Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)
Posted March 31, 2014
Q: After heart failure, do female hearts remodel themselves differently than do male hearts?
Q: Are there sex-specific effects on the brain from environmental tobacco smoke exposure to inner-city children?
Q: Do women and men perceive genetic risk differently after counseling?
A: “We don’t know.”
As you read this text, scientists funded by 23 NIH institutes and centers (ICs) are finding the answers. These researchers are taking advantage of a relatively new NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) program, begun in FY 2013, in which they can add a sex/gender lens to their currently funded research. Through this administrative supplement program, scientists can obtain extra funds to conduct additional studies that do not stray significantly from the scope of their parent grant, but that allow exploration of sex/gender influences not previously considered.
These scientists can add subjects, tissues, or cells of the sex opposite to that used in their parent grant to allow sex-based comparisons. They can add more subjects of one sex to a sample that already includes both males and females in order to increase study power to analyze for a sex/gender difference. Or they can analyze existing datasets containing data from male and female subjects.
With this program, ORWH is trying to accomplish two goals. First, we are expanding the cadre of NIH-funded scientists conducting sex/gender-based research, hoping to identify new connections and areas of biomedical opportunity. Second, we are leveraging funds with our NIH IC partners to maximize the return on investment: Put another way, we are giving already-funded research a second chance to reveal more clues to inform the health of women — and men, girls, and boys.
Janine Austin Clayton, M.D.
Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health
Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health, NIH
Department of Health and Human Services
Recent Director’s Articles
Sex Is in the News… And It Matters
As early as preschool, kids recognize that girls and boys aren’t the same. That becomes even more clear in the teen years and beyond as we age into women and men.
The Three Rs of Good Science
Reading, writing, and arithmetic — the three “R”s — are the bedrock of a good education. Scientists use these skills every day to learn, communicate, and analyze. But researchers have another set of three Rs: rigor, reproducibility, and relevance.
About the ORWH Director
Janine Austin Clayton, M.D., was appointed Director for the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and Associate Director for NIH Research on Women’s Health by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., on September 4, 2012.
Dr. Clayton and ORWH in the News
- Women and Eye Disease
Dr. Clayton guest blogs for See Jane See, explaining that more women than men face vision-related issues. (March 12, 2014)
- Clinical trials seek greater diversity
Dr. Clayton explains that NIH-supported clinical trials are required to include women and members of racial and ethnic groups as a practice of good science in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (March 8, 2014)
- Women vs. Men: Major differences in heart health
In this segment from HER Radio, Dr. Clayton provides examples of how research has taught us how to treat women and men differently with respect to health management. (February 27, 2014)
- Your Health: Sex and gender differences in health and medicine
Dr. Clayton speaks to the Richmond Times Dispatch on sex differences related to cardiovascular health. (February 24, 2014)
- Men and women’s cardiovascular differences go beyond heart attack signs
Despite it being a top killer in both sexes, many people may not realize that there are some significant differences between men’s and women’s hearts, Dr. Clayton told CBS News. (February 21, 2014)
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