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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Dec;24(12):996-1005. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.5249. Epub 2015 Oct 15.

A Successful Strategy to Integrate Sex and Gender Medicine into a Newly Developed Medical Curriculum.

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1 Dieter Scheffner Centre for Medical Education and Educational Research, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin , Germany .
2 Institute of Gender in Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin , Germany .
3 German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) , Berlin, Germany .
4 Office for Equal Opportunities, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin , Germany .
5 Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin , Germany .
6 Institute of Experimental Pediatric Endocrinology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin , Germany .



A new modular, outcome-based, interdisciplinary curriculum was introduced for undergraduate medical education at one of the largest European medical faculties. A key stated institutional goal was to systematically integrate sex and gender medicine and gender perspectives into the curriculum in order to foster adequate gender-related knowledge and skills for future doctors concerning the etiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and research of diseases.


A change agent was integrated directly into the curriculum development team to facilitate interactions with all key players of the curricular development process. The gender change agent established a supporting organizational framework of all stakeholders, and developed a 10-step approach including identification, selection, placing relevant sex and gender medicine-related issues in the curricular planning sessions, counseling of faculty members, and monitoring of the integration achieved.


With this approach, quantitatively sex and gender medicine-related content was widely integrated throughout all teaching and learning formats and from early basic science to later clinical modules (94 lectures, 33 seminars, and 16 practical courses). Gender perspectives involve 5% of the learning objectives and represent an integral part of the assessment program. Qualitatively, the relevance of gender (sociocultural) differences was combined with sex (biological) differences in disease manifestation throughout the curriculum.


The appointment of a change agent facilitates the development of systematic approaches that can be a key and serve as practice models to successfully integrate new overarching curricular perspectives and dimensions--in this case sex and gender medicine--into a new medical curriculum.

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