News Article

Aspira Women’s Health, Black Women’s Health Imperative Lead Congressional Briefing


Call to Action for Congress to Drive Immediate Progress in Conquering Ovarian Cancer

For a full pdf of this press release please click here

To watch a replay of the briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfsrNE3P28U

Austin, TX – September 30, 2021:  Aspira Women’s Health Inc (“Aspira”) (Nasdaq: AWH) together with the Black Women’s Health Imperative participated in a Congressional Briefing on September 27, 2021, to discuss the gaps in ovarian health diagnostics and treatments as well as solutions to successfully address them. Immediate and innovative actions regarding education, research investment, detection, and insurance coverage were highlighted, in addition to the dire consequences of racial and ethnic disparities and inequities endemic to this malignancy. Leadership at Aspira was able to drive awareness for our proprietary ovarian cancer risk assessment, OVA1plusTM for women with pelvic masses, as well as stress the need for streamlining the process for payor coverage and highlight the superior performance of OVA1plusTM in Black women.

Ovarian cancer remains one of the most lethal gynecological cancers, despite decades of research. Ovarian cancer is the only gender-specific cancer with a greater than 50% mortality rate; every day approximately 60 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and there are an estimated 235,000 women living with ovarian cancer in the United States each year.1

The briefing was well-attended by more than 350 guests including many members of Congress and received significant media attention. Speakers at the briefing included:

  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Chair, House Appropriations Committee
  • Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues
  • Diane Powis, PhD, Ovarian Cancer Warrior and Chief Spokeswoman, Aspira Women’s Health Inc.
  • Elena Ratner, MD,  Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; Director of Gynecologic Oncology, Yale School of Medicine
  • Linda Goler Blount, MPH President and CEO, Black Women’s Health Imperative
  • Chad Ramsey, MPA, Vice President of Policy, Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
  • Valerie Palmieri, President and CEO, Aspira Women’s Health Inc.

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, I am eager to participate in the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Congressional Briefing because there is no women’s issue more pressing than our health — and awareness combined with early detection will save lives,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04). “Grateful to the organizations like Aspira Women’s Health, Black Women’s Health Imperative and Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance who work to saves lives not just this month, but year-round.” 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) stated, “The fight against this disease is personal for me. My own ovarian cancer was detected in its earliest stages purely by chance during an unrelated doctor’s visit. I consider myself extremely fortunate, but no woman should have to rely on luck alone. We must do all we can to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. We must also fight for increased investments in biomedical research and strong paid family and medical leave legislation, so women and families do not have to choose between healing or caring for loved ones and their paycheck. Remember that Congress is an institution that responds to external pressure. Please continue to stand up and speak out.”

Linda Goler Blount, MPH, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative said, “While we have made progress in detecting and treating ovarian cancer over the past 25 years, not everyone has benefitted.  Survival rates for Black women have decreased; Black women die at a 30% higher rate than white women; and their physicians are not as likely to recommend aggressive treatment. The opportunity to brief members of Congress was an important highlight on the unnecessary disparities Black women face in accessing quality care, receiving genetic testing, and participating in clinical research – all of which would save thousands of mothers, daughters, and sisters every year.” 

Diane Powis, Ph.D., Chief Spokeswoman, Aspira Women’s Health emphasized,“It is due to the insidious nature of ovarian cancer—- it's often silent, overlooked symptoms, dismissed by so many women and, tragically, by their doctors, that thousands of women die needlessly from this devastating disease each year.”

Valerie Palmieri, President, and CEO of Aspira Women’s Health added, “ The engagement of Congress during this briefing was remarkable!  Participating in this briefing to educate members of Congress, on the state of ovarian cancer and the need for early risk detection, was truly a necessity as there has been very little change in disease outcomes for decades. Increasing the government’s awareness of the gaps and turning this engagement into action is a priority for Aspira.  OVA1 is the only FDA-cleared,  ACOG endorsed solution is the only solution for all ages, stages, cancer types and diverse populations and is essential to saving the lives of the thousands of women affected by this devastating disease.”

About Black Women’s Health Imperative

The Black Women's Health Imperative (BWHI) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to achieving health equity and social justice for Black women, across the lifespan, through policy, advocacy, education, research, and leadership development. The organization identifies the most pressing health issues that affect the nation's 22 million Black women and girls and invests in the best of the best strategies and organizations that accomplish its goals.