CIHR Institute of Gender and Health Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

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The first national research Institute of its kind in the world, the Institute of Gender and Health (IGH) supports research to address how sex and gender interact with other factors that influence health to create conditions and problems that are unique, more prevalent, more serious or different with respect to risk factors or effective interventions for women and for men, girls and boys.

IGH contributes to the generation of new knowledge and outstanding research through strategic research initiatives that offer Requests for Applications (RFAs) focused on its five priorities: access and equity for vulnerable populations, promoting health in the context of chronic and infectious conditions; gender and health across the lifespan; promoting positive health behaviours and preventing addictions; and gender and the environment. Since 2001, IGH has launched 16 strategic initiatives as lead/co-lead Institute, resulting in 33 funding opportunities. In partnership with one or more of the 12 other CIHR Institutes and national organizations, IGH launched 30 strategic initiatives resulting in 42 funding opportunities.

Approximately 98% of IGH funded grants and awards support women’s health research. IGH has funded projects related to women’s health research across all five of the Institute’s research priorities. Award recipients have been linked to varied organizations including B.C. Women’s Hospital, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, regional Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health, National Network on Environments and Women’s Health and the Canadian Women’s Health Network. An exciting new partnership was launched in June 2004 by IGH and the Ontario Women’s Health Council.

IGH has promoted the recruitment and retention of outstanding women researchers who face gender based constraints through several initiatives that foster women’s research careers. IGH launched a partnership, Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WISET), which focuses on role models and mentorship in a Canada-UK and Canada-Japan exchange of scientists. IGH and CIHR created a National Steering Committee on Women Researchers convening national agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the National Cancer Institute of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs, Health Canada, Genome Canada, and the Association for Universities and Colleges in Canada.

A recent review of internal and external policies on gender and sex-based analysis (GSBA) revealed that there are no systematic guidelines for applicants and reviewers with respect to the inclusion of women and gender-sex based analysis in health research. IGH recently created a special committee to develop a Resource Guide for peer review committees and researchers to address this gap. Chaired by Dr. Jean Gray, the Chair of the IGH Advisory Board, the committee will provide input, review the document and make recommendations to CIHR. IGH aims to have the Resource Guide in place for its Fall 2006 Open Competition and Strategic Initiatives.

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