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Historically, researchers have performed clinical research studies exclusively on males. Dr. Nichole explains:

  • Why this was the case and how this led to less effective medicine and treatment.
  • What are laws and measures the medical community has taken to correct this off balance look at gender in health care.
  • Why it is important to consider sex and gender identification as well as race to achieve health equity.

Dr. Nicole Catherine Woitowich, Associate Director of Women’s Health Institute Research at Northwestern University, discusses the issues using male-dominated research groups created in our present medical treatments. Because women’s hormones fluctuate monthly and have the potential to become pregnant, they were left out of clinical research studies as a protective measure.

But this has led to a misunderstanding of how many medicines truly function for different sexes and genders. For example, Ambien metabolizes differently for men versus women. She discusses difficulties such as the ethics issues with randomized clinical trials for pregnant women, but also suggests solutions such as pregnant women who must take medicines for health reasons becoming involved in a system of self-reporting reactions.

The National Health Institute passed a mandate in 1993 and again a broader one in 2015 to try and correct these measures and transform the disregard for gender in healthcare. Dr. Woitowich talks about how this might change some practices and the hope form more changes to insure health equity across the board, including gender nonconforming , transgender, and nonbinary patients as well.

For more, see the Women’s Health Institute page at https://www.womenshealth.northwestern.edu/

Dr. Wotowich can be found on Twitter @NikiWoitowich and her email address is nicole.woitowich@northwestern.edu

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