Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, Interim President at Michigan State University, discusses the Biden White House’s announcement of the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. She emphasizes the importance of focusing on women’s health in the journey towards personalized medicine. This initiative is expected to enable personal well-being, ensure generational health, and promote fundamental fairness.
Woodruff highlights the lack of inclusion of sex as a biological variable in the majority of published papers, which skews the entire pipeline of work from bench discovery through therapeutic intervention in a male direction. This oversight has long-term implications for patient treatment and clinical care, and the White House initiative is expected to address these issues and enable individual health in ways not fully enacted before.
She also points out that while not all of women’s well-being is maternal health, maternal health is only ensured by a focus on women. The initiative is expected to bring about better generational health for those born after its implementation and address issues such as maternal mortality rate and lack of services.
The new initiative is seen as a step towards fundamental fairness and addressing an issue that has not been improving on its own. Woodruff notes that the number of studies that cited sex as a biological variable actually decreased over a 20-year interval, highlighting the need for a reversal of this trend. Ultimately, the focus on women’s health is seen as beneficial for society as a whole.