Expert Says Gender Gap Exists in Medical Research

Jun 5, 2015

Dr. Marjorie Jenkins says past studies excluded women, and a majority of medical research involves only male subjects.

Research shows women should receive different care than men for some health conditions.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, a national expert on the intersection of gender and medicine said, “One of the biggest myths is that we assume that our providers are giving us healthcare based on our sex and gender — whether we’re male or female, woman or man  — and that’s really not correct.”

Jenkins is also the director and chief scientific officer with the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health.

She says research shows women react to some medications differently, and they experience about 80 percent more side effects than men do.

“[Women] stop their medicine, because they’re too groggy, or nauseated or something like that when really women need to know that maybe they should start at a lower dose,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says past studies excluded women, and a majority of medical research involves only male subjects.

“When you take data that is based on one part of the population, and then you apply it to the entire population, chances are you’re going to have opportunities where it doesn’t work as well, or there are more side effects or the outcomes are different,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins will speak on women’s health and gender differences in medicine next Wednesday, June 10, at WJCT.

Baptist Health is sponsoring the free event called “Why Gender Matters.”

Listen to the full conversation with Russ Armistead on Monday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes.