New White House order includes technology and AI to advance women’s health research

The Biden administration on Monday issued an executive order calling on federal agencies to expand and prioritize research on women’s health. According to First Lady Jill Biden, technology could play a big role in that effort.

“Joe is directing his administration to find ways to leverage artificial intelligence and other technologies to advance research on women’s health,” she said in a keynote address at an Amazon Web Services event on Wednesday. “Women’s health research is ignored and underfunded. Many of our drugs, treatments, and medical school textbooks are male-based.”

Although the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research funded by the National Institutes of Health was not required by law until 1993, the White House says there are still gaps in knowledge about women’s health. Diseases that affect women more than men are more likely to be underfunded.

This problem has real consequences. A 2020 University of Chicago and University of California, Berkeley study found that women are widely overmedicated and disproportionately exposed to side effects due to a lack of women in clinical drug studies. did.

The executive order builds on a women’s health research initiative launched by the White House last year and led by Jill Biden.

The order directs agencies participating in this effort, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget, to strengthen scientific and data standards on women’s health through research and funding opportunities. There is.

Member agencies are directed to prioritize funding for women’s health research, and OMB is being used alongside the White House’s Gender Policy Council to assess gaps in federal funding for health research.

A particular focus of the order is filling gaps in research on midlife women’s health, including conditions such as heart attacks and osteoporosis.

The order also directs HHS and the National Science Foundation on how AI can be used to advance research on women’s health, as they are already working to implement the administration’s existing executive orders on AI. It also includes instructions to consider women’s health issues and issues affecting women’s health. Research on the responsible deployment and use of artificial intelligence and AI-enabled technologies in the health and human services sector. ”

“These historic actions will ensure that women’s health will no longer be overlooked or left behind. And when you combine that momentum with the potential of technology, we will create a new world for women’s health.” “You can imagine,” Jill Biden said, pointing to potential advances such as virtual doctor’s appointments. “solution [women] What we need…may be artificial intelligence that analyzes more information faster to predict and prevent disease. ”

NSF’s investments in AI research “promise to improve women’s health issues, from cardiovascular disease to menopause-related symptoms,” said Wendy Nilsen, deputy director of NSF’s Division of Information and Intelligent Systems. Nextgov/FCW In a statement.

“It also addresses existing gaps in women’s research, enabling analysis of large datasets, elucidating the relationships between complex biological and environmental factors that influence women’s health, and We are poised to make breakthrough discoveries that will shape the future of health,” said Nilsen.

The executive order was accompanied by a variety of actions and commitments from agencies, including the launch of a National Institutes of Health initiative to close research gaps.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Biden asked Congress to allocate $12 billion to create a fund for women’s health research at the NIH, and just a few months ago, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) H) announced a $100 million commitment to create a women’s health research fund. women’s health.

HHS did not respond to requests for comment regarding publication of this article.

Nextgov/FCW staff reporters Edward Graham and Alexandra Kelley contributed to this article.

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