NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH, ORWH Named to New White House Initiative for Women’s Health

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill pose with women's health advocates behind desk in Oval Office.
At the Oval Office for the presidential memorandum signing are (from l) Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Dr. Victor Dzau, president, National Academy of Medicine; initiative chair Dr. Carolyn Mazure, director of women’s health research at Yale University; First Lady Dr. Jill Biden; President Joe Biden; Maria Shriver, journalist and longtime women’s health advocate who founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement; Jennifer Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council; HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra; NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli; and Dr. Janine Clayton, NIH associate director for research on women’s health and director of NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health.

At a White House event on Nov. 13, President Joe Biden established, within the Office of the First Lady, the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research to be led by a chair holding a dual role in the Office of the First Lady and on the staff of the White House Gender Policy Council.

“We can—and must—increase our efforts to invest in research that maximizes our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat health conditions in women across the United States,” said Biden, in a presidential memorandum. 

“Meaningful progress requires robust, dedicated research infrastructure—including a strong, diverse research workforce—and investment within and beyond the federal government,” he continued. “We all have a part to play in galvanizing women’s health research, developing innovative and cutting-edge interventions that promote women’s health and ensuring that women across the United States have access to high-quality health care.”

The new initiative’s mission is to advance women’s health research in the United States. Initiative functions, which are advisory, include 

  •  assessing the federal research landscape to identify opportunities for additional investments that could catalyze significant progress in addressing women’s health needs; 
  •  setting initiative-wide priorities to help guide strategic federal research investments 
  •  improving coordination among agencies pursuing women’s health research by better integrating research efforts and facilitating interdisciplinary research
  •  developing policy recommendations to better ensure that the health needs of women are assessed and reported for federal research and data collection efforts
  •  forming targeted recommendations to address health disparities and inequities affecting women, including those related to race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, disability and exposure to environmental factors and contaminants that can directly affect health
  •  developing recommendations to support the translation of research advances into practical benefits
  •  identifying opportunities to develop public-private partnerships and to increase coordination with the private and philanthropic sectors in order to drive innovation 
  •  engaging the scientific and research communities by helping promote the dissemination of actionable research and data
  •  assessing opportunities to recruit, train and support women pursuing health and biomedical research careers to help strengthen and diversify the research workforce
  •  identifying ways to increase public awareness of the need for greater investment in and attention to women’s health research, as well as women’s health outcomes

The group’s first assignment—to provide recommendations of concrete actions to advance women’s health research—was due in 45 days.

Members of the initiative consist of the heads of a number of departments, agencies and offices, specifically including NIH and NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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