August 17, 2021

SWHR Urges Prioritization of Women’s Health in APRA-H Listening Session

The Society for Women’s Health Research this month was invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting to inform the planning process of President Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a new entity that would be tasked with building high-risk, high-reward capabilities or platforms to drive biomedical breakthroughs.

The stakeholder meeting—hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)—was part of a series of listening sessions on ARPA-H being hosted during July and August with patient advocacy groups, industry, scientific professional organizations, and other stakeholders.

SWHR participated in “Listening Session 6: Advocates for Research on Diabetes, Digestive Disorders and Kidney Disease, Child and Maternal Health, and Complementary and Integrative Medicine.” During the Listening Session, SWHR noted ARPA-H’s potential to benefit areas of health and disease that have not historically received robust funding, including many conditions unique to or more common in women, and to prioritize ‘use-driven’ research related to women’s health. SWHR also suggested in its comments that in order to capitalize on ARPA-H’s potential as a hub for generating bold advances in medicine and health, it should incorporate a lifespan approach that is complementary and additive to NIH research.

ARPA-H, which was included in the president’s fiscal year 2022 budget request, would follow up on the 21st Century Cures legislation and has garnered support from key lawmakers on Capitol Hill. While the administration has requested $6.5 billion in funding for the initiative, Tara Schwetz, the White House’s point person on ARPA-H, says the White House will be able to move forward even if Congress doesn’t provide the entire $6.5 billion upfront.

SWHR appreciated the opportunity to testify on this important potential research opportunity and looks forward to engaging with Congress and the administration as they continue conversations surrounding ARPA-H’s development.

View Listening Session 6 and SWHR’s comments here, and access other Listening Session videocasts here.