Susan Redline, MD, MPH, professor of sleep medicine and epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, gives a preview of her SLEEP 2022 keynote and discusses her 30 years of sleep epidemiology advocacy.
At the SLEEP 2022 conference, Susan Redline, MD, MPH, professor of sleep medicine and epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will be receiving the Mark O. Hatfield Public Policy or Advocacy Award for developing policy that positively affects the healthy sleep of all Americans. SLEEP 2022 will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina from June 4-8.
Can you tell us about your ongoing work in developing public policy that promotes healthy sleep in Americans?
I have been—for about 30 years—working very hard to help build with others the field of sleep epidemiology, and really trying to produce the evidence that then would provide the type of guidelines for both treating sleep disorders and also for screening for sleep disorders. I have also worked very hard to create data repositories to share data to empower others, to leverage research databases, to again generate more data to help inform our understanding of who gets sleep problems, what are the consequences of sleep problems, and what are the outcomes.
I've also been committed to mentoring a lot of folks and trying to get that next generation working in these areas, as well, and some of my mentees are probably doing much more effective work than I am in this area but I'm happy that I've been able to help some of them along. Finally, I've worked very hard to engage patients in advocacy and working with multi-stakeholders to really get their voice into the dialogue. That's actually a topic of one of our discussion groups we'll talk about later.
What are you looking forward to discussing in your keynote at SLEEP 2022?
The area of the link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease has received a lot of controversial attention because there's some recent large clinical trials that have not showed that sleep apnea improves outcomes. What I'm going to try to review in my talk is really the need to take a new look at how we characterize sleep apnea severity across the population, and how we use maybe more informative markers to identify those people who are most likely to have adverse outcomes of sleep apnea and to target those for treatment trials. I'm also looking forward to talking about one of the topics I think is also very important, and that is gender differences in sleep apnea and the need to ensure that we have good representation of women, and we use a gender-sensitive lens when we think about cardiovascular risk related to sleep apnea as it relates to men and women.