ment organizations have also provided leadership in research in women’s health. And women as advocates, research subjects, researchers, clinicians, administrators, and US representatives and senators have played a major role in building a women’s health movement.


Given the research activities occurring in women’s health over the last 2 decades, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-161) Congress provided the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH) with funds for the IOM “to conduct a comprehensive review of the status of women’s health research, summarize what has been learned about how diseases specifically affect women, and report to the Congress on suggestions for the direction of future research.” In response, the OWH requested that the IOM conduct a study of women’s health research; the charge to the committee for the project is presented in Box S-1.

In response to that request, the IOM convened a committee of 18 members who had a wide variety of expertise, including expertise in biomedical research, research translation, research communication, disabilities, epidemiology, healthcare services, behavioral and social determinants of health, health disparities, nutrition, public health, women’s health, clinical decision making, and such other medical specialties as cardiovascular disease (CVD), mental health, endocrinology, geriatrics, and immunology.


The committee met six times, including two open information-gathering sessions at which the members heard from stakeholders and researchers, and conducted extensive literature searches of publications from the last 15–20 years. The committee approached women’s health as a concept that has expanded beyond a narrow focus on the female reproductive system to encompass other conditions


Charge to the Committee

An Institute of Medicine committee will examine what the research on women’s health has revealed; how that research has been communicated to providers, women, the public and others; and identify gaps in those areas. The committee will identify examples of successful dissemination of findings paying particular attention to how the communication has influenced women’s use of care and preventive services. The committee will make recommendations where appropriate.

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