From the FDA Office of Women’s Health
It’s been an exciting year for women’s health and FDA’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH) is proud to continue our important work of supporting FDA’s regulatory mission and protecting and promoting the health of women through policy, science, education, and outreach.
As we near the end of the year, we’re recapping some of the work we did this year to advance women’s health. In 2023 alone, our office distributed more than 1.6 million women’s health publications to inform, empower and engage our various stakeholders.
We encourage you to take time to read and share our free resources with your communities, organizations, and health care offices. Below are some highlights from OWH this year.
OWH scientific webinars, workshops and meetings
Throughout the year, OWH hosted educational webinars for FDA and HHS employees, and public workshops and webinars for health care professionals and other stakeholders on the latest scientific research on a broad range of health topics important to women.
Public workshops and meetings included: PCOS Revisited: Diagnosis, Management, and Future Needs, Menopause: Potential Impact on Clinical Pharmacology and Opportunities for Future Research and Bringing Clinical Research to Patients. Learn more and view recordings of these and other OWH events.
OWH funding initiatives and research publications
OWH awards research grants for studies to address regulatory research questions related to women’s health issues and the impact of sex differences on product safety and efficacy. During 2023, we funded a wide variety of projects as part of OWH’s women’s health research program, such as a study on human skin models to predict absorption of cosmetic ingredients, a project evaluating sex disparities in safety signals for opioid drugs, and a project with a systematic approach to predict the excretion of antidepressants into breast milk. OWH research funded in previous years produced several peer-reviewed publications in 2023, on topics including heart failure, machine learning algorithms, medical device validation, and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
OWH staff also published peer-reviewed scientific articles on topics including medication use during pregnancy, the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopausal symptoms, and the participation of HIV-1 infected treatment-naive females in clinical trials and sex differences in efficacy and safety outcomes.
Outreach and consumer education resources
OWH’s theme for National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) 2023 was to encourage women to #KNOWHmore About Your Health, Today and Every Day. Some of the topics highlighted for the week included pregnancy, uterine fibroids, menopause, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
In 2023, OWH produced a new and blog to provide information on pregnancy exposure registries. Pregnancy exposure registries are research studies that collect information about the effects of prescription medicines taken, or vaccines received during pregnancy. We encourage you to learn more and review our updated pregnancy exposure registries webpages.
A few years ago, OWH created the Knowledge and News on Women’s Health blog to educate and share the latest women’s health topics and insights that may not be well known to women and other stakeholders. Along with the pregnancy registries OWH blog, additional topics included women and heart health, PCOS, minority mental health, and mammography.
Our researchers do important and groundbreaking work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the FDA. In honor of National STEM Day, members of OWH shared what it’s like to pursue a career in STEM and why we need more young women in this industry.
To raise awareness about the importance of mammograms for breast cancer screening, OWH developed new mammography resources including a new video, blog, and social media toolkit, and updated mammography webpage to help educate women about the importance mammograms as the best primary screening tool to find breast cancer.
In 2023, OWH distributed more than 1.6 million women’s health publications to inform, empower, and engage our various stakeholders. OWH created new women and anxiety web content and fact sheets in 19 languages to provide women with more information on anxiety symptoms, common treatment options, and more. OWH updated the heart health social media toolkit to help women learn more about heart disease.
We encourage you to view and share these and other OWH women’s health topic resources and share this blog with a friend or colleague.