Centre for Reproductive Health

Women’s Health focused outreach at Portobello High School

Dr Varsha Jain (Critchley lab) and Ginnie Clark (Communications and Engagement Manager for the CRH) visited Portobello High School on 12.12.23 to run an interactive outreach session with 40 students studying Higher Biology.

Dr Varsha Jain and the Higher Biology students at Portobello High School
Dr Varsha Jain and the Higher Biology students at Portobello High School
Dr Jain answers further questions from students following the Q&A

Following a brief introduction on the research themes with the Centre for Reproductive Health, Dr Jain covered a range of topics that the students had pre-selected including; what led her to become a scientist, challenges she’s experienced along the way, her work with NASA, and her current research focus of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding.

The students were captivated (you could have heard a pin drop) as Varsha led them on a journey of her own life and career experiences, including the importance of having faith in yourself and working under a great mentor (Professor Hilary Critchley).

She also described the impact to society that Heavy Menstrual Bleeding can cause and why continued investment into women’s health research is so crucial.

The students asked for career advice and instigated thought provoking conversations about race and gender bias. They were also keen to increase their understanding of Varsha’s ongoing research and future goals (spanning both her clinical and research work).

This session offered a valuable opportunity to open up a dialogue on periods (with both male and female students) and smash the stigma that often still surrounds menstruation.  Many of the students were interested in future careers in STEM and were very keen to know more about the reproductive health focused research that takes place in IRR.

Dr Jain’s closing sentiment was an important one:

You don’t crash and burn in your career – you learn from every step you take.

Dr Varsha JainCritchley lab, Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh

The school has been in touch to say how useful the students found the session and many were still speaking about it (and telling their peers) the next day.