Giving Compass’ Take:
• Researchers from Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital discuss the lack of adequate medical information about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease in women as it differs from men.
• How can philanthropy close the gender gap in research on diseases that impact men and women? How can philanthropy boost research for female-specific conditions?
It is now clear that men and women experience illness differently and this report looks closely at four diseases where this is especially true: cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The past two decades have shown not only that sex differences exist but have produced scientific advancements that enhance our ability to discover why they occur and how we might adapt prevention, detection and treatment strategies for the benefit of women and men alike. Therefore, to ignore these differences challenges the quality and integrity of science and medicine.
All women and men can play a role in making sex- and gender-based research the norm. They can demand that their policymakers ensure that women are included in all phases of medical research and that sex differences are studied and evaluated at all levels as is currently required by law. They can demand that the findings be translated from bench to bedside for the benefit of all. And when they seek care, they can ask their doctors if the recommended prevention strategies, diagnostic tests, and medical treatments are based on research that included women.
The historical lack of research focus on women’s health concerns has compromised the quality of health information available to women as well as the healthcare they receive.