Engaging consumers in tackling sex and gender bias in research and healthcare

On 4 November 2021, The George Institute for Global Health and collaborators hosted a targeted virtual roundtable, Engaging consumers in tackling sex and gender bias in research and healthcare. Facilitated by Professor Christine Jenkins, the roundtable saw representatives from eleven organisations representing diverse consumers and their interests come together.   

Following a thought-provoking presentation from Dr Cheryl Carcel, a panel discussed the lived, health care and public health experience of how sex and gender-based bias plays out in cardiovascular disease and women’s health more broadly.

The ensuing discussion highlighted several priority themes, including:

  1. Early involvement and representation of consumers early in the research process and onwards;
  2. Raising awareness and education for researchers, clinicians and community about sex and gender in medicine and health;
  3. Consistent and best practice sex and gender data collection and analysis;
  4. The importance of breaking down silos in identifying and addressing sex and gender differences in diseases with shared risk factors, and
  5. The need to engage policy makers in addressing sex and gender bias.

Dr Amy Vassallo, Research Fellow in the Global Women’s Health Program at The George Institute said, “We are grateful to our panellists and all attendees for participating in this event. The priority themes, along with other discussion points, will be incorporated into our future research and strategic priorities and inform the way forward for engaging consumers in our work to understand and reduce sex and gender inequity in health, healthcare and research.”

Panel presenters:

Jen O’Neill: Consumer and heart attack survivor

Robert Zecchin: Nursing Unit Manager - Area Cardiac Rehabilitation/Chronic Care Programs, Western Sydney Local Health District

Julie Anne Mitchell: Director Health Strategy, The National Heart Foundation of Australia

Bonney Corbin: Chair, Australian Women’s Health Network Head of Policy, Marie Stopes Australia