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A Message from the Connors Center on President Biden’s Executive Order on Women’s Health Research

Dear Members of the Connors Center Community,

As we continue to celebrate what is turning out to be a momentous Women’s History Month, the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School would like to share our enthusiasm and support for the historic Executive Order that President Biden signed this week that reaffirmed his commitment to women’s health research.

This Executive Order launches the $12 billion in funding for women’s health research that President Biden requested during his recent State of the Union. In the Order, President Biden directed government agencies to work to integrate women’s health across the federal research portfolio, prioritize investments in women’s health research, galvanize new research on women’s midlife health, and assess unmet needs to support women’s health research. Among other things, this means that the NIH will spend $200 million on women’s health research starting in FY 2025 and will increase investments in small businesses focused on women’s health by 50 percent. With the Executive Order receiving coverage from many major news outlets (The New York TimesABC News, and CNN among others), it is encouraging to see that women’s health research has been brought into the national spotlight in a way it never has been before. We were also pleased to see that the ABC News coverage referenced a paper led by the Connors Center which found that women were underrepresented in clinical trials for cancer, psychiatric diseases and cardiovascular diseases compared with their proportion of the disease population.

We at the Connors Center also found it particularly gratifying that the Order paid special attention to women’s midlife health by acknowledging the research gaps on diseases and conditions associated with women’s midlife health and directing federal agencies like the HHS to expand research on these diseases and menopause. Menopause and midlife health are special focuses of our Center, especially within the Brigham/Harvard Center for Reproductive Outcomes of Stress and Aging (ROSA), which focuses on ameliorating the adverse health consequences of reproductive aging among postmenopausal women. Women’s midlife health, particularly menopause, has long been a stigmatized and under researched area of Medicine so we are pleased to see the President acknowledge that on a national stage and start the work to eliminate the research gap.

We look forward to the innovative research that with undoubtedly come from the initiatives in this Executive Order and hope that the White House Initiative on women’s health research will continue to raise awareness about the progress that still needs to be made to close the gaps in women’s health research.


Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Interim Chair, Department of Psychiatry
Executive Director, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology
Paula A. Johnson Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Women’s Health
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Primavera “Vera” A Spagnolo, MD, PhD
Associate Director, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology
Scientific Director, First.In.Women Precision Medicine Platform
Director, Laboratory of Sex/Gender-informed Translational Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Lydia Pace, MD, MPH
Director, Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy and Director, Global Women’s Health Fellowship, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology
Associate Physician, Division of Women’s Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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