Department of Defense
United States Army Medical Research and Development Command
Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs

Released: April 1, 2024

The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Contributes to Medical Research in Women's Health

Gayle Vaday, Ph.D., presented the contributions by CDMRP to medical research in women’s health during the 2024 Women’s History Month Observance

FORT DETRICK, Md. – On March 26, Gayle Vaday, Ph.D., the Civilian Deputy Director, presented contributions from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs to medical research in women’s health during the 2024 Women’s History Month Observance.

The event was hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command with the Department of Defense theme of "Women Who Have Made Great Achievements."

"Women's health is at the root, at the foundation, of CDMRP," Vaday said.

In 1992, as a result of a grassroots effort led by the breast cancer advocacy community, the U.S. Congress initially appropriated funding for breast cancer research. Since this establishment of appropriations, the U.S. Congress not only continued to support breast cancer research, but also supported research into other diseases and conditions, forming the CDMRP.

In fiscal year 2024, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $1.5 billion in funds for 35 research programs covering over 90 research topic areas, including conditions that disproportionately affect women, such as autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, some of the focus areas being researched in conditions that affect women differently than men are gender factors linked to autism and maternal-fetal transmission of tick-borne diseases and malaria.

"Typically, you think of reproductive health and maternal health, but in reality, women's health actually spans the whole life course and needs the full spectrum of research and development," Vaday said.

In fiscal year 2022, the CDMRP invested $487.1 million across 374 awards related to women’s health research. These awards addressed medical conditions, such as neurological, psychological, pain, cardiovascular, and cancer.

Women’s health advancements funded by the CDMRP are FDA-approved drug therapies, diagnostic and prognostic biomarker tests, novel approaches to prevention and treatment, new imaging technology for clinical use, and new standards of care for breast and ovarian cancer. Many more advancements are in the clinical pipeline.

The organization is also dedicated to research for diseases and conditions affecting female Service Members, Veterans, and their Family members. Females serving on active duty have been found to have higher incidence rates for some conditions, such as Celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer, according to Vaday.

"We [CDMRP] are committed to making advancements to transforming health care not just for Service Members, but also their Families," Vaday said.

In October 2020, the CDMRP collaborated with the National Institutes of Health and established its own policy on the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. The policy requires all CDMRP-funded clinical research studies to include women and individuals from minority groups, unless there is a clear, justifiable rationale not to include them.

"Women are historically underrepresented in clinical trials, even in studies on diseases that affect women disproportionately compared to men," Vaday said.

Understanding sex and gender differences are important for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, according to Vaday. The CDMRP is establishing a policy on sex as a biological variable to ensure all the research funded considers sex differences in the research design and analysis.

To stay up to date on these advancements, and to see what’s next, please visit the Congressionally Directed Medical Research programs, at:

Point of Contact:

CDMRP Public Affairs

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Last updated Wednesday, April 3, 2024