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Science, Ethics and gender policies in Healthcare: an analysis by Prof Antonio Giordano

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

The introduction of the concept of gender equality has brought up an important change in the field of science and opened the way for more diversity and social inclusion. For example, in the biomedical research field, it is necessary to take into account gender in research or patient selection, with the primary focus of representing the diversity of the population for the benefit of the entire community, and not only for a specific segment.

it is the task of scientists to promote actions aimed at the identification of any gender discrimination, to design strategies to deal with discriminatory situations, even within the workforce, and monitor ongoing studies with sensitivity to 'gender equality' and 'social inclusion'.

Success in this task will generate better healthcare for every individual and every patient, with no differences determined by wealth, societal status, or gender.

New scientific pieces of evidence have brought us to pay attention to differences between men and women, to those who do not identify themselves as either of these two genders, or those requiring specific, targeted, or personalized treatment. This is the base of what we call ‘Precision Medicine’.

Research must be designed keeping in mind not only these differences but also biological, socio-economic, and cultural factors. This premise is necessary to obtain concrete and appreciable results both in response to drugs and their side effects. it is unbelievable that most of the protocols being tested still consider the male body as a reference and then apply the results to females.

Let’s take as an example cardiovascular disease trials, where only male subjects are enrolled. However, gender representation is an indispensable aspect of paving the way to precision medicine. It is a scientific duty to ensure all treatments give the same results for everyone irrespective of gender and income.

Issues like this are very close to our hearts. And to discuss such issues, Symposiums like “Relazione di cura tra Etica Medica Deontologica e politiche di genere” (“A link between Deontological Medical Ethics and Gender Policies’ for care”) are absolutely necessary. The conference was organized at the Pontifical Basilica of San Francesco Da Paola, in Naples, by Professor Mara Romano, and I was invited to speak together with colleagues from the scientific world, politics, and academia.

The symposium posed questions as well as giving concrete answers to patients and scientists by providing a potential change of perspective, in compliance with scientific duty, and re-establishing the fundamental relationship between deontological medical ethics and gender policies. Inclusion and equity are essential for the future of scientific research, which will benefit all patients.

This article was first published as a news piece in Sud Reporter, click here to read it.

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