February 23, 2024

SWHR Launches Heart Health Policy Agenda

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) today launched its latest policy agenda, “Improving Women’s Heart Health Outcomes Across the Lifespan.” Informed by an interdisciplinary Heart Health Policy Working Group of policy professionals, researchers, clinicians, and patient advocates during a one-day roundtable on September 21, 2023, this policy agenda is intended to serve as a roadmap for policymakers to rectify the gap that exists within women’s heart health to ensure that women receive equitable and tailored care.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, resulting in one in every five deaths. Beyond its health implications, heart disease is also costly at about $219 billion each year in the United States, including the cost of health care services, medications, and premature deaths.

Despite the toll of heart disease on both men and women, notable disparities exist—from research to clinical care. Take the following as examples:

The opportunities to improve women’s heart health are vast, and they are deserving of being prioritized at the federal level.

SWHR’s Heart Health Policy Agenda aims to address the comprehensive and multidimensional approach that is needed to tackle the gender disparity in heart health across five domains: 1) Education, Awareness, and Advocacy, 2) Research Needs, 3) Clinical Care Opportunities, 4) Coverage and Access, and 5) Prevention. Each section identifies recommendations for policymakers to help close the heart health gap, focusing on areas from medical education and federal research to public awareness campaigns and efforts to address social determinants of health. Through the release of this policy agenda, SWHR hopes to bring awareness to policies that have the potential to bring about meaningful change in the health and quality of life outcomes for women impacted by heart disease.

Read the policy agenda online here.

Additional SWHR Heart Health Policy Resources