On February 12, 2022, Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) along with the Internal Quality and Assurance Cell (IQAC) at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sevagram conducted an online workshop on WHY GENDER MATTERS IN MEDICAL EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE. Seventy-five faculty and medical education unit members from medical and nursing colleges across India attended the two-hour workshop.
The opening session was facilitated by Dr. Renu Khanna (Society for Health Alternatives-SAHAJ, Vadodara), engaging participants in an interesting discussion on sex and gender. Participants were asked to think through some statements and identify if the differences were based on sex or gender. Dr. Khanna introduced participants to gender as a system and concepts of intersectionality. The session also threw light on how gender interacts with health and healthcare seeking, differentially impacting men, women and transgender persons. This was explained with the help of examples about respiratory illnesses, road traffic accidents and gender-based violence.
The following session, facilitated by Sangeeta Rege and Amruta Bavadekar from CEHAT, detailed the journey of our Gender in Medical Education (GME) project in Maharashtra. Participants were informed about the conceptualisation of this project, medical educators’ perceptions towards gender integration, and CEHAT’s gender-integrated modules for five disciplines- general medicine, community medicine, obstetrics/gynaecology, forensic medicine and toxicology and psychiatry. A short film on GME was shown explaining how CEHAT used innovative pedagogy to integrate gender concerns in medical education without adding to the burden of medical educators. We used excerpts from our assessment study to explain how our project interventions effected positive change in medical students’ gender-related attitude and practices.
The final session emphasised on the need for gender-sensitivity in clinical practices and the means to this end. The session was facilitated by Dr. Shrinivas Gadappa (Professor and Head, Department of Ob/Gyn, GMC Aurangabad) who underwent gender-training under CEHAT’s GME project in Maharashtra. Dr. Gadappa spoke about how the training helped him and other educators incorporate a gender lens, not only in medical education but also in clinical practice. Dr. Gadappa spoke of the various initiatives he led in GMC Aurangabad, including gender-sensitive labour room practices and setting up breastfeeding booths (hirkani kakshas) in OPDs. He also shared that the training helped him undertake various research studies and present them nationally and internationally.
Participants’ feedback highlighted that they appreciated the interactive nature of workshop, discussions around sex and gender, content shared by the speakers and examples of how gender-concerns were implemented in clinical practice.