Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Women's Health


Volume 22, Issue 7

Inclusive Pages



Autoimmune diseases (ADs) impose substantial health and financial burdens in the United States and in many parts of the world. Women are disproportionately affected by many of these disorders, which often contribute to lifelong disabilities. While the number of patients with some ADs appears to be rising, the complexities of conducting epidemiological studies prevent a thorough understanding of the prevalence and incidence of these various conditions. Research on environmental influences of these illnesses is limited, although they are generally hypothesized to result from the interaction of environmental agents in genetically susceptible individuals. Further, there is little known regarding the role of sex and gender in the environmentally influenced mechanisms leading to the development of AD. To address these issues, particularly the roles of environment and sex and gender in ADs and the factors that contribute to the rise in ADs, the Society for Women's Health Research convened an interdisciplinary roundtable of experts from academia, medicine, and government agencies to share their expertise, address knowledge gaps in research, and propose future research recommendations.


This is a copy of an article published in Journal of Women's Health © 2013 copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Journal of Women's Health is available online at:

Peer Reviewed


Open Access