Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Saying medical research on women's health is "drastically underfunded," the Biden administration on Monday launched a new initiative on the topic headed by first lady Jill Biden.
The White House Initiative on Women's Health Research is meant to "galvanize" the federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors in an effort to "spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women's health," the White House said in announcing the effort.
Chaired by Dr. Carolyn Mazure, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University, the initiative creates a cross-agency effort tasked with recommending a set of "concrete actions" to White House within 45 days on how to improve how research on women's health, focusing on eliminating inequalities that have led to "serious consequences for the health of women across the country."
President Joe Biden, along with the first lady, Mazure, cabinet members including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, Women's Alzheimer's Movement founder Maria Shriver and others attended a White House ceremony during which the president signed a memorandum launching the initiative.
Jill Biden said deficiencies in research over the years have led to insufficient work being done to address ailments specific to women, such as severe migraines, undetected heart disease symptoms and debilitating effects of menopause.
"Research on women's health has been underfunded for decades, and many conditions that mostly or only affect women, or affect women differently, have received little to no attention," the first lady said. "Because of these gaps, we know far too little about how to manage and treat conditions like endometriosis, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis."
She praised her husband for "taking action" when she brought the issue to his attention and thanked Shriver, the former first lady of California, for working to raise awareness of the issue.
"We have a clear goal: to fundamentally change how we approach and fund women's health research," Jill Biden said.
Before signing the memorandum, Joe Biden said he had been unaware of the gender "imbalance" in medical research but said the new initiative "will assure 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."