The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) commends the White House for establishing the Initiative on Women’s Health Research under the auspices of the Gender Policy Council and the Office of the First Lady; this is a critical and necessary step toward driving innovation that will address the many unmet needs and conditions that are specific to women, predominantly affect women, or differently affect women.
As the White House statement acknowledges, women have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long and research continues to be substantially underfunded. The resulting knowledge gaps in women’s health are vast, ranging from common everyday health conditions to serious and life-threatening diseases. Elizabeth Garner, MD, MPH, current AMWA President notes, “Achieving evidence-based preventive measures, diagnostics, and treatments requires an understanding of the underlying science behind diseases such as endometriosis, pre-eclampsia, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions in women, all of which remains relatively unknown due to the lack of research. The mission of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research to advance women’s health research and address health disparities and inequities is exciting.”
The impact of committing funds for research on sex and gender differences in conditions that impact all populations is enormous. “To be most impactful, we need consistent reporting of research data. Even more important is the need to ensure that findings are incorporated into medical and health education and integrated into evidence-based practices,” said Janice Werbinski, MD, of the AMWA Sex and Gender Health Collaborative.
As the First Lady stated, every woman has a story of leaving the doctor’s office with more questions than answers. As the oldest, national, multi-specialty organization of women physicians, all of whom are also patients, AMWA understands the need for more answers. We look forward to collaborating with the Administration on this meaningful and transformative investment in women’s health.