The Economic Benefits of Investing in Women's Health Research

The research described in this video was conceived and commissioned by Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM— WHAM was created in response to the considerable funding gap, historical exclusion, and underrepresentation of women in health research. WHAM is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to funding women’s health research to transform women’s lives.


Chloe Bird, Senior Sociologist

You know, it's interesting the extent to which funding of research on men's health has been favored over women's health, but an unfortunate consequence of focusing on men is we end up developing diagnostic criteria based on what a disease looks like in men. We end up fitting our understanding and development of treatments around what that disease looks like in men, without necessarily understanding the extent of differences in women and what it takes to diagnose and treat a disease when it's expressed in women. So in a way, science ends up creating an image of reality, not just assessing the image of reality, and funding follows that thinking as to what are the right next steps, what would be the most promising thing to look at next.

We found that doubling the NIH funding for research on coronary artery disease in women would produce a return on investment of 9,500% over the 30 years, and we've studied up to four different disease areas now. All of them, we find a positive return on investment, but it varies greatly across the diseases. But it's actually quite remarkable and indicative of the extent to which we're under-invested in research overall and especially in research on women.

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