May 12, 2021

SWHR Launches Coalition to Support NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health

As the country celebrates National Women’s Health Week, the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is launching a new coalition tsupport the important work of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). 

The Friends of ORWH (FORWH) coalition is composed of organizations representing researchers, clinicians, patients, and policy advocates that are committed to addressing sex and gender disparities in health and prioritizing research gaps and unmet needs to advance women’s health 

The coalition’s primary goal is to advocate for federal support of ORWH’s mission to “strengthen and enhance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses in women and to enhance research related to diseases and conditions that affect women.” FORWH seeks to ensure stable resources for ORWH and to improve awareness of ORWH’s ongoing programs and successes. 

SWHR played an instrumental role in advocating for the creation of ORWH and the other federal offices of women’s health,” SWHR President and CEO Kathryn G. Schubert said. “We are thrilled to continue our longstanding support of ORWH by uniting fellow women’s health advocates in a coordinated effort to promote the office and its mission.” 

The NIH created ORWH in September 1990, but it wasn’t until the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 that the office was established by law. That law also mandated that women and minorities must be included in NIH-funded clinical research and gave ORWH the authority to monitor the inclusion of women in this research. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Congress passed legislative language that SWHR had been advocating for since 1994 as the Women’s Health Office Act (WHOA)securing the offices of women’s health at the NIH and many other federal agencies: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a Federal office of women’s health (including the Office of Research on Women’s Health of the National Institutes of Health) … that is in existence on the date of enactment of this section shall not be terminated, reorganized, or have any of its powers or duties transferred unless such termination, reorganization, or transfer is approved by Congress through the adoption of a concurrent resolution of approval.” 

In support of OWRH, the FORWH coalition will engage in activities such as: 

The FORWH is managed by an Executive Committee whose members reflect major organizations with a specific focus on sex, gender, and related health care disparities. The following organizations have a permanent seat on the Executive Committee: 

To learn more about FORWH or become a member organization, visit our website