Everything you need to know about the U.S. Executive Order on Women’s Health Research and Innovation

Everything you need to know about the U.S. Executive Order on Women’s Health Research and Innovation

In a historic move that marks a turning point for women's health in the United States, this week the White House announced the signing of an executive order focused on Women's Health Research and Innovation, described as the most extensive set of executive actions ever taken in the realm of women's health research and innovation. Big news for women in the US, and everywhere!

Spearheaded by Maria Shriver's advocacy and brought to fruition through the collaborative efforts of Dr. Jill Biden and various women in the White House, even the existence of this executive order in its early stages is groundbreaking, not only for its content but also for its inclusive approach to women's health issues.

What Does This Executive Order Mean for Women’s Health, and What Does it Include?

For the first time, the United States federal government is taking a comprehensive stance on women's health, ensuring its integration and prioritization across the entire country and all federal agencies. This initiative will kickstart new research on a variety of topics crucial for diagnosing and treating female health conditions. I’d like to say we’re surprised but sadly, this is the first-ever executive order to explicitly mention the word menopause alongside a commitment to delve into properly funded women's health research across all age ranges & races, that remain unanswered due to a lack of targeted research.

President Biden has called upon Congress to secure a $12 billion investment in women’s health research, a significant leap from the initially suggested posed $1 billion by Dr. Jill Biden and Maria Shriver. This request underlines the current administration's commitment to uncovering and addressing the unique health challenges women face, which continue to be overlooked in society and have insufficient research and funding.

What is the Impact of This Executive Order?

As well as funding into an incredibly underfunded sector of health care worldwide - women’s health! This initiative is not just about funding; the bill aims to put women's health needs and experiences are at the forefront, eliminating the all-too-common dismissal of our concerns as simply anxiety, stress, or even imagination. The executive order also acknowledges the historical exclusion of women from health research, emphasizing the need to bridge these gaps, particularly for older women and menopause research, women of color and the racial disparities they face with menstrual and pregnancy care, and women with disabilities.

As part of the suggested $12 billion investment, $200 million is to come from the National Institutes of Health in 2025, which would be fully dedicated to women's health research. Additionally, the United States Defense Department is planning a $10 million investment to explore cancers and mental health issues, specifically among women in active service. This multifaceted approach aims to improve the spectrum and diversity of women participating in clinical studies and requires regular reporting on progress and findings.

Why is This Women’s Health Bill so Significant?

Aptly signed by President Biden during Women's History Month and Endometriosis Awareness Month, this executive order represents a monumental step forward in acknowledging and addressing the complexities of women's health. It's a declaration of a societal need & dedication to not only understanding women's health better but also ensuring that women across America receive the care and attention they deserve, of which the research will also bleed (yes, we meant that pun!) into impacting women worldwide. The additional commitment of $200 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health underscores the urgency and importance of this initiative.

As we all (hopefully!) await Congressional approval for the proposed $12 billion investment - we’d call each of our sisters (and brothers) in the US to advocate for the prioritization of this bill and the need for women's health research. This marks a milestone of a promising future where women are finally looking to be prioritized and can lead healthier, fuller lives and sets a precedent for how women's health should be approached and studied; with the potential to unlock answers to long-standing health mysteries due to unfunded research.

What are the Next Steps and What Can You do to Help?

For this executive order to evolve from an ambitious blueprint or idea to a confirmed, transformative reality, securing Congressional approval for the proposed funding is critical. This is where public support and advocacy are instrumental. By raising awareness of the importance of women's health research, engaging with local health and political groups, legislators, and mobilizing community and social media campaigns, the public can play a crucial role in ensuring the successful implementation of this historic initiative.

We will be doing our bit at Elara.Care just as our many partners & community will be too - even being based in Europe! As this US initiative moves forward, the combined efforts of public advocacy and legislative action will be vital in realizing a global future where women's health is not just an afterthought but a paramount priority.