One of the most exciting activities taking place this year is the development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-Wide Strategic Plan for Research on Women's Health.

Developing a strategic plan is not something that happens often at the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH). The previous plan, Moving into the Future with New Dimensions and Strategies: A Vision for 2020 for Women's Health Research  (PDF - 1.3MB), was developed in 2010 and included input from administrators, advocates, elected officials, healthcare providers, patients, policy experts, scientists, and other stakeholders. 

These contributors focused on the lack of the systematic and consistent inclusion of women and female animal models in NIH-supported research. Over the past 20 years, research revealed that from single cells to multiple biological systems and mechanisms, sex differences exist—and these differences are not just hormone based.

People lent their voices and opinions to help spearhead the previous strategic plan. Your voice and opinion can make a difference today. However, we need your input by November 10—see the Request for Information: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-108.html.  

The strategic plan under development identifies three cross-cutting themes that will stimulate new approaches, priorities, and research areas to help put science to work for the health of women:

  1. A multidimensional approach to the science of women's health
  2. Expansion of the exploration of Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) in NIH research
  3. Quality of life and disease burden over the life-course

The strategic plan will continue to support the advancement of our understanding of sex/gender influences in health and disease, foster partnerships to improve translating and disseminating health information, and integrate sex/gender perspectives in emerging basic science fields and in translational research and technologies.

 

ORWH seeks your comments on the following:

  • What are some ways that the scope of each theme might be expanded or more narrowly focused to address the most important areas in research on women's health?
  • What topics would you recommend adding to the list of cross-cutting themes for research on women's health?
  • What big idea or audacious goal to improve women's health should be pursued by NIH? 

The health of women has a direct bearing on the health of their families and communities, and ultimately, the health of societies. In an increasingly interconnected world, the health of an individual or a community can, in some way, affect the health of all. Your voice can make a difference.

References

  1. National Institutes of Health. Office of Research on Women's Health (2010). “Moving into the Future with New Dimensions and Strategies: A Vision for 2020 for Women's Health Research.” https://orwh.od.nih.gov/resources/pdf/ORWH_StrategicPlan2020_Vol1.pdf  (PDF - 1.3MB). Accessed October 1, 2017.

  2. National Institutes of Health. Office of Research on Women's Health (2017). “Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Research on Women's Health.” https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-108.html. Accessed October 1, 2017.