Women’s Health Research Day commemorates the implementation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) in January 2016. The day aims to raise awareness of the historic underrepresentation of women in clinical trials, the importance of designing basic, preclinical, and biomedical research studies in both females and males, and the need to disaggregate and analyze data by biological sex, all of which will lead to more effective, inclusive health care.
The Friends of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (FORWH) hosted a reception honoring the work of the ORWH and the leadership of ORWH Director Dr. Janine Clayton on January 25, 2023 at the Rayburn Congressional offices. National leaders in healthcare and representatives from various Congressional offices were in attendance. The event was administered by the Society of Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and AMWA, a founding member of FORWH and a newly appointed member to the executive board, was a platinum sponsor of the event.
Dr. Janine Clayton spoke of the importance of Sex as a Biologic Variable (SABV) and the many programs developed by the ORWH to promote these concepts in research, clinical study, and education. She commented that through their sex and gender intersectionality innovation initiative, the ORWH is bringing together stakeholders from multiple sectors to harmonize their efforts.
Dr. Connie Newman–AMWA’s representative to the FORWH Executive Board and an expert on high cholesterol and heart disease, and Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon–board member of AMWA’s Sex and Gender Health Collaborative and an expert on global maternal mortality reduction, attended the event on behalf of AMWA.
Dr. Newman said, “To improve health care for all, we need to gain a better understanding, through research, of sex-and gender-based differences in disease epidemiology, manifestations and treatment.” She commented that heart disease is an example of how sex and gender differences negatively impact women. The differences in symptoms, in women compared to men, and the prevailing opinion that women of middle age do not suffer from heart disease, can lead to misdiagnosis of a heart attack and delayed treatment.
AMWA Past President Dr. Claudia Morrissey Conlon said, “Commemorating this policy is fitting. SABV has proved to be the launch of increased attention and accelerated action in the incorporation of sex and gender variables in research design, implementation, analysis, and reporting. We are just beginning to reap the benefits.“
AMWA President, Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, remarked, “AMWA applauds the work of the Office of Research on Women’s Health and has been honored to work with the Office since its inception in 1990. We look forward to advancing this important work as a friend of the ORWH long into the future!”
AMWA Past President and founder of AMWA’s Sex and Gender Health Collaborative, Dr. Janice Werbinski, said, “These events are so necessary to increase the awareness of the need to not only include women in research and report results by sex, but also to assure that we bring that information into the classroom and continuing education of practitioners on bedside care of women. We applaud the NIH ORWH for continuing to shine a spotlight on this issue.”
AMWA has been a leader in women’s health since the 1990’s with the convening of the Advanced Curriculum on Women’s Health and partnership with the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hahnemann University (MCPHU, now Drexel University) to create the National Academy on Women’s Health Medical Education (NAWHME). The NAWHME would play a major role in providing resources to facilitate medical student education in women’s health issues.
In more recent years, AMWA has also been at the forefront of sex and gender specific healthcare, from the founding of AMWA’s Sex and Gender Health Collaborative in 2008 to our recent work in organizing a series of Sex and Gender Health Education Summits from 2015-2021 that convened all healthcare professions around this important issue. We are currently working to promote the integration of sex and gender specific content into medical education curricula and the awareness of these issues across other sectors in healthcare, including industry, research, and media.
Learn about screenings of the film, Ms. Diagnosed.
Learn about grant opportunities for increasing promotion of sex and gender healthcare.