take a moment to catch up at Houston Methodist Hospital
Dr. Pedro T. Ramirez dreams big. As chair of the Houston Methodist Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he envisions a world where women receive the care they need throughout their lives, regardless of social status, age or ethnicity. A world where that care includes novel therapeutics like molecular targeting to define personalized treatments for cancer. Where enhanced recovery after surgery improves patient outcomes. And where innovative treatments borne out of cutting-edge research bring knowledge and understanding to new heights.
Women in the U.S. currently trail their counterparts in other high-income countries in terms of health status. In fact, women’s health disparities were cited as a public health priority by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Research on Women’s Health. Disproportionately affected by issues such as chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, depression, osteoporosis and dementia, American women also face a rising frequency of maternal morbidity and mortality.
These surprising statistics were what prompted Elaine Finger’s generous decision to partner with Dr. Ramirez by establishing the Elaine W. Finger Distinguished New Century Chair in Women’s Health — a position that will enable Dr. Ramirez to grow the department’s reach and breadth.
“Elaine and I share a vision for women’s health. Her gift allows us to expand the scope of our research and identify new ways to tackle the health conditions that are unique to women,” says Dr. Ramirez. “We are extremely grateful.”
Finger has been involved in advancing women’s health since she co-chaired a Houston Methodist luncheon at which former first lady Barbara Bush spoke on inequities in women’s health care. For nearly 20 years, Elaine and her late husband, Marvy Finger, committed their resources toward medical advances at Houston Methodist. With this first gift since his untimely death in 2022, Finger was intent on making another meaningful contribution toward health care.
“Dr. Ramirez’s extensive research background demonstrates a level of curiosity and insight that offers real promise in the field of women’s health,” says Finger. “I’m looking forward to these issues getting more of the attention they deserve.”
The new endowed position will home in on gaps in care and the need for an increase in women’s health studies. Dr. Ramirez’s plan includes ensuring patients receive timely, seamless care as well as benefit from a robust research program targeting female-specific conditions and effective diagnostic and treatment options. Ultimately, Finger and Dr. Ramirez foresee the creation of a comprehensive women’s wellness center that provides women of all ages and backgrounds with powerful education and prevention tools, including mental health and wellness resources.
Finger reveals that what excites her most about philanthropy — besides the chance to influence medical progress — is her participation on various trustee boards, including the Houston Methodist Academic Institute board.
“It really is exhilarating to be in the same room with diverse peers, all working toward the same mission and goals,” she reflects. “There’s nothing like working together on a shared cause.”