WHAM Launches First of Its Kind Report That Shows Economic Value of Investing in Sex and Gender Based Cardiovascular Research 

Report shows that adding $20 million in funding for coronary artery disease research focused specifically on women generates nearly $2 billion in economic benefits



CONTACT: Caroline Ahearn, carolineahearn@rational360.com

Greenwich, CT (October 27, 2021) – WHAM (Women’s Health Access Matters), a nonprofit organization working to increase awareness of and accelerate funding for women’s health research, today released The WHAM Report: Societal Impact of Research Funding for Women’s Health in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), finding that adding $20 million in funding for coronary artery disease research focused specifically on women generates nearly $2 billion in economic benefits, including quality of life increases, and increases in productive years to the workforce.


With support from the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® movement, WHAM commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct The WHAM Report, a data-driven study of the economic impact to society of increasing investment in women’s cardiovascular health.


“Women’s health is an economic issue we cannot afford to ignore. As more than half of the population, responsible for 85% of consumer spending, women drive our economy,” said WHAM Chief Executive Officer and Founder Carolee Lee. “When women are pulled from the workforce because of inadequate treatment options, the economic consequences are vast. The WHAM Report shows the opportunity right now for investing in health research focused on women and the benefits this research brings to men, women and our economy.”

The American Heart Association, the leading global public health organization devoted to a world of longer healthier lives for all, and it’s Go Red for Women movement, collaborated with WHAM because the historic lack of inclusion and underinvestment in women’s heart research has hindered our progress in understanding how and why cardiovascular disease manifests differently in women.

“We know that women experience heart disease differently than men and have different outcomes after cardiac events,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “The WHAM Report asks how does society benefit when we invest in research focused on women?  And the data is stunning showing that increasing the commitment to women’s heart research will drive better health and better economic results.  It’s high time that women are equally represented in cardiovascular research to address the leading cause of death in women.”


Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association’s latest statistical update, women experience a 20% longer wait time than men, from arrival at the hospital to the moment they begin receiving care compared to men. And, from analysis by the CDC, women in their 30s and 40s are more than twice as likely to die from cardiovascular diseases than breast cancer.  Yet, in 2019 just 4.5% ($20 million) of 2019 NIH coronary artery disease research focused specifically on women.


The WHAM Report study on coronary artery disease finds large returns from very small health investments. These returns are greater than those expected from general research and bring benefits for both women and men. Key takeaways include:

  • Adding $20 million yields nearly $2 billion in economic benefits, a 9,500% return on investment.
  • Americans would avoid more than 53,000 years of heart disease (nearly 40,000 for women and over 13,000 for men).
  • Labor productivity would go up by almost 12,000 years and $236 million because heart-healthy women and men could stay in the workforce longer and earn more.
  • Women would gain almost 20,000 years of life and men more than 8,000 because of cardiac research breakthroughs.
  • Women would have almost 36,000 more quality-adjusted life years, or QALYs — years living in good health — and men would have nearly 13,000.


The WHAM Report on the Societal Impact of Research Funding for Women’s Health in Coronary Artery Disease is the second in a series of reports issued by WHAM. The WHAM Report study on the economic impacts of Alzheimer’s disease research focused on women was released in April 2021. WHAM will be releasing a third study outlining the economic impacts of investing in rheumatoid arthritis research focused on women in November 2021. In the future, WHAM plans to include Lung Cancer, and also study different socioeconomic groups to the extent that data are available and detail the global data which expands this research.


“I am thankful for the dedicated work of the RAND research team who produced this report, and to the American Heart Association for bringing these findings to life,” said Carolee Lee. “Now, I encourage other leaders to draw from this data and act on this report so that we can make meaningful change.”

About WHAM (Women’s Health Access Matters) 

Women’s health is an economic issue we can’t afford to ignore. WHAM works to increase awareness of and funding for women’s health research by accelerating scientific discovery in women’s health in four primary disease verticals – autoimmune disease, brain health, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The WHAM Report quantifies the economic opportunity for investing in women’s health, looking across diseases that impact women differently and differentially, including coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. www.thewhamreport.org


Scroll to Top