Jill Biden announces women's health initiative

November 14, 2023

The Biden administration is launching an effort to increase research into women's health issues, led by First Lady Jill Biden. 

The Bidens say the effort will plug a "gap" in research into conditions that are more common in women, including Alzheimer's and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

President Biden signed a memorandum launching the initiative at an Oval Office ceremony with his wife on Monday.

"Women make up more than half the population.  But for too long, they’ve been underrepresented when it comes to health research and the money spent on that research.  That’s going to change today," Biden said.

Jill's new project

Biden's memo directs government agencies to come up with some solutions within 45 days, but the directive is otherwise light on details.

The project will be chaired by Yale psychologist Carloyn Mazure.

Others involved in the effort include Maria Shriver, founder of the Women's Alzheimer's Movement. Jill credited Shriver with raising attention to the "unacceptable" state of medical research into women's health.

"Every woman I know has a story about leaving her doctor’s office with more questions than answers," Jill Biden said.

"Not because our doctors are withholding information, but because there’s just not enough research yet on how to best manage and treat even common women’s health conditions. In 2023, that is unacceptable,” she said.

Biden touts "fundamental change"

Conditions that "mostly or only affect women," such as severe migraines, endometriosis, and side effects of menopause, are poorly understood, Jill Biden said.

"We have a clear goal: to fundamentally change how we approach and fund women's health research," Jill Biden said.

The new initiative comes as Biden's electoral coalition is showing signs of weakness, throwing his re-election bid into doubt.

Biden said he did not realize how much "imbalance" there was concerning women's health research as he signed the initiative Monday.

"To achieve scientific breakthroughs and strengthen our ability to prevent, detect, and treat diseases, we have to be bold. That’s why today, we’re establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research so that my Administration—from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense—does everything we can to drive innovation in women’s health and close research gaps," Biden said.

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