Learning about Sex and Gender – Video


Meet Mira.

And Leo.

They’re both 55 years old – and have chest pain.

Leo goes straight to the hospital, where he’s admitted for testing. Leo’s a smoker and has a family history of heart disease.

Mira doesn’t go to the ER. Instead she takes her heartburn medicine and eventually visits her family doctor when her chest pain worsens. Mira is healthy but has been feeling stressed recently.  Her doctor suspects she is having a panic attack and sends her home.

Later that day, Mira collapses and is rushed to the hospital.

Mira and Leo receive their diagnoses.

Both have cardiovascular disease.

We’re the same in many ways.

But when it comes to our health and wellbeing, differences matter.

Sex and gender shape us inside and out – from cells to society.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women.

Heart disease in women is often unrecognized.

While men tend to develop the disease at a younger age.


The answers are complicated – but we can uncover them with better science.

Whether you’re studying cells, tissues, animals or people, integrating sex and gender in your research is an opportunity for innovation and more rigorous science.

An increasing number of scientists are accounting for sex and gender.

And funding agencies around the world now require applicants to consider sex and gender in their research.

But there’s more to do.

In Canada, one in three women die from cardio vascular disease yet most preclinical studies are conducted on male mice.

The causes behind the earlier onset of heart disease in men still aren’t fully understood.

When it comes to health research, sex and gender can be tough to tease apart.

But they’re different.

Sex refers to biological attributes including physical features, chromosomes, gene expression, hormones and anatomy

Gender refers to socially constructed roles, behaviors, expressions and identities.

Think of Leo. If gender influences smoking behavior among men, and smoking raises the risk of heart disease – where does sex end and gender begin?

Accounting for sex and gender in health research is about effective health promotion for Leo.

And more personalized health care for Mira.

It’s about shaping science to create a healthier world for men, women, boys, girls and gender diverse people.

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, we’re developing online training to help researchers and peer reviewers account for sex and gender.

You’ll learn how to determine whether sex and gender apply to specific studies.

How to incorporate these concepts to yield meaningful results.

And discover new ways to do better science.

The future of gender, sex and health research is full of opportunity.

Are you ready to consider the possibilities?

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