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Senate Celebrates 25th Anniversary of NIH Women’s Health Office

On September 16, the Senate approved, by voice vote, a resolution, S. Res. 242, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as amended.

Sponsored by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the resolution notes that ORWH was established on September 10, 1990, to “ensure that women were included in NIH-funded clinical research; set research priorities to address gaps in scientific knowledge; and promote biomedical research careers for women.”

ORWH was established in statute by the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (PL 103-43), and implemented the law to require the inclusion of women in NIH-funded research. The resolution notes that “today, more than half of the participants in NIH-funded clinical trials are women.” In 2015, “ORWH, with enthusiastic support from NIH leadership, announced that, beginning in January 2016, NIH-funded scientists must account for the possible role of sex as a biological variable in vertebrate animal and human studies.”

Over the past 25 years, ORWH has expanded research on women’s health across women’s lifespans, leading to many significant improvements in women’s health. Among other provisions, the resolution states that while significant sex and gender differences in many diseases and conditions remain, ORWH has improved and saved “the lives of countless women worldwide and must remain intact for this and future generations.”

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