- Jill Biden and Maria Shriver join President Biden in the Oval Office for a signing
- “Women deserve better, and now we’re going to get it,” Jill Biden said
- “The bottom line is, we can’t treat them or prevent them from getting sick if we haven’t funded the necessary research,” Maria Shriver said.
Jill Biden and Maria Shriver joined forces Monday to launch a new initiative to boost federal research into women’s health issues.
The first lady said it was a conversation earlier this year with Shriver, the former California first lady and women’s health advocate, who “addressed the need for efforts within and without government to close research gaps in women’s health that have existed for far too long.”
“When I brought this issue to my husband Joe a few months ago, he listened. And then he took action,” Jill Biden said. “That’s what he does.”
“Women deserve better, and now we’re going to get it,” she noted.
President Joe Biden signs a presidential memorandum establishing the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, in the Oval Office with (left to right) First Lady Jill Biden, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, director of the White House Gender Policy Council, Jen Klein, and Maria Shriver, founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement
The two women joined President Joe Biden in the Oval Office as he signed a memorandum to establish the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research.
They were joined by Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and White House Gender Policy Council Director Jen Klein.
President Biden gave his wife the pen he used to create the initiative and then gave her a kiss.
Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, yet remain understudied and underrepresented in health research.
The new initiative aims to improve how the federal government approaches and funds research into women’s health.
Jill Biden has been working on women’s health issues since the early 1990s, after several of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer.
“If you ask any woman in America about her health care, she probably has a story to tell. You know her. “She is a woman who gets debilitating migraines but doesn’t know why and can’t find treatment options that work for her,” she told reporters on a briefing call on Monda.j.
“She’s the woman going through menopause who visits her doctor and leaves with more questions than answers.”
The first lady specifically pointed out the “stunning lack of information” about how to approach menopause when it comes to women’s health needs.
Shriver, the founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, said women make up two-thirds of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, and represent more than three-quarters of those diagnosed with the autoimmune disease.
Other statistics noted by officials:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, but traditional tests for diagnosing a heart attack were developed based on men
- Women suffer from depression and anxiety twice as often as men
- Researchers don’t know why women who have never smoked are twice as likely to develop lung cancer than men who have never smoked
- Women of color are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women
- Millions of other women struggle with the side effects of menopause every day
“The bottom line is we can’t treat them or prevent them from getting sick if we haven’t funded the necessary research,” Shriver said during the briefing call with reporters. “That changes today.”
The White House Gender Policy Council will lead the effort together with Jill Biden.
President Joe Biden gives Jill Biden a kiss after giving her the pen he used to sign a presidential memorandum that will establish the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research
President Biden’s memorandum directs members to report within 45 days with “concrete recommendations” to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of women’s health problems.
It also asks them to identify “priority areas of focus,” such as research ranging from heart attacks in women to menopause, where additional investment could be “transformative.”
The president also wants collaboration with the scientific, private sector and philanthropic communities.
Carolyn Mazure will chair the research effort. Mazure joined the office of the first lady from the Yale School of Medicine, where she founded the Women’s Health Research Center.