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Women's health has suffered from insufficient research addressing women. The research community has not widely embraced the value of this research. The impact of limited knowledge about women's health relative to men's is far reaching. Without information on the potential return on investment for women's health research, research funders, policymakers, and business leaders lack a basis for altering research investments to improve knowledge of women's health.

Research impact analysis is a framework for supporting decision making about research funding allocation. Economic modeling aids with such impact analysis. Microsimulation models provide a method of quantifying the potential future impact of additions to research investment. Using microsimulation analyses, we examined the societal cost impact of increasing research funding in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). We quantified the potential impact of increasing funding on women's health on health outcomes and ultimate societal costs including healthcare expenditures, labor productivity for patients, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). We calculated impacts across 30 years of two funding scenarios: doubling the current National Institutes of Health extramural RA portfolio devoted to women's health, estimated at 7% of the total portfolio, and tripling that investment. Impact of a current investment was assumed to occur in 10 years, with benefits accruing after that.

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This research was sponsored by Women's Health Access Matters and conducted by the Social and Behavioral Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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