The Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (ACEWH) hosted an open event on the topic of “Sex or Gender? What difference does it make?” on September 19, 2011 at the Company House in Halifax. The event was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s (CIHR’s) Cafe Scientifique initiative. In a relaxed and welcoming environment moderated by Jennifer Bernier of the ACEWH, three panelists came together to talk about sex, gender, health and well being. The panelists included:
- Jim Oulton, a Clinical Therapist who worked with Capital Health Community Mental Health Services in Halifax for more than 17 years and now works in BC reviewing Vancouver Coastal Health’s Transgender Health Program;
- Blye Frank, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia and former Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Education at Dalhousie University;
- Barbara Clow, Executive Director of the ACEWH and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Professions.
The dialogue focused on the importance of framing sex as a continuum rather than within a restricted binary of male or female. Through examples from their work, Dr. Clow illustrated the effectiveness of sex- and gender-based analysis in strengthening health research and practice. Dr. Frank talked about the need to break down historic research biases that presume ‘male as the norm’ both with regard to gender dimensions as well by asking ‘which male is the norm?’ and how we can gather data from socially and economically diverse populations. In addition, Mr. Oulton identified the importance of inclusive health provision for patients who self-identify as neither or both male and female. The energetic and engaged audience was comprised of 55 students, researchers, and community members. To learn more about the ACEWH, visit www.acewh.dal.ca and be sure to check out our new Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) e-Learning Resource: Rising to the Challenge at www.sgba-resource.ca.