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Research

Grand Challenges

Health Inequity

Women experience poorer health from missed diagnoses, minimized symptoms, greater burdens of specific diseases, and poorly targeted treatment compared to men. For instance, compared to men, women are diagnosed two years later for the same disease, are more likely to suffer from adverse effects following treatment and are misdiagnosed more often. These findings, among many others, highlight the vital need for women’s health research to bring health equity between the sexes into balance. 

Lack of Women's Health Research

Many pertinent women’s health variables remain minimally studied, or not at all. For example, several female-specific risk factors for disease (e.g. pregnancy, menopause, hormonal contraceptive use, postmenopausal hormone therapy) are woefully understudied in part due to the recent emphasis on the inclusion of both sexes in research. Women’s health is more than how they differ from men, yet current estimates project that only 2-6% of recent studies are conducted exclusively in females. By linking diverse perspectives and promoting impactful research and methodologies to all health researchers, we can move the women’s health field towards achieving its full potential and begin spreading the benefit of healthy women throughout society. 

Sex and Gender Based Analyses

Inequities in women’s health knowledge have stemmed from a lack of consideration of females in research. Although the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) mandated the inclusion of both sexes in all research, proper implementation of the research has been lacking. For example, the majority of studies are being conducted with inadequate sample sizes for female participants, are being evaluated with ineffective sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA) methodologies (e.g. using binary designations for gender) or are not using statistically appropriate analyses (e.g. using sex as a covariate, which removes the variation due to sex from the analyses, rather than harnessing sex as the discovery variable). Thus, it is imperative for researchers to implement SGBA appropriately to improve health for all. 

Research Themes

Given that our grand challenges transcend a broad range of research, we have three comprehensive research themes:

Use the interactive graph below to see current collaborations between our members.