History of the OSSD

OSSD is an international society for basic and clinical scientists from various scientific disciplines who share an interest in exploring sex and gender differences in all areas of biological, medical, and behavioral science. The overall mission of OSSD is to enhance the knowledge of sex and gender differences by facilitating communication and collaboration among scientists and clinicians of diverse backgrounds.

OSSD is the brain child of basic and clinical scientists with established research commitments to the study of sex differences, and staff members of the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR). SWHR has, since 1990, been a thought leader in research on sex differences and is dedicated to improving women's health through advocacy, education, and research. Beginning in 2000, SWHR convened seven innovative meetings that focused on the emerging field of sex-based biology, the Conferences on Sex and Gene Expression (SAGE). SWHR also supported four interdisciplinary Networks in biomedical sciences to promote collaboration among scientists in areas of sex-differences and women's health (referred to as Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex Differences (ISIS) Networks).

In 2006, founding member scientists (see list of Founders) including members of the SWHR ISIS Network on Sex, Gender, Drugs and the Brain, together with staff members of SWHR, proposed the formation of the OSSD, with annual meetings originally modeled on SWHR's SAGE meetings. Participants in those programs organized the first annual meeting of OSSD in May 2007.

From 2006-2012, OSSD operated as a program of the SWHR, staffed and funded by SWHR. In 2012, OSSD became an independent non-profit corporation, incorporated in Washington, DC, USA, governed by its scientific leadership under the auspices of the OSSD bylaws. The OSSD is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as an educational and scientific organization.