Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Maria.

You give me hope too.

It’s what you do.

In Alzheimer’s, you’ve given others hope during some of their darkest times – even as you were going though yours – shining your light so others can find their way forward.

And you’re giving so many women hope.

Just look at this incredible center at the Cleveland Clinic, and all the women and families whose lives will be changed because of you.

In this moment, I can’t help but think of your mother – who changed so many lives of her own. You carry forward her legacy – fighting for the health of our nation and the planet, always looking for the best way to make the biggest difference for the most people. And with each mark you make on the world, you gift us with a little of her light and her love too.

I know all of us are so thankful. And I think she would be so proud.

Her tenacity is a part of you. Because when you set your mind to something – you don’t back down.

I’ve seen it myself – it’s why I’m here today.

Yes, it all started with that meeting Maria talked about.

I’d met you as second lady, when you were First Lady of California. But we had never sat down like that – never talked about what was on our hearts.

You laid out a problem that was so simple – but so often ignored: that women’s health is understudied and research is underfunded. And too many of our medications, treatments, and medical school textbooks are based on men.

This has created gaps in our understanding of conditions that mostly affect women, only affect women, or affect women and men differently, leaving women seeking health care in a medical world largely designed for men.

It was one of those moments that happen in life, where you learn something and you can never see the world the same way again.

Suddenly, the problem almost felt obvious – because we all know it.

If you ask any woman in America about her healthcare, she probably 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 going through menopause, who visits her doctor and leaves with more questions than answers, even though half the country will go through menopause at some point in their lives.

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

As I’ve traveled to research centers and conferences and universities, I’ve shared this with the people I meet. And I see the nods each time – as women, and men, have the same realization I had with Maria.

But it’s not enough to just talk about it. President Biden and I knew we had to work to change this.

That’s why Joe has pushed forward all those pieces that may not have seemed possible before: The first White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, requesting $12 billion from Congress in his State of the Union, signing an Executive Order to make sure that when the government funds research, that work includes women from the beginning. And ensuring that when we make discoveries, those ideas get to the women and families waiting for answers.

And, as part of the initiative, ARPA-H – the agency Joe created to pursue breakthrough health research at lighting speed – launched a “sprint” for women’s health. That means this year, the agency will invest millions to push forward innovations that could be life-changing for women.

All of you have been a part of work like this on Alzheimer’s and other diseases. You’ve poured in resources. You’ve pushed science forward. You’ve changed how we talk about this disease. You’ve seen the power of conversations like the one Maria and I had – how they ripple outwards, reshaping our world.

All of you can create those ripples too – can take what you’ve learned here and share it, can find ways to shift the world. 

Because, if this is the difference one year can make, imagine where we will be this time next year – or the year after…or in 10 years!

There is so much more for us to discover – lives that could be transformed, or even saved. Families that could find the answers they need. Patients who no longer have to struggle with pain or confusion – who could get a second chance at life, not only women, but men too. Because these discoveries could give us insight into all of us. 

That’s the power of research: to investigate and innovate, to help and heal, to build a better health care system – one that places women and their lived experiences at its center.

Thank you for being a part of this work.

Together, we will write new stories about women’s health care. Ones where women leave doctors’ offices with more answers than questions. Where no woman or girl has to hear that, “it’s all in your head,” or, “it’s just stress” ever again. Where women don’t just survive, they lead long, healthy, and happy lives.

Thank you.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top