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Repropedia: A reproductive dictionary for oncofertility

The Oncofertility Consortium often uses technical terms when discussing cancer and fertility preservation. In an effort to remove the jargon from reproductive science, Cathryn Smeyers, Program Manager of the Center for Reproductive Research, created Repropedia, which is what we link to on our blog when terms need to be defined. We asked Cathryn to tell us a little more about Repropedia and this is what she had to say:

By Cathryn Smeyers


Education and outreach are primary goals of the Center for Reproductive Research (a Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research -SCCPIR- funded by the National Institutes of Health), and this is what drew me to the Program Manager position.  A few months ago, Dr. Woodruff and I met to discuss the development of the outreach component of the Center, and she proposed the idea of creating an online reproductive dictionary to provide the public with words and definitions they could use to understand reproductive health and biology.  Thus, Repropedia was born.

As we fleshed out the details of our initial concept, we decided to make the website more dynamic by adding images and video clips of scientists/clinicians defining various terms and eventually adding an audio component.  We also added an “Ask an Expert” link, which allows users to submit a question or solicit additional information. The questions are fielded by members of the Woodruff Lab.

Our target audience for Repropedia is the general public and students interested in learning more about oncofertility.  We want these definitions to be accessible to everyone so we avoid using jargon in the definitions. To ensure accuracy and clarity, I assembled an editorial board with members from the Woodruff Lab. Every time we add a new term,  lab members review the term before it’s officially added to the site.

Our goal with Repropedia is that it will continue to evolve and grow.  We want individuals throughout the reproductive health and science communities to contribute terms/definitions, images, and video clips. In May, the annual SCCPIR research meeting was held in Chicago, just a few blocks away from the Northwestern University campus.  This afforded us the opportunity to solicit video contributions from PIs, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from centers throughout the country.  We also ask any scientists/clinicians visiting the Woodruff Lab to make a contribution to the site.

If you would like additional information about Repropedia or are interested in contributing additional terms, images, or video clips to this important resource, please visit the website or contact me at c-smeyers@northwestern.edu for additional details.  This work is supported Award Number U54 HD041857 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

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