[Sex- and gender-sensitive research in epidemiology and medicine: how can this be achieved? : Aims and first results of the network "Sex-/Gender-Sensitive Research in Epidemiology, Neurosciences and Genetics/Cancer Research"]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz

PubMedID: 25077462

Jahn I, Gansefort D, Kindler-Röhrborn A, Pfleiderer B. [Sex- and gender-sensitive research in epidemiology and medicine: how can this be achieved? : Aims and first results of the network "Sex-/Gender-Sensitive Research in Epidemiology, Neurosciences and Genetics/Cancer Research"]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2014;.
BACKGROUND
It is considered general knowledge among physicians and epidemiologists that biological and social aspects associated with being male or female have a strong influence on health and disease. Integrating these aspects into research is necessary to counteract the problems-including ethical problems-resulting from a different evidence basis for men and women. From January 2011 to June 2014 the Federal Ministry of Education and Research supported the network "Sex-/Gender-Sensitive Research in Epidemiology, Neuroscience and Genetics/Cancer Research" with three subprojects, which aimed to promote gender-sensitive research practices. The concepts and results are presented in this article.

METHODS
The subproject gathered data (literature analyses, questionnaires) and offered programs for young scientists. Experiences and results were collected and generalized, for instance, in the form of definitions of terms.

RESULTS
50 young scientists have taken part in the training program, identifying associations and barriers in sex-/gender-sensitive research. Among others, a working definition for "sex-/gender-sensitive research" was developed, as well as definitions for the terms "sex-specific" (for biological characteristics that are specific to men or women) and "sex-/gender-dependent" or "sex-/gender-associated" (for biological and social factors, for which the extent of occurrence differs between the sexes).

PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
The concepts realized by the network are well suited to stimulate further development and discussions. The definition of terms is an important base for a productive and high-yielding interdisciplinary collaboration.