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Experts exchange about gender biases in Medicine

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Publié le mardi 14 mars 2023

To celebrate the international women’s day, the University of Luxembourg organised a round table to discuss gender biases in medicine practice. The event gathered experts from education, research, government and media. 30 participants attended the event on Belval campus.

Lack of gender diversity in clinical studies

Various publications have demonstrated that women are underrepresented in clinical research. For instance, the article “Lack of consideration of sex and gender in COVID-19 clinical studies” published in 2021 showed that attention to sex and gender at the registration and publication stages for COVID-19 studies were generally low. According to the study, gender can influence access to testing, diagnosis, medical care, and pharmacological treatments, and significantly affect the availability of social, economic, and logistic support. Gender can also influence preventative and risk behaviour, possibly impacting the course of the infection. Both sex and gender can influence the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and the safety profile of drugs.

Fruitful exchanges

Moderated by famous BBC presenter Tanya Beckett, the panel of experts was composed of Françoise Berthet, president of the Observatoire National de la Santé in Luxembourg ; Maya Dusenbery journalist, editor, and author of a renowned book in this field ; Els Goetghebeur, professor in mathematical statistics at Ghent University and Gilbert Massard, director of the medical education at the University of Luxembourg.

During the exchanges, Maya presented her book "Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick", where she explores the deep, systemic problems that underlie women’s experiences of feeling dismissed by the medical system. Then, Françoise Berthet explained how the Observatoire national de la santé was launched in 2022 to guide health decisions and policies and assess their impact based on data analysis. As researcher in statistics, Els Goetghebeur demonstrated how data analysis shows gender biases in biomedical applications. Gilbert Massard finally shared his testimonial and experience in the field of cardio thoracic surgery.

The event was organised thanks to the support of the Gender Equality Office at the University of Luxembourg.