The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women Applauds Senate Committee Action to Help Millions of Women


WASHINGTON D.C. (August 3, 2010) – The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for including language in its Fiscal Year 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Bill that directs federal agencies to advance research and promote awareness of neglected chronic pain conditions that predominantly affect women. This action was taken in response to a groundbreaking report released by the Campaign in May, documenting that the National Institutes of Health invested only $1.33 in research for every woman affected by vulvodynia, temporomandibular disorders (TMJ), endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

“This is another significant victory for our Campaign,” said Terrie Cowley, President, The TMJ Association. “For the first time in history, Congress has moved to enact significant policy changes that will improve the quality of health care provided to millions of American women suffering from prevalent, yet neglected and poorly understood pain conditions.”

The Senate Committee directed four federal agencies as follows:

  • The National Institutes of Health should promptly develop and coordinate a NIH-wide research initiative to support studies aimed at identifying the causes of these disorders, with the goal of identifying potential treatments.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should undertake a study to determine the prevalence of, and risk factors shared by, these pain disorders. Further, CDC is to develop an awareness campaign that will educate the public about the seriousness and societal costs of these conditions, as well as promote sources of reliable information on their symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and overlapping nature.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality should investigate the direct and indirect costs associated with the failure to promptly and adequately diagnosis and treat these conditions, as well as those incurred by employers due to lost productivity, increased number of sick days and increased disability claims.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration is to develop educational programs to improve health care provider’s ability to adequately recognize, diagnose and treat these conditions, as well as reduce gender-based barriers to effective care.

“This is the most comprehensive set of actions Congress has ever taken to end the neglect and discrimination faced by the millions of American women with these chronic pain conditions,” said Kim McCleary, President & CEO, CFIDS Association of America.

On May 19th, the Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women was officially launched at a Capitol Hill briefing, held in coordination with the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues. The Campaign’s groundbreaking report, Chronic Pain in Women: Neglect, Dismissal and Discrimination, which was released at the event, offers policy recommendations that could greatly improve the lives of millions of American women, while saving the government billions of dollars in wasted healthcare costs each year. The hour-long launch event also featured the premiere of the short film, Through the Maze: Women and Pain, and the unveiling of the Campaign website www.EndWomensPain.org.

“Education of health care professionals and the general public is essential during this time of reform, to ensure that women in this country no longer have to suffer in silence,” said Mary Lou Ballweg, President & Executive Director, Endometriosis Association.

“With this first step, we have a real opportunity to change the lives of millions of American women, their families, our economy, and society as a whole, by appropriately investing in research, as well as educating medical professionals and the public at large,” said Christin Veasley, Associate Director, National Vulvodynia Association.

About The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women:

The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women is an advocacy campaign fighting to end discrimination and improve care for women suffering from chronic pain. The Campaign is made up of volunteer leaders from the CFIDS Association of America, Endometriosis Association, National Vulvodynia Association, and The TMJ Association. For more information, visit www.EndWomensPain.org