Advocating Including Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) and Gender as a Sociocultural Variable (GASV) Across All Health Professional Education
Sex as a biological variable has an impact on anatomy and physiology, symptoms, diagnosis, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic responses to treatment, and health outcomes. Gender as a sociocultural variable impacts risk factors for disease. Most preclinical and clinical research studies still do not adequately represent females/women; disaggregate, analyze and report data by sex; or account for gender influences. These variables have not been incorporated systematically into education across health professions. Four educational tenets designed by an interprofessional team of sex and gender health education experts were developed to provide the framework for collaborative interprofessional education about sex and gender specific health.
Areas of knowledge and abilities that apply to sex and gender education across health professions were summarized from the 2015 and 2018 Sex and Gender Health Education Summits, led by members of the Sex and Gender Health Collaborative of the American Medical Women's Association. A critical objective of the 2020 summit was to arrive at a consensus about guiding principles that would create a framework for achieving universal inclusion of sex and gender content. Interprofessional working groups proposed draft tenets, which were discussed among all attendees, and revised. Post-Summit, the revised draft tenets were reviewed and edited by a group of interprofessional leaders with expertise in sex and gender health education.
Four educational tenets agreed upon by the interprofessional group were created. The tenets aim at providing a unified message for broad interprofessional education.
1. Demonstrate knowledge of sex and gender health.
2. Evaluate literature and the conduct of research for incorporation of sex and gender.
3. Incorporate sex and gender considerations into decision making.
4. Demonstrate patient advocacy with respect to sex and gender.
Advocating for the inclusion of sex as a biologic variable and gender as a sociocultural variable across health professions and clinician education at all levels is a critically important component of sex and gender specific health. Four tenets are presented for use by students, faculty, and curriculum leaders. Interprofessional collaboration to disseminate the tenets will improve the success in implementations
Adapting curricula to integrate sex and gender specific competencies ensures that students, trainees, and researchers learn to consider sex and gender aspects of health and disease in their professional careers thus improving health outcomes for all.