Creation of Offices on Women's Health at the federal level

The Capitol Building

Within HHS there are several offices and agencies dedicated to women’s health. Congress has played a key role in establishing and authorizing these offices on women’s health in the federal government, in addition to funding the work of the government each year. The 2010 Affordable Care Act codifies the establishment of several Offices of Women’s Health within HHS and gives these offices, all of which were already in existence, new authority, agency, and protection from termination or reorganization without the direct approval of Congress. (For more information see “Title III. Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Health Care, Section 3509, Improving Women’s Health” of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.)

At NIH, the Office of Research on Women’s Health was established in September 1990 as the first Public Health Service office dedicated specifically to promoting women’s health and sex differences research.

In 1991, the HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH) was established to advance and coordinate a comprehensive women's health agenda throughout HHS. In 1993, OWH began leading and overseeing the HHS Coordinating Committee on Women's Health (CCWH), which had been established in 1984 to advise the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. The committee's members include senior-level representatives from each of the federal agencies and offices within HHS.

In 1992, an Associate Administrator for Women’s Services was established at SAMHSA.  In 1994, Offices of Women’s Health were established at the FDA and the CDC. In 1999, AHRQ established an Office of Women’s Health and Gender Research, and in 2000, HRSA established an Office of Women’s Health.

All of these federal offices coordinate their work to advance women’s health through the HHS CCWH. Learn more about recent women’s health activities across the federal government.