NAM President Victor J. Dzau joins President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for the signing of the Presidential Memorandum on Women’s Health Research, Monday, November 13, 2023, in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Reflecting the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM’s) commitment to advancing women’s health, NAM president Victor J. Dzau took part in the November 13 Oval Office signing of a Presidential Memorandum establishing the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. The initiative will be led by First Lady Jill Biden alongside the White House Gender Policy Council and chaired by Carolyn Mazure, formerly of Yale University.

In addition to President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Mazure, and Dzau, the ceremony was attended by Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Monica Bertagnolli, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Janine Clayton, Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health; Jen Klein, Director of the White House Gender Policy Counsel; Shalanda Young, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and Maria Shriver, Founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and former First Lady of California.

The Presidential Memorandum directs the administration to establish an initiative that spans federal departments, agencies, and offices, including HHS, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, OMB, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Members of the initiative are tasked to deliver concrete recommendations to advance women’s health research within 45 days; establish priority areas of focus of transformative investment; and engage the scientific, private-sector, and philanthropic communities.

“It was an honor to witness the signing of the memorandum,” said Dzau. “I commend the establishment of this new initiative, which stands to help correct decades of underrepresentation and underinvestment in women’s health research.”

The NAM’s 2023 Annual Meeting Scientific Symposium focused on “Women’s Health: From Cells to Society” and featured discussions on sex and gender differences, maternal and reproductive health, and health across the lifespan. In addition, Dzau hosted a President’s Forum on “Revolutionizing Women’s Health: Envisioning a New Era of Progress, Policy, & Research.” Earlier this year, the NAM announced the formation of a new Standing Committee on Reproductive Health, Equity, and Society at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine, which assesses the health, economic, social, and policy impacts of access to reproductive health services and advances strategies to increase access to these critical resources.

Media inquiries: Dana Korsen



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