Disparities in Diagnosis and Treatment

February 20, 2019 4:12pm

Research tells us, more and more every day, that there are significant differences in how women and men experience health conditions – and glaring disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of women have existed for generations.

So much of what we know about health and disease is based on male human and male animal research. For much of the past century, women were largely excluded from medical research. For example, many high-impact clinical trials conducted between the 1950s and 1990s had zero female participants, despite studying conditions that equally affect both sexes. Many of today’s prescription drugs like Aspirin and Warfarin have only ever been tested on men, even though it is a well-known fact that women react to these medications differently.

Failing to consider sex and gender in health research - by using men’s health as a proxy -effectively leaves women’s health to chance and prevents people from deriving the most benefit from health research efforts and investment.

Women’s health issues are notably underfunded. In addition, female researchers, who are most likely to investigate issues pertaining to women’s health, are less likely to receive funding than their male counterparts. That means that questions critical to the unique needs of women often do not receive the attention they need. The WHRI is committed to doing its part to offset this inequity.

A time for change.

It is past time for an equitable investment in women’s health research and the WHRI is committed to doing its part to offset the imbalance. Dedicated women’s health research, along with rigorous gender and sex analysis across all research, results in better science by improving research quality, reliability, validity, and innovation.

The time is now to catalyze a change in how the health of women and girls is prioritized and supported.