Reproductive Health Research Institute (RHRI) 

RHRI was established to develop and expand ongoing research in the area of reproductive health and endocrinology, and to bring research and foundational knowledge directly to clinicians through educational programs and clinical protocols.

The RHRI is built on decades of research, and, in particular, on the research of James Brown, PhD, and Dr. Emil Steinberger. Often called the father of estrogen, Dr. Brown was the first to document and publish the pattern of estrogen across a woman’s cycle. This unlocked the understanding of ovulation and its relation to health and fertility.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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Dr. James Brown

Dr. Brown’s work has influenced every significant development in the area of women’s health over the past half century, from collaboration with Dr. Gregory Pincus and the oral contraceptive pill, to his research in the area of gonadotrophins and their use in IVF. He made major contributions to hormone-dependent cancer research, particularly breast, endometrial and ovarian.  Dr. Brown met and worked with Doctors John and Evelyn Billings, with whom he was able to validate cycle tracking as a representation of hormonal changes, unlocking the ability for women to understand and monitor their hormones, health and ovulation patterns.

Dr. Emil Steinberger

Dr. Emil Steinberger was the founding Director of the American Society of Andrology, and made major contributions to the development and knowledge of andrology, infertility, and the clinical diagnosis and treatment of infertility. He helped to build the fledgling University of Texas Medical School at Houston as Chair of the Department of Reproductive Medicine and Reproductive Biology, and, with colleagues, establish the Texas Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Endocrinology. He was a champion of diagnosing and treating the underlying conditions, in order to restore health in both men and women.

Dr. Len Blackwell

Len Blackwell, PhD, is an organic chemist. He collaborated with Jim Brown for 40 years in the scientific development and research validation of the Ovarian Monitor, which is the gold standard for the few qualitative point-of-care devices in the area of reproduction and fertility. He has developed commercial prototypes for five different analytes related to reproduction and fertility, and continues to advance research and development in order to advance point-of-care reproductive health support to women. He is the Chief Scientist of Science Haven Limited.   

Dr. Pilar Vigil

Dr. Pilar Vigil, PhD, FACOG, is the Research Director of the RHRI. She completed her post-doctoral work with Dr. Emil Steinberger at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and spent decades working with both Dr. Steinberger and Dr. Brown. The importance of this legacy of research and clinical care, along with the collaborations with Drs John and Evelyn Billings, is the foundation of the scientific work of FEMM and the RHRI.

The FEMM and RHRI Medical Protocols

Ongoing research conducted by the RHRI, along with research collaboration and partnership across a wide range of countries and disciplines, continues to inform the evidence-based model for care offered through the FEMM and RHRI medical programs.

The FEMM and RHRI protocols provide a diagnostic and treatment-based approach to a range of hormonal disorders, including ovarian dysfunction, polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid imbalances, endometriosis, depression, menopause 

and infertility. Protocols diagnose symptoms of pain, headache, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, hirsutism, and acne, helping physicians identify the underlying hormonal issues, with the aim of restoring health.

Treatment plans help women recover healthy hormonal function. Depending on the diagnosis, stage of condition, and lifestyle, treatment ranges from immunological and targeted pharmacological interventions, along with significant emphasis on diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.

FEMM medical protocols help providers to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and to prescribe effective treatment.

The protocols recognize the critical importance of hormonal balance in maintaining and restoring women’s health.

Cycle Charts

Cycle charts identify critical patterns which indicate healthy or abnormal cycles.

Hormone Testing

The basic hormonal profile (BHP) is a blood test of over a dozen different hormones.


Protocols offer clear guidance that integrates lab results to assist providers in arriving at a sensitive diagnosis.

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