Biden Announces Executive Actions to Expand Research on Women’s Health

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President Biden on Monday announced executive actions to expand the federal government’s research into women’s health, including midlife conditions like menopause, arthritis and heart disease, as well as issues specifically affecting women in the military.

In what the White House described as the “most comprehensive” action by a president on women’s health research, Mr. Biden on Monday will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to ensure they are using federal funds to research health conditions and diseases that disproportionately affect women. The actions come after Mr. Biden late last year said that the first lady, Jill Biden, would spearhead an initiative to address the underrepresentation of women in health research.

“For far too long women’s health research has been underfunded and understudied,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure, a psychologist and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, who is the chairwoman of the White House initiative on Women’s Health Research. “We still know too little about how to effectively prevent, diagnose and treat a wide array of health conditions in women.”

Dr. Mazure said those conditions could include heart disease, Alzheimer’s or fibroids. Dr. Biden has traveled the country to learn about such disparities and “the cutting-edge research that is possible when we invest in women’s health,” Dr. Mazure said.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in 2022 and an Alabama State Supreme Court ruled last month that frozen embryos should be considered children, threatening in vitro fertilization, the Biden campaign has increasingly accused Republicans of undermining women’s health. During his State of the Union address earlier this month, Mr. Biden said such decisions would motivate women to vote in the November election, while also saying his White House would commit to investing in women’s health in the year ahead.

“Women are more than half of our population but research on women’s health has always been underfunded,” Mr. Biden said as he called on Congress to pass a plan to invest $12 billion to create a new fund for women’s health research at the National Institutes of Health. In the meantime, the executive order signed on Monday will direct the N.I.H. to spend $200 million on women’s health research. Dr. Biden last month traveled to Cambridge, Mass., to announce the first step of the women’s health initiative: $100 million to support women’s health researchers and start up companies.

Mr. Biden’s executive order will require agencies to report annually their investments in women’s health research and to study ways that artificial intelligence can be used to advance such research. The N.I.H. will increase by 50 percent investments in small businesses focused on women’s health. The Defense Department also plans to invest $10 million to learn more about cancers and mental health issues affecting women in active military service.


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