Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Johns Hopkins / 23.04.2019 Interview with: Kellan E. Baker, MPH, MA Centennial Scholar PhD Candidate Health Policy Research Scholar Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study shows that transgender adults in the U.S. today have significantly worse health-related quality of life than cisgender (non-transgender) adults, as measured by self-reported health status and number of recent days of poor physical or mental health. The study is important because it quantifies the gap in health-related quality of life between transgender and cisgender people, and it relies on a survey that allows us to believe that these findings are likely true not just for the people who answered the survey but for the U.S. as a whole. Health-related quality of life is a very broad term that describes a person’s whole sense of well-being—we might think of it as the answer to the question, “how are you doing these days?” The answer has to do not just with your physical health but also your mental health, your outlook on your life and your community, your feelings of wholeness and happiness. Sources such as the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Transgender Survey have documented that transgender people face discrimination in areas of everyday life such as housing, health care, and public spaces. Encounters with discrimination don’t just keep transgender people from getting services they need: they hurt trans people both physically and mentally.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA, UCLA / 25.01.2019 Interview with: Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value. (more…)
Author Interviews / 11.12.2018 Interview with:

Virginia J. Howard,PhD, FAHA, FSCT   
 Professor of Epidemiology
The University of Alabama at Birmingham  What is the background for this study?

Response: This study comes from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a national cohort study of 30,239 non-Hispanic black and white community-dwelling participants aged 45 years and older who lived in the 48 contiguous US states. 

REGARDS was designed to study risk factors for the development of stroke, with a focus on black and white comparisons as well as comparisons across geographic regions of the US.

AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 25.07.2018 Interview with: Quoc Dinh Nguyen, MD MA MPH Interniste-gériatre – Service de gériatrie Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal – CHUM What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Randomized trials are the best evidence basis we have to treat patients. It is known for more than 20 years that older adults and women are disproportionately excluded from randomized trials in cardiology diseases. As the current US population is fast aging, we examined whether this underrepresentation improved or worsened in the last 20 years in the most influential studies published between 1996 and 2015. The main finding is that the women and older adults continue to be underrepresented in cardiology trials. Overall, the mean age was 63 years and the percentage of women was 29%. For coronary heart disease, women comprise 54% of the US population in need of treatment, yet are only 27% of the trial population. For heart failure, the median age of older adults in the US population is 70 years whereas it is only 64 years in the trial population. Our results indicate that the gap has very slowly narrowed in the last 2 decades. However, based on current trends, reaching proportionate enrollment would require between 3 and 9 decades. This persistent lack of representation has significant impacts on the ability of clinicians to provide evidenced based care for these segments of the population. Physicians and other health care professionals are forced to extrapolate study results from younger and male-predominant populations. This is problematic since we know that older adults and women may react differently to medications and to interventions.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 22.07.2018 Interview with: Julie Silver, MD Associate Professor and Associate Chair Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Staff physician at Massachusetts General Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospitals What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many documented disparities for women in medicine that include promotion and compensation. For physicians in academic medicine, both promotion and compensation may be directly or indirectly linked to publishing. Similarly, opportunities that stem from publishing such as speaking engagements, may be affected by a physician’s ability to publish. For more than twenty years, there have been reports of women being underrepresented on journal editorial boards and gaps in their publishing rates. For example, a report titled “Is There a Sex Bias in Choosing Editors?” by Dickersin et al was published in JAMA in 1998 and made a compelling case for bias. Moreover, the authors noted that “a selection process favoring men would have profound ramifications for the professional advancements and influence of women”. Despite a steady stream of reports over the years, gaps have not been sufficiently addressed, and in 2014 Roberts published an editorial in Academic Psychiatry titled “Where Are the Women Editors?”. The 2017 review by Hengel titled “Publishing While Female” highlights many of the gaps, disparities and barriers for women in medicine. Conventional reasons for disparities, such as there are not enough women in the pipeline or women do not want to conduct research or pursue leadership positions, are simply not valid. Therefore, it is important to look at other barriers, such as unconscious (implicit) bias that may affect the editorial process. In this study, we analyzed perspective type articles from four high impact pediatric journals. We selected pediatrics, because most pediatricians are women, and therefore there are plenty of highly accomplished women physicians. We found that women were underrepresented among physician first authors in all of the journals (140 of 336 [41.7%]). We also found that underrepresentation was more pronounced in article categories that were described as more scholarly (range, 15.4%-44.1%) versus narrative (52.9%-65.6%).  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Gender Differences / 14.05.2018 Interview with: “Faecal Coliforms analysis” by SuSanA Secretariat is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Mahiben Maruthappu Public Health Registrar What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gender disparities in the fields of science and technology have been documented, and  it becomes increasingly apparent at higher levels of seniority. In this analysis, we found a quantifiable difference in cancer research funding awarded to female principle investigators compared to male principle investigators (PIs). Across all cancer research funding grants that we identified, male PIs received 3.6 times the total investment value, and 1.6 times the average award value compared with their female counterparts.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences / 24.01.2018 Interview with: Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD Eastern Washington University What is the background for this study? Response: This research was conducted on the premise that people tend to view women as more nurturing, and also set higher standards for women to behave in a nurturing manner. The same pattern has been observed in past research examining how students view their female professors.  Female professors are expected to be more nurturing, such as being more available outside of the classroom, as compared to their male professors.  In the present research, we investigated whether these higher expectations of nurturing behavior would cause students to be more likely to ask things of their female professors, consequently placing higher work demands on them.  In our survey of male and female professors across the country, we indeed found that female professors received more requests for standard work demands (e.g., office hours visits or assistance with course-related matters), as well as special favor requests (e.g., requests to re-do an assignment for a better grade or asking for some form of exception, extended deadline, or alternative assignment), compared to male professors. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Surgical Research, Women's Heart Health / 06.10.2017 Interview with: Habib Jabagi B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D. Department of Surgery University of Ottawa , Ottawa What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Response: Women with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at a significant disadvantage compared to men, as they do not consistently receive the same intensive treatment. For example, when surgery is done in men, it is more common to use arteries, as opposed to saphenous veins from the leg to complete the bypass graft. Arteries, such as the left internal thoracic artery, appear to have much better long-term patency than veins, which translates into improved outcomes. The motivation for this study was to see if our centre, which has embraced the use of arteries quite aggressively, has suffered the same gender disparities with respect to the use of multiple arterial revascularization strategies in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 09.02.2017 Interview with: Donna Hubbard McCree, PhD MPH, RPh Association Director for Health Equity/Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: HIV diagnosis rates among women declined 40% between 2005 and 2014 with the largest decline, 42%, occurring in black women. However, in 2015 black women represented 61% of HIV diagnoses among women. Our goal in this analysis was to determine whether the decline resulted in a decrease in the disparities among African American, Hispanic and white women between 2010 and 2014. There is currently not a standard method for measuring HIV-related disparity. However, for this analysis we used three different measures – the absolute rate difference (the difference between the group with the lowest rate and the group with the highest rate); 2) the diagnosis disparity ratio (the ratio of the difference between the group rate and the overall population rate to the overall rate); and 3) the Index of Disparity (the average of the differences between rates for specific groups and the total rate divided by the total rate, expressed as a percentage). The absolute rate difference between black women and white women decreased annually, from 36.9 in 2010 to 28.3 in 2014. The diagnosis disparity ratio for black women compared to the total population decreased from 1.7 in 2010 to 1.2 in 2014. The Index of Disparity increased during 2010–2011, and then decreased each year during 2012–2014. Although disparities still exist, these findings indicate improvement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 27.06.2016 Interview with: Gilbert Gonzales, PhD, MHA Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy Vanderbilt University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Using data from one of the largest, most representative health surveys, we found lesbian, gay and bisexual adults were more likely to report substantially higher rates of severe psychological distress, heavy drinking and smoking, and impaired physical health than straight adults. (more…)