For Immediate Release
May 26, 2024
Contact Information

Will McDonald

(BPRW) Congresswoman Brown Introduces U-FIGHT Act to Promote Early Detection, Treatment, and Research on Uterine Fibroids

No coordinated HHS grant program exists for fibroids, which can cause severe pain and significant symptoms

(Black PR Wire) Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Shontel Brown (OH-11) has introduced new legislation to encourage a new federal grant program for the detection and treatment of uterine fibroids, The Uterine Fibroid Intervention and Gynecological Health and Treatment Act (U-FIGHT Act).

The U-FIGHT Act authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to increase early detection of and intervention for uterine fibroids, education and awareness programs, and research. The U-FIGHT Act also addresses Asherman’s syndrome, uterine scar tissue build-up following surgery, as well as disparities in pain control and management as it relates to uterine fibroids.

The U-FIGHT Act is co-led by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09), who is also the sponsor of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Actwhich would support National Institutes of Health research into uterine fibroids. Stephanie Tubbs Jones represented Ohio’s 11th District from 1999-2008 and first introduced the Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act in 2001.

Congresswoman Brown’s U-Fight Act has 50 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

The U-Fight Act is endorsed by: The White Dress Project, The Fibroid Foundation, Black Health Matters, Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Birthing Beautiful CommunitiesThe Center for Black Health & Equity,University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and MetroHealth.

“Uterine fibroids are extremely common, frequently painful, and disproportionally impact Black women – yet there is no comprehensive federal program to address fibroids. That has to change. The U-FIGHT Act encourages early detection, treatment, education and research. For too long women have suffered in silence due to fibroids, I am proud to introduce the U-FIGHT Act so that women can be heard,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown.

"For too long, we have witnessed institutional neglect and intentional marginalization make Black women the tragic victims of disparate health outcomes that deliver lasting harms. And uterine fibroids are anything but the exception. It’s past time to invest meaningful resources in the research and resources needed to close these gaps by centering the health of those who have been underserved and overlooked their entire lives. Through increased access and funding for early detection methods, the Uterine Fibroid Intervention and Gynecological Health and Treatment Act represents a meaningful step in our fight to give every Black woman the healthy, happy life she deserves. I’m proud to stand alongside Congresswoman Brown to support this legislative solution that will make a real, tangible difference in the lives of Black women and countless others across the nation," said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.

“The White Dress Project's support for the U-FIGHT Act stems from a profound understanding of the struggles faced by women managing life with fibroids and reproductive health challenges. This bill isn't just about legislation; it's a beacon of hope for millions of women, particularly Black women who are disproportionately affected. By spotlighting the urgency of early detection and intervention, the U-FIGHT Act not only enhances the quality of care but also addresses systemic disparities in healthcare. Together, let's champion this vital legislation and empower women to reclaim control over their health and futures,” said Tanika Gray Valbrun, Founder & CEO of The White Dress Project.

“The Fibroid Foundation applauds Rep. Brown for the introduction of the UFIGHT bill. The prevalence of fibroids, as the most frequently diagnosed gynecologic tumor, mandates that we sustain multiple avenues of support, screening, research and funding until we find a cure. Pain and stigma can no longer be the norm. Women and menstruators deserve more,” said Sateria Venable, Founder & CEO of The Fibroid Foundation.

Our support in co-sponsoring the Uterine Fibroid Intervention and Gynecological Health and Treatment Act (U-FIGHT) is because here at Black Health Matters™, we know how critical research is needed to understand why fibroids disproportionately affect Black women. We must find methods that improve our quality of care, including earlier detection of fibroids, more effective treatments, and further research on Asherman's syndrome. We deserve good health,” said Corynne Corbett, Editorial Director Black Health Matters.

““Fibroids are unfortunately quite common, particularly in women aged 30 to 40, and may negatively impact quality of life for our patients,” said Verda J. Hicks, MD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “ACOG is pleased to endorse the U-FIGHT Act with the hope that it will increase access to early screening and detection and allow patients to be offered more tailored, less invasive treatment options. This legislation is especially important and beneficial for Black women who have a 2–3 times higher prevalence of uterine fibroids compared with White women, yet they are often delayed in receiving proper diagnoses and care due in large part to systemic racism. This increased investment in research is sorely needed to better understand the causes, most effective treatments, and the disparities related to fibroids. ACOG thanks Reps. Brown and Clarke for their leadership and for introducing a bill that aims to improve access to, and reduce racial health inequities in, gynecologic care.”

“We extend our sincere appreciation to Representative Shontel Brown for her leadership in introducing the U-FIGHT Act, a pivotal undertaking in women's healthcare. With millions of Ohioans grappling with uterine fibroids, this legislation signifies a critical expansion of reproductive rights. The disproportionate impact of uterine fibroids on people of color underscores the urgent need for initiatives like the U-FIGHT Act, which aims to address systemic inequities in healthcare access and outcomes. By acknowledging and addressing racial disparities in uterine fibroid prevalence, we can work towards a more just and equitable healthcare system that prioritizes the health and well-being of all individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity," said Dr. Marcela Azevedo, Co-Founder & President Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights.

“University Hospitals supports the U-FIGHT Act, which will improve detection and treatment of uterine fibroids, a common condition in women that disproportionately affects African-Americans. This legislation not only supports research to help address healthcare disparities, but promotes access to earlier detection of fibroids and less-invasive treatment options, both of which lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life for patients,” said Stephanie Teal, MD, MPH, Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief, University Hospitals and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UH Cleveland Medical Center.

“MetroHealth is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent far too women in our community from accessing screenings and treatments that can dramatically improve their quality of life. We look forward to working with Congresswoman Brown to advance legislation that would expand access to early screenings and detection methods for uterine fibrosis, a debilitating condition that impacts millions of women, especially women of color. Together, we can create a healthier community for every woman,” said MetroHealth President & CEO Airica Steed, Ed.D, RN, MBA, FACHE.

“Providing education, research, and access to screening for uterine fibroids is important to improving the quality of care for the millions of women affected by them,” said Beri Ridgeway, M.D., Chief of Staff at Cleveland Clinic. “While not all fibroids require treatment, detection and intervention can reduce symptoms and complications, particularly among women of color, who are impacted by them at a higher rate.”

“At Birthing Beautiful Communities, we are proud to support The U-Fight Act, which would enhance the quality of life for all women diagnosed with uterine fibroids. It is an important step forward in women's health. Unfortunately, many women, particularly Black women, are disproportionately impacted by this condition, and we want to ensure that we have the ability to change that and its impact on our communities," said Jazmin Long, President & CEO, Birthing Beautiful Communities.

"For far too long, the lives of Black women have been disproportionately impacted by uterine fibroids. The burden of medical expenses, missed workdays, and reduced productivity due to symptoms and treatments can exacerbate existing racial disparities. Additionally, the pain, discomfort, and potential complications associated with uterine fibroids hinder the overall well-being and quality of life of Black women, affecting their ability to thrive in various aspects of society. Care providers and policy makers must recognize the unique needs of Black women regarding uterine fibroids and develop tailored strategies to address them. This includes providing access to quality healthcare services, educational and support programs, and research initiatives to better understand the causes and effects of uterine fibroids. In order to ensure that health justice is achieved for Black women, we must take action," said Bronwyn Lucas, MPH Deputy Director of Programs & ServicesThe Center for Black Health & Equity.

Why the U-Fight Act is Necessary 

  • Uterine fibroids can cause pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and problems with fertility. Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the United States. In rare cases, uterine fibroids require emergency treatment.
  • Early detection and intervention treatment can reduce the need for invasive surgery and treatment options that may impact fertility, including hysterectomy.
  • Early detection can also prevent tumor progression and worsening symptoms (heavy bleeding, cramping, abnormal menstruation).

 The U-FIGHT Act 

  • The U-FIGHT Act authorizes The Secretary of Health and Human Services to: 
  1. Conduct or support research on the early detection or intervention of uterine fibroids.
  2. Formulate evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies to increase early detection in health care settings. 
  • Under the legislation, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may award grants to states for carrying out programs to:
    • Increase early detection and intervention for uterine fibroids, with funds supporting screening procedures, patient navigation services, program implementation, and patient access to health care settings.
    • Develop and implement public awareness and education campaigns for the early detection and intervention of uterine fibroids.
      • Priority shall be given to States proposing to carry out their program in geographic areas with socially vulnerable populations of elevated risk
  • The Secretary may also award grants to support research on:
    • Disparities in pain control and management in uterine fibroid surgical treatment or:
    • Asherman’s Syndrome, intrauterine adhesions, and other intrauterine conditions
  • U-FIGHT requires the submission of a report to Congress and the public detailing findings and developments