The Institute of Medicine has published a new report, Women’s Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise, which discusses conditions on which women’s health research has contributed to major progress (e.g. breast and cervical cancer), and areas of research in which less progress has been made to date (e.g., unintended pregnancy, maternal morbidity and mortality, lung cancer). The authors also examine issues such as whether the most appropriate research methods are being used to study women’s health, whether the findings from research are making it into clinical practice and being communicated to women in a meaningful way, and what the current gaps are in such research.
The report includes recommendations that the U.S. government should “sustain and strengthen” its focus on women’s health research and target research to populations of women with the highest disease burden. The authoring panel also recommends requiring a plan for communicating findings of federally-funded research to the public, and that a national media advisory panel of experts in women’s health be established to provide context to reporters and others related to new research.