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Acad Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;19(7):861-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2012.01389.x. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Gender-specific medicine: yesterday's neglect, tomorrow's opportunities.

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1
Department of Emergency Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. amcgregor@lifespan.org

Abstract

The Institute of Medicine has stated that analyzing data according to sex and gender may change practices used by clinicians and taught in medical education. Gender-specific medicine embraces the concept that differences between men and women encompass the entire organism, not just their reproductive biology, and that recognizing these differences will improve the precision and quality of health care for both men and women. Research conducted to date has deepened our scientific understanding of sex and gender differences in the etiology, diagnosis, progression, outcomes, treatment, and prevention of many conditions that affect both women and men. The rapid growth and maturation of emergency medicine (EM) research provides a major opportunity to make an impact in this broad area of scientific inquiry. However, recent evidence suggests that barriers to the recognition of gender in funded and published research persist. Without systematic inclusion in research, and medical school and residency curricula, gender-based medicine cannot be translated into widespread clinical practice. Collaborations between women's health researchers across fields of medicine will be essential, given the large knowledge deficits to be addressed and the gender-based issues that span all specialties. We provide one model for a multifaceted initiative targeting improvements in gender medicine for the specialty of EM. If emergency health services are to meet the needs of both women and men at modern-day standards, then they must acknowledge the emerging science demonstrating that sex and gender differences influence the delivery of high-quality clinical care.

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