SGBA+ Health Policy-Research Partnerships

In response to the Canadian government's renewed commitment to gender equality, in 2017 Health Canada approved a department-wide Sex and Gender Action Plan. A key activity within this action plan is a partnership between the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health (IGH), and Health Canada’s Gender and Health Unit (GHU). The aim of this collaboration is to fund Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis Policy-Research Partnerships, which will help bridge the gaps between research knowledge and policy development, and support the rigorous application of SGBA+ to ensure Health Canada's outward facing activities address the diverse needs of women, men, girls, boys and gender-diverse people to maximize positive health outcomes and improve the health of Canadians.

In 2017, the Institute of Gender and Health launched the first SGBA+ Health Research Policy Partnerships competition. In response to the success of this program, a second round of this competition was launched, to support projects relevant to the following research areas:

  • Applying a SGBA+ lens to prescription drug lifecycle management
  • Applying a SGBA+ lens to medical device lifecycle management

Funds available

The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $150,000, enough to fund approximately two (2) grants, one (1) grant for each research area listed above. The maximum amount per grant is $75,000 for up to one (1) year.


This funding opportunity is expected to:

  • Catalyze the transfer of health research knowledge related to sex, gender and diversity into health policy development and practice.
  • Foster capacity development and the creation of best practices to support the sustainable application of evidence-based sex, gender and diversity analysis to health policies and programs.
  • Support the scientifically rigorous evaluation of outcomes related to the integration of sex, gender and diversity in health policies and programs.

The request for applications is now closed.

Awardees (2020-2021)

Read a full list of awardees and their project abstracts.

Applying an SGBA+ lens to medical device lifecycle management

Dr. Anna R. Gagliardi, University Health Network (Toronto, Ontario)

Abstract: The overall aim of this research is to partner with Health Canada to explore if they can improve the way they make and communicate decisions about licensing of devices by more openly considering whether device safety and effectiveness were tested for sex (women/men) or gender-related factors (i.e. age, education level, ethnic background, region of Canada, urban-/rural-dwelling). The objectives are to: (1) Visit web sites and speak with representatives of device licensing agencies in other countries (i.e. Australia, England, United States) to explore if they make/communicate licensing decisions based on whether devices are proven to be safe/effective for patients who differ by sex/gender-related factors; (2) Explore Health Canada decision-making processes to date by examining the content of licensing applications they received from makers/distributors, licensing decision documents, and instructions prepared for makers/distributors, patients or clinicians for a range of devices; and (3) Based on the results, prepare recommendations for Health Canada on information they should request of makers/distributors, and employ when they make, document and communicate decisions to makers/distributors, patients and clinicians. By adopting the recommendations, Health Canada can strengthen decision-making processes, leading to licensing of thoroughly tested devices, which are more likely to be safe and effective for all Canadians.

Applying a sex and gender-based lens to prescription drug lifecycle management

Dr. Lorraine J. Greaves, BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Abstract: Greaves will partner with policy leads at Health Canada, Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) to apply a SGBA+ lens to prescription drug lifecycle management. Greaves is Senior Investigator at the Centre of Excellence for Women's Health (CEWH), an organization with a strong 22-year record in sex- and gender-based analyses, critical social research methods and knowledge translation. Greaves will support the policy partner in: assessing the inclusion of sex, gender and equity in Health Canada regulatory decision-making; assessing industry compliance with Health Canada's policy on the inclusion of females in clinical trials; developing recommendations for the improvements in guidance for industry; and developing recommendations for improving knowledge translation on sex differences in drug safety and/or efficacy. Greaves will apply her deep and varied experience in SGBA+, and consult with experts in pharmacology, advocacy, and knowledge transfer (Eltonsy, Boscoe), who are members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Products for Women of which Greaves is the appointed chair. In addition, she will draw on the research capacity of the CEWH and consult with the Director of the CEWH (Poole), a knowledge translation expert with experience in research and education on sex and gender issues related to drugs. Greaves' extensive experience in sex and gender science in health research, and designing and delivering SGBA training, resources and tools will support the policy partner to both apply SGBA+ to prescription drug lifecycle management and also to build ongoing capacity.

Awardees (2018-2020)

Supporting the application of an SGBA lens in support of psychologically healthy workplaces

Dr. Ivy L. Bourgeault, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario)

Abstract: Dr. Bourgeault has extensive experience in appreciating the complexity of how sex and gender impact upon the health policy process from planning and design to implementation and uptake and evaluation and re-design. It began with her formative work on the integration of midwifery into the Ontario health care system to work co-developing a SGBA tool examining health worker migration in national and international contexts to her more recent work on how sex and gender affects the psychological health and well-being of a range of professional workers. Her work exemplifies how effective, evidence-based sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) requires a thorough review of best available evidence and includes consideration and mitigation of potentially negative unintended consequences. Dr. Bourgeault's SGBA expertise spans both the theoretical, considering a range of relevant feminist theories and the methodological, in terms of processes and outcome evaluation techniques utilizing both quantitative and/or qualitative approaches. As such, she can support Health Canada staff charged with applying SGBA to programs and policies with this knowledge and expertise, including how to apply SGBA in a way that is informed by the best available evidence and to evaluate the effectiveness with methods that are powered to detect and respond to potential unintended consequences for women and men, girls and boys.

Digital technology to support informal caregivers: matching the tools to the needs from a sex and gender perspective

Dr. Angela Colantonio, University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario)

Abstract: More than 25% of Canadians over the age of 15 care for family members or friends. Caregiving has a significant impact on their physical and mental health, with males and females reacting differently. Digital technologies such as mobile applications and home monitoring systems have been developed to assist with caregiving activities. However, sex and gender considerations are largely ignored in the design and evaluation of these technologies. To address this, our research program will develop a sex- and gender- based technology evaluation framework (SAGS-TA). We will develop SAGS-TA through several activities. First, we will review existing knowledge and literature about technology and caregiving to identify the major sex and gender gaps. We will then work with informal caregivers, technology developers and policymakers to develop a prototype framework for addressing sex and gender in technology development. We will do this by presenting findings from the first step and inviting people to share how these relate to their personal experiences of caregiving. We will analyse their responses to generate sex and gender evaluation themes for each stage of the technology creation, testing and implementation process. We will then gather feedback on the sex and gender themes in a second discussion session to complete the SAGS-TA framework. Finally, we will apply the SAGS-TA framework to a current technology development project to test its effectiveness. This pioneering project is pivotal for realizing sex and gender customized technologies to support informal caregivers and advance research and policy-making.

Applying a gender-based lens to cannabis risk perceptions, public education and awareness

Dr. Lorraine J. Greaves, BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Abstract: Dr Lorraine Greaves will partner with the policy lead to ensure sex and gender related factors are integrated into public health education initiatives for cannabis, and that these have equal benefits for all genders. The applicant will: support the analysis of data regarding cannabis use patterns and risk perceptions among different gender groups; provide expertise and mentorship on sex and gender based analysis (SGBA) to inform responsive and effective public education and awareness products; and support monitoring and evaluation activities related to the initiative. Greaves will apply her expertise, and draw on the knowledge and track record of colleagues at the CEWH, in: SGBA, gender and substance use, and qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. Her extensive experience in: conducting SGBA, designing training, and developing resources and tools will support the policy partner to integrate SGBA in cannabis education and messaging. Greaves has a certificate and education in evaluation, is currently leading two mixed methods evaluation studies and has published books on: methods, and sex, gender and health research. She is a leader in gender and tobacco control, and has applied a sex- and gender- lens to: opioids, alcohol and cannabis. She has conducted a media analysis on cannabis use in Canada, and supported guidance development on cannabis, reproduction and parenting. Greaves is currently leading a systematic review on sex- and gender- related factors affecting substance use and intervention outcomes for four key substances, of which cannabis is one. Her leadership in advancing gender transformative health promotion will further support the development of public health education and messages on cannabis to benefit all genders.

A Proposal for a SGBA Health Policy-Research Partnership for Applying a GBA+ Lens to a Reorientation of Health Canada Risk Communications for Health Products

Dr. Margaret J. Haworth-Brockman, University of Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Abstract: The goal of this project is to develop the methods and resources needed to ensure that information for the public about health products is thoughtful and inclusive of gender and other differences. This project proposes a partnership to work with Health Canada personnel to both improve their skills in GBA+ (gender-based and other diversity analysis) and to ensure that the consumer communications strategy is inclusive and respectful. The applicant has extensive experience in the theory and the application of GBA+ techniques needed to critically think through opportunities and pitfalls of preparing documents and other media for many audiences, including the general public, that takes into account gender, age, ethnicity, culture and other factors.

Sex and Gender Based Approach to the Safe Use of Self-care Products

Dr. Louise Pilote, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (Montréal, Québec)

Abstract: The proper implementation of sex and gender consideration in health research can be challenging and demands the involvement of individuals with strong commitment to expanding sex and gender research, as well as considerable expertise in the field and experience influencing health policy.The aim of this proposal is to respond to areas of need in sex and gender research to help inform health policy. In the hopes of forming a longstanding relationship with stakeholders, our first plan will be to demonstrate the impact sex and gender has on consumer behaviours and to determine if there are key factors related to sex and gender that can explain attitudes towards certain self-care products. To do we intend to showcase the power of the GENESIS-PRAXY questionnaire, a gender index composed of self-reported data on gender identification, socio-economic standing, social roles and psychosocial questions measuring emotions that aim to construct a composite gender score that is specific to the particular time, place and culture of the participants. We will identify gender related factors that have been measured in the existing Health Canada surveys and study the effect of sex and gender to inform health research.

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