Sanne Peters: International Women's Day 2019 Profile

Epidemiologist Sanne Peters first worked at The George Institute for Global Health in her final year as a PhD student in the Netherlands in 2012. She continued to collaborate and formally joined the Institute’s UK office in 2014.      

Sanne was attracted to the medical research sector by her passion for improving global health. As an epidemiologist, her focus area is on differences between women and men in heart disease and diabetes. 

“Historically, men were used as the reference in most medical research and it was assumed that results from those studies were equally applicable in women. While that is the case for some diseases, recent studies increasingly demonstrate that there are clinically important differences in the way women and men develop and experience diseases. This has led to suboptimal care for women.”

Sanne’s work on sex differences in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among other areas, has contributed to the development of The George Institute’s Global Women's Health Program.

“I hope that my research contributes to closing the knowledge gap around clinically important differences between women and men in the way they experience disease, respond to treatment, and utilise health care.”

“My long-term ambition is to raise awareness of sex differences in the leading causes of death and disability, and to develop evidence-based solutions to ensure that equitable health care is provided for both women and men.”  

Sanne encourages other women to join the medical research sector, emphasising it’s important to find a good mentor.

“For too long, women have been underrepresented in research. In the coming years, I would like to see that concerted efforts are made by researchers, funders and publishers to increase the number of women in scientific research and to systematically conduct sex-specific analyses, informed by a gender lens.”

“We need to address the lack of knowledge around clinically meaningful sex differences in health, disease and response to treatment to improve the health of women and men alike.” 

For Sanne and her partner, this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter, has particular resonance, given the latest dramatic change they’ve experienced.

“Having become a mum recently, balance is all about finding a good work-life balance. My partner and I both have demanding jobs and it is great that, with mutual support and understanding, we can manage to further our careers whilst entering and enjoying this new phase in life.”

Read more from Sanne on Twitter at @saepeters