The National Institute of Medicine says that “every cell has a sex.” This means that men and women are different, at least physiologically, all the way down to the molecular and cellular levels. But, according to Dr. Paula Johnson, Executive Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, these biologic differences are often ignored when designing medical studies, and even when valuable gender-specific findings are in our hands, we often fail to apply the knowledge. Although Dr. Johnson suggests that women’s health has suffered most from these failures, she stresses that placing greater emphasis on sex- and gender-based research and care will help reap benefits for both women’s and men’s health. Watch the following video to learn more.

The significance of sex and gender in medicine will be the overarching topic of discussion at next month’s Charting the Course: A National Policy Summit on the Future of Women’s Health. This national policy summit will celebrate the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, address gender equity in medical research, and explore the promise of life-giving breakthroughs in health care for women. The summit also will serve as a rallying point for a growing movement that seeks to acknowledge sex differences in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Presenters and program participants include:

  • Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, Connors Center Executive Director
  • Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator (MA)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator (NY)
  • Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes Correspondent
  • Margaret Hamburg, MD, FDA Commissioner
  • Tom Ashbrook, On Point Host
  • Anne M. Finucane, Global Strategy and Marketing Officer for Bank of America
  • Victoria Reggie Kennedy, President and Co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

The Summit will take place on Monday, March 3, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston, MA. Visit the Summit website to learn more about the program, including a complete list of speakers and ticket information.

– Chris P.

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