Gender diversity considerations lacking in health care, say researchers
Health researchers are increasingly considering gender diversity and equity when conducting studies
By EMMA SHULAR
The importance of gender diversity and related health effects aren’t recognized in healthcare as well as they could be, according to researchers at Western University under the Trans PULSE Canada project.
Kalysha Closson, a health sciences instructor and gender equity researcher with Simon Fraser University, said the inclusion of people with diverse identities in research is important to ensure all voices are being represented fairly.
“A big part of the work that we do in my research is making sure that we engage with people that have lived- in/living experiences of the groups that we’re interested in working with,” Closson said.
The Institute of Gender and Health (IGH), a federal govern- ment research institute, kicked off its IGH Listening Tour: Researcher Townhall on Monday, April 3 with a presentation followed by discussion with an audience primarily made up of academics. Monday’s event marked the first date of a national tour.
Angela Kaida, a speaker at the event and an SFU instructor, said,“Equality means everybody has the same; equity means that we have the resources, support [and] attention based on what we need,” she said. “Health outcomes are not equi- tably distributed, resources are not equitably distributed and how we set priorities for whose health matters is not equitable either.”
Kaida said she sees the role of the IGH as important in the research field. “The last [IGH] strategic plan was probably created in 2016 or so to guide the way forward,” Kaida said. “The world we’re in today — the threats that are being placed on the lives of trans people, … the ways that policies are being made, not informed at all by the science or about the lived realities of trans — is really frightening.”
Third-year Langara nursing student Robyn Culley said inclusion in the workplace has improved.
“Maybe curriculum changes in terms of educating healthcare prac- titioners, I think that’s the first step,” they said. “But it also needs to be a culture thing.”