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Designing for Sex and Gender In Health Care

On March 17th, leaders in healthcare gathered in Cambridge for a roundtable hosted by iGiant in collaboration with the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), Boston Scientific, and Medstro.

iGiant, which stands for Impact of Gender/Sex on Innovation and Novel Technologies, aims to foster communication about sex and gender among stakeholders in a variety of sectors including health, information technology, transportation and retail. Thursday’s iGiant Health roundtable brought together physicians, health tech entrepreneurs, scientists, and medical students.

Dr. Saralyn Mark, who developed the iGiant initiative through the Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology, opened the roundtable by explaining the program’s mission. “The basic mission of this program is to accelerate the translation of research into a sex and gender specific design element,” she explained. She defined design elements broadly, including sex/gender specific products, policy, protocol and educational outreach programs.

In the discussion that followed, participants were invited to share their ideas on how to improve work performance and patient outcomes for men and women using sex/gender specific design elements. Topics discussed included:

  • Clinical trial protocols, specifically ensuring that females are represented in both animal and human clinical trials by reconfiguring entry/inclusion guidelines
  • Encouraging “gender lens” investing and increasing the flow of capital to women entrepreneurs
  • Implementing processes that encourage women to actively share ideas in the workplace
  • Updating medical curriculum to include sex and gender sensitivity

Last Thursday’s iGiant Roundtable was the 10th in the series, and more are planned throughout the country in 2016. For more information on iGiant, visit the iGiant website at Stanford University.


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