Greenwich, CT (June 29, 2021) – Today, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton joined Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM) and BrightFocus Foundation for a press conference to discuss WHAM Report data showing that investments in women’s health research produce higher returns, particularly for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD) research. WHAM and BrightFocus Foundation announced their partnership to increase funding for women’s health research.
“The WHAM Report shows us that fixing disparities in health research by increasing investment is in our best interest, not only for our health, but for our economy,” said Carolee Lee, CEO and Founder of WHAM. “We need more research dollars and investment in companies focused on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment on diseases in which women are disproportionately affected. How can we continue to make decisions based on information that excludes most of our population, half our workforce, two-thirds of our wealth holders, and nearly all our spenders? We can’t – and we shouldn’t. We are proud to partner with BrightFocus Foundation and grateful for their early support of this important work and their leadership in driving change throughout the Alzheimer’s disease community.”
“This is really about, for the first time, galvanizing the business community and other leaders to really raise awareness around the importance of women’s health as it relates to [Alzheimer’s] disease,” said Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO of BrightFocus. “There just hasn’t been that unified effort and focus that I think will be coming with these resources. Because when women can join forces and work together with people to raise the urgency that’s when you can start to affect change. And that’s why.”
“Brightfocus funds research worldwide to end diseases of mind and sight. In partnering with WHAM to build the important economic argument for funding women’s health research, we will raise public awareness about the importance of sex-based differences” said Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO of BrightFocus Foundation. “Together will continue to raise funds in this important under-explored area of science. The WHAM report provides urgency around showing the economic imperative of improving women’s brain health. BrightFocus Foundation recently announced 25.3 million for 160 projects in mind and sight research. We look forward to leading and investing in more sex-based research to help all of us.”
“Two-thirds of persons with Alzheimer’s are women, and our research has shown that it’s because women can begin the path to Alzheimer’s during the midlife transition of menopause. This is a phenomenal opportunity to change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s in two-thirds of persons that can develop that disease,” said Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, Director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona. “The latest research focusing on sex- and gender-based differences is revealing substantive and innovative breakthroughs. For researchers, the WHAM Report helps make the case to funders that sex- and gender-specific studies in Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary to advance forward to that precision medicine and precision cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”
“The aging brain is not only very different from the young brain, but we have also observed very significant differences between the aged male brain and the aged female brain,” added Dr. Sharyn Rossi, Director of Scientific Programs for Neuroscience at the BrightFocus Foundation. “At BrightFocus we are able to shape the future of research to include sex and gender differences and also differences across diverse populations. This partnership with WHAM is so exciting to continue to push this field forward in this very important area.”
The medical research gender gap holds back our health and our economy. Alzheimer’s disease cost our economy $305 billion in 2020. Women are 66% of patients, yet only 12% of research dollars focus specifically on women. WHAM, with support from BrightFocus Foundation, commissioned the RAND Corporation to assess the economic impacts of accelerating women’s health research. The WHAM Report ADRD study found that doubling current research funding focused specifically on women, adding $280 million, would generate $930 million in returns to the economy, a 15% higher return than general research yields.
About BrightFocus Foundation
Founded in 1973, BrightFocus funds exceptional scientific research worldwide to defeat Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and provides expert information on these heartbreaking diseases. A 501(c)(3), BrightFocus works to save mind a sight. For more information, visit brightfocus.org.
About Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM)
WHAM works to increase awareness of and funding for women’s health issues and to improve the inequities and bias in research by accelerating scientific discovery in women’s health in four primary disease verticals – autoimmune disease, brain health, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The first WHAM Report, focused on Alzheimer’s, shows the impact of accelerating sex and gender–based health research on women, their families, and the economy. For more information, visit whamnow.org and thewhamreport.org.