May 17, 2022

Duckworth, Schakowsky Introduce Resolution to Expand Women’s Health Research


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) today introduced a resolution calling for an expansion of women’s health research and to close persistent gaps in funding for sex- and gender-based biomedical research. This resolution also recognizes the importance of women’s health in our nation’s economy and workforce.

“For too long, women have been historically and categorically left out of medical research—jeopardizing their health, well-being and opportunities to advance in their careers,” said Senator Duckworth. “That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to introduce this resolution with Congresswoman Schakowsky to expand women’s health research. By increasing biomedical research focused on women's health and diseases that disproportionately impact them, we can help deliver real results for all Americans.”

“For decades, women of all races, ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic groups have been underrepresented in biomedical research,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Chronic diseases and medications impact women differently than men. Eighty percent of people with autoimmune diseases are women, and women are 50 percent more likely to die the year following a heart attack. Older women have unique medical issues that are rarely represented in clinical trials. I am grateful that biomedical research has made tremendous advances towards improving public health, but full representation of all women is the only way to guarantee that everyone has access to the best health care the world has to offer. I am proud to introduce this resolution, to uplift the need for doubled investments in women’s health research and to increase awareness around the value of women-based research. Inclusion of diverse women in biomedical research benefits everyone, leading to better drugs and treatments for all.”

Despite women being disproportionately impacted by autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s disease and heart attacks, only a fraction of health research in these areas is focused specifically on women. This lack of information on how men and women experience these diseases differently can lead to more medical complications—particularly for older women—and delays in care. From women leaving the workforce to manage their illnesses and women facing increasing healthcare costs, this research gap can lead to significant economic consequences.

Along with Duckworth and Schakowsky, this resolution is originally cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). In the U.S. House of Representatives, this legislation is originally cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY-16), Lois Frankel (D-FL-12) and Kathy Manning (D-NC-06).

The copy of the bill text can be found here.

Additionally, this resolution is endorsed by: WHAM (Women’s Health Access Matters); American Heart Association; American Medical Women’s Association; American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics; Arthritis Foundation; Association of Black Cardiologists; Autoimmune Association; BrightFocus Foundation; Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois College of Medicine; Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Endocrine Society; GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer; Hadassah; La Jolla Institute for Immunology; Society for Women’s Health Research; Springboard Enterprises; UsAgainstAlzheimer’s; Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health; Women’s Health Innovation Coalition; and Magee-Women’s Research Institute & Foundation.

Duckworth has made protecting and expanding access to essential women’s healthcare a top priority as a Senator. Last year, President Biden signed Duckworth’s bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Served Act into law to help address the maternal mortality crisis among women Veterans by improving care at VA facilities and shedding light on the scope of this crisis, particularly among women of color. Duckworth also worked with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to secure a provision in the American Rescue Plan that gives states a five-year option to extend healthcare coverage for new moms on Medicaid from 60 days after pregnancy to a full year. The provision was based off of legislation that Duckworth, Durbin and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) re-introduced last year that seeks to reduce America’s rising maternal and infant mortality rate.

Additionally, Duckworth introduced the Support Through Loss Act last year to raise awareness about pregnancy loss and establish new paid leave benefits for workers experiencing painful challenges while seeking to grow their family. In March, Duckworth introduced a resolution recognizing the significance of endometriosis as an unmet chronic disease for women and designating March 2022 as National Endometriosis Awareness Month.