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Integrating Gender in Medical Education’ Consultation on 22nd September, 2011; Mumbai by UNFPA and CEHAT

CEHAT and UNFPA are planning a program to integrate gender perspectives in medical education in Maharashtra, beginning in the year 2012. As a first step, a joint consultation was organized with senior officials from the State Health Department, Directorate of Medical Education & Research [DMER], Maharashtra University of Health Sciences [MUHS], Women’s Commission, and experts from the field of gender and health. The consultation was held on 22nd September, 2011 in Mumbai, and was successful in receiving cooperation of senior health and medical education officials for this project.

Guest Speakers:

  • Ms. Renu Khanna from SAHAJ, Baroda made a presentation on the work done thus far in India on gender training of healthcare providers. She shared experiences and training models on sensitizing health professionals on gender as a health determinant. She emphasized the need to ensure sustenance of these programs by integration into medical curriculum.
  • Dr. Sundari Ravindran from AMCHSS, Tamil Nadu presented details of interventions implemented in different parts of the world for gender mainstreaming in medical curriculum, demonstrating how these models had proved feasible as well as effective. She encouraged the group and suggested strategies to overcome barriers such as institutional resistance and limited funding; in sustaining such programs.
  • Dr. Kamaxi Bhate from KEM Hospital, Mumbai presented findings of a study that reviewed medical textbooks across disciplines for gender concepts. This demonstrated how current medical textbooks are largely gender-blind, and often even go to the extent of casting aspersions on women.
  • Ms. Anuja Gulati from UNFPA gave a background into the program, as well as objectives of the consultation. Dr. Anita Jain from CEHAT presented details of the proposed program.

There was unanimous agreement among members of the consultation on the need for introduction of gender concepts in medical education. It was determined that training of medical faculty is essential for greater penetration of gender concepts and perspectives, as is being planned in this initiative. The Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr. A P Kulkarni and other representatives from the MUHS expressed whole-hearted support for this program. They offered their support for further steps with the State Health and Medical Education departments and in the process of selecting medical colleges for this program as well.

Consultation report