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The NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health has joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) to observe the 20th anniversary of National Women’s Health Week (NWHW), May 12–18. NWHW calls attention to women’s physical and mental health. The observance period helps to remind women to build positive health habits, such as visiting the doctor regularly, eating healthful foods, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

ORWH and OWH have helped to bring about many advancements in women's health and will continue to do so as they pursue their missions in future years. With the recent release of Advancing Science for the Health of Women: The Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research, ORWH and NIH’s other Institutes, Centers, and Offices have set an ambitious group of goals for the next 5 years:

  • To advance rigorous research that is relevant to the health of women
  • To develop methods and leverage data sources to consider sex and gender influences that enhance research for the health of women
  • To enhance dissemination and implementation of evidence to improve the health of women
  • To promote training and careers to develop a well-trained, diverse, and robust workforce to advance science for the health of women
  • To improve evaluation of research that is relevant to the health of women

The 4th Annual NIH Vivian W. Pinn Symposium, led by ORWH on behalf of NIH, constitutes one step toward achieving these goals. This year’s symposium, “Improving Maternal Health: Behind the Numbers,” will take place on May 15 and will coincide with NWHW. This event will afford clinicians and researchers the opportunity to discuss how — through science — to improve health related to pregnancy and throughout the life course and how to mitigate recent increases in pregnancy-related health problems nationwide. 

As we prepare for the events of NWHW, I am reminded of the purpose of ORWH: “Putting science to work for the health of women.” Please join us in observing NWHW and in renewing our commitment to this important mission.