Cambridge, MA

Thank you, Maria. Two weeks ago, in Atlanta, you showed me what’s possible when we bring together industry and venture capital and universities to invest in women’s health. Thank you for your work and for sharing your expertise with us.

Thank you, Secretary Becerra and Director Wegrzyn, for your leadership. Joe and I could not have asked for better partners in this work. 

Senators Warren and Markey, Congresswoman Pressley, thank you for fighting for Massachusetts and women across the country. 

Dr. Blumenthal – you’ve been doing this work for decades, thank you for joining us today. 

Mayor Simmons, I’m grateful for the warm welcome to your city. 

Somewhere in this room may be the idea that will cure cancer, cure heart disease, cure Alzheimer’s. 

Heart health, brain health, chronic diseases – you might just have the answers if only we dissolve the barriers standing in your way. 

Well today, we begin to do just that. Thank you for joining us. 

Following the death of our son, Joe and I talked with many of you about how we could advance the fight against cancer. And we heard again and again that you would discover breakthroughs, only to find out that there was no clear path to bringing those ideas to patients. 

Because of his experience in government, Joe knew there was a model for accelerating research, first developed at DARPA – the Department of Defense agency that created technology that has transformed our society: the internet, GPS, Siri. 

Joe wanted to use that same bold approach to confront the health challenges of our time. So, he created ARPA-H to launch big ideas with lightning speed, to give scientists the freedom to reach beyond the possible, to invest in the ideas that might have some financial risk, but could revolutionize our health. 

In November, President Biden launched the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. This work is informed by years of advocacy by people like Maria Shriver, and the initiative’s chair, Carolyn Mazure.

We have a clear goal: to fundamentally change how our nation approaches and funds women’s health research. Research on women’s health has always been underfunded, many medical studies have focused on men and left women out, many of the medicine dosages, treatments, medical school textbooks, are based on men and their bodies – and that information doesn’t always apply to women. There are big gaps in research on diseases and conditions that only affect women, that disproportionately affect women, or that affect women and men differently.

We’ve heard from so many researchers and doctors and women who are excited about this project. 

However, we’ve also heard that too many exciting discoveries for women’s health never leave the lab because they’re seen as “too risky” to invest in. 

Today, I am here to announce that ARPA-H is launching its first-ever “Sprint for Women’s Health.” Over the next year, ARPA-H will invest $100 million to fund life changing research. Through this sprint, we are going to make the types of investments that you told us would change everything. 

We are going to invest in your discoveries early, when private companies may not be willing to take the risk. We are going to give women’s health researchers and startups the funding they need to grow and help them bring ideas to market – and to the women who need them most. 

Because if you ask any woman in America about her health care, she likely has a story to tell. You know her. 

She’s the woman who gets debilitating migraines, but doesn’t know why, and can’t find treatment options that work for her. 

She’s the woman whose heart attack isn’t recognized because her symptoms don’t look like a man’s heart attack, even as heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. 

She’s the woman going through menopause, who visits with her doctor and leaves with more questions than answers, even though half the country will go through menopause at some point in their lives.

Together, through our White House Initiative on Women’s Health, we will write new stories about women’s health care. We will accelerate your ideas and change these women’s lives. We will build a health care system that puts women and their lived experiences at its center. Where no woman or girl has to hear that “it’s all in your head,” or, “it’s just stress.” Where women aren’t just an after-thought, but a first-thought. Where women don’t just survive with chronic conditions, but lead long and healthy lives.

You are dreamers and visionaries.

President Biden wants to help bring those dreams into the world – quickly, and without the hurdles that are sometimes placed in your way. 

So, I thank you for joining us – for being a part of this sprint. 

Now, it’s my great pleasure to introduce Senator Warren.


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