Women Continue to Make Health Policy History | Association for Accessible Medicines
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Vice President Harris announces her candidacy for Vice President in Wilmington, Delaware.
Photo Credit: whitehouse.gov

Women Continue to Make Health Policy History

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions women have made in the arts, science, medicine and business. These achievements build a foundation that men and women today rely on to create new milestones for both personal and professional growth. Today, more women than ever are leading Fortune 500 companies, serving as elected officials at the state and federal level, and leading in their communities. In the realm of U.S. policy, women of both parties are having greater impact at the critical intersection of government and health.

Are you a woman who works in health policy? Check out the Women in Health Policy (WiHP) LinkedIn group.

Below are just a few of the ways that women are making health policy history right now:

  • The first woman vice president. Kamala Harris represents an historic breakthrough in many ways. In serving as President Joe Biden’s second-in-command and as president of the Senate, she plays a vital role in advancing his health care policy and is in position to cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. While I may be the first woman in this office, Harris vowed in her victory speech, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.

    Read more: Celebrating Women’s History Month, by Christine Simmon

  • Representation in Congress. Both the 2018 and 2020 election broke records as the number of women serving in Congress continues to climb, adding to the diversity of thought in Congress. These newly elected senators and representatives have made it clear they plan to wield this power in a way that directly benefits their constituents, through COVID relief and other health care legislation.
  • Republican representation. The record number of GOP women in the 117th Congress is also worth noting. Research shows that when women run for Congress, they are just as likely to win as their male counterparts. This data continued to hold true in 2020.
  • The Biden administration. President Biden’s cabinet features a record number of women and women of color, reflecting his commitment to increased diversity at the highest levels of government. These appointments include:
    • Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., COVID-19 Equity Task Force chair. The associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University told The New York Times: Making sure communities hardest hit by the pandemic have access to safe, effective vaccines remains a priority. But what’s needed to ensure equity in the recovery is not limited to health and health care. We have to have conversations about housing stability and food security and educational equity, and pathways to economic opportunities and promise.
    • Rochelle Walensky, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Upon her appointment, Dr. Walensky — formerly chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital—declared: Better, healthier days lie ahead. But to get there, COVID-19 testing, surveillance and vaccination must accelerate rapidly... Our 24/7 mission is truly more critical than ever.
    • Rachel Levine, M.D., President Biden’s assistant secretary of health, is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As a pediatrician and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Dr. Levine led the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic prior to joining the Biden administration.
    • Katherine Tai was overwhelmingly confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as United States Trade Representative. Her work and pragmatic approach to trade negotiations earned bipartisan support and was instrumental in a more balanced United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).
    • Janet Woodcock, M.D., is acting chief of the Food and Drug Administration. The longtime public servant oversees the entire FDA portfolio, ensuring the FDA remains the world’s gold standard for drug approval and safety.

Since its inception, the goal of Women’s History Month is to celebrate the contributions of women across American society. AAM is pleased to engage leaders across the political and industry spectrum at a time when cultural change is upon us.


Kristin Murphy


By Kristin Murphy, AAM Director of Federal Affairs



Katherine Michelle Raab


By Katherine Michelle Raab
Vice President, Federal Government Affairs

Association for Accessible Medicines


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