ORWH is the first Public Health Service office dedicated specifically to promoting women's health research within and beyond the NIH scientific community. ORWH was established in September 1990. Congress assigned a far-reaching leadership role for ORWH by mandating that the ORWH Director: 

  • Advise the NIH Director and staff on matters relating to research on women's health
  • Strengthen and enhance research related to diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women
  • Ensure that research conducted and supported by NIH adequately addresses issues regarding women's health
  • Ensure that women are appropriately represented in biomedical and bio-behavioral research studies supported by the NIH
  • Develop opportunities and support for recruitment, retention, reentry, and advancement of women in biomedical careers
  • Support and advance rigorous research that is relevant to the health of women
  • Ensure NIH-funded research accounts for sex as a biological variable (SABV)

ORWH crafts and implements the NIH Strategic Plan for Women's Health Research in partnership with NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and co-funds research on the role of sex and gender on health. ORWH also collaborates with NIH ICs, the NIH Office of Extramural Research, and the NIH Office of Intramural Research to monitor adherence to NIH's inclusion policies, which ensure that women and minorities are represented in NIH-supported clinical research.

ORWH's interdisciplinary research and career development initiatives stimulate research on sex and gender differences and provide career support to launch promising women's health researchers. These programs set the stage for improved health for women and their families and career opportunities and advancement for a diverse biomedical workforce. 

Download the 30 Years of Advancing Women's Health Timeline.