US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to implement action plans to improve research on women’s health.  

This directive is expected to integrate and prioritise women’s health across the federal research portfolio and budget, spurring new studies on various topics, including midlife health for women. 

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The White House has urged Congress to allocate $12bn in new funding to establish a fund for women’s health research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a new nationwide network of research centres of excellence and innovation in women’s health. 

The new order mandates that the initiative’s constituent agencies develop research and data standards on women’s health across all relevant funding opportunities.  

In addition, it directs agencies to prioritise women’s health research funding and encourage innovation through the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and multi-agency initiatives. 

This order also instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore the use of AI in advancing women’s health research.  

Biden’s order aims to address research gaps in diseases and conditions prevalent in women’s midlife or post-menopause such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, by directing HHS to expand women’s midlife health-related data collection efforts.  

It includes launching research to guide future menopause-related research investments, enhancing menopause-related issue management and clinical care, and developing new resources to assist women in understanding prevention and treatment options for menopause-related symptoms. 

The order also calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve menopause-related treatment and research. 

In addition, the Office of Management and Budget and Gender Policy Council are tasked with assessing federal funding gaps for women’s health research and identifying necessary changes to maximise support for women’s health research across the federal government.  

This NIH-wide coordinated effort will be co-chaired by the NIH Office of the Director, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, and institute directors from other institutes. 

The President and First Lady have also announced 20 new actions by federal agencies, including HHS, VA, and NSF, to launch a new NIH-wide effort for new interdisciplinary women’s health research with $200m funding in fiscal year 2025.