Do students' attitudes toward women change during medical school?
BACKGROUND: Medical school has historically reinforced traditional views of women. This cohort study follows implementation of a revitalized curriculum and examines students' attitudes toward women on entry into an Ontario medical school, and 3 years later. METHODS: Of the 75 students entering first year at Queen's University medical school 70 completed the initial survey in September 1994 and 54 were resurveyed in May 1997. First-year students at 2 other Ontario medical schools were also surveyed in 1994, and these 166 respondents formed a comparison group. Changes in responses to statements about sex-role stereotypes, willingness to control decision-making of female patients, and conceptualization of women as "other" or "abnormal" because they are women were examined. Responses from the comparison group were used to indicate whether the Queen's group was representative. RESULTS: Attitudinal differences between the primary group and the comparison group were not significant. After 3 years of medical education students were somewhat less accepting of sex-role stereotypes and less controlling in the doctor-patient encounter. They continued, however, to equate adults with men and to see women as "not adult" or "other." Female students began and remained somewhat more open-minded in all areas studied. INTERPRETATION: A predicted trend toward conservatism was not seen as students became older, more aware and closer to completion of medical training, although they continued to equate adults with male and to see women as "other." Findings may validate new curricular approaches and increased attention to gender issues in the academic environment. (+info)
Selecting subjects for participation in clinical research: one sphere of justice.
Recent guidelines from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandate the inclusion of adequate numbers of women in clinical trials. Ought such standards to apply internationally? Walzer's theory of justice is brought to bear on the problem, the first use of the theory in research ethics, and it argues for broad application of the principle of adequate representation. A number of practical conclusions for research ethics committees (RECs) are outlined. Eligibility criteria in clinical trials ought to be justified by trial designers. Research ethics committees ought to question criteria that seem to exclude unnecessarily women from research participation. The issue of adequate representation should be construed broadly, so as to include consideration of the representation of the elderly, persons with HIV, mental illness and substance abuse disorders in clinical research. (+info)
Gender and equity in health sector reform programmes: a review.
This paper reviews current literature and debates about Health Sector Reform (HSR) in developing countries in the context of its possible implications for women's health and for gender equity. It points out that gender is a significant marker of social and economic vulnerability which is manifest in inequalities of access to health care and in women's and men's different positioning as users and producers of health care. Any analysis of equity must therefore include a consideration of gender issues. Two main approaches to thinking about gender issues in health care are distinguished--a 'women's health' approach, and a 'gender inequality' approach. The framework developed by Cassels (1995), highlighting six main components of HSR, is used to try to pinpoint the implications of HSR in relation to both of these approaches. This review makes no claim to sociological or geographical comprehensiveness. It attempts instead to provide an analysis of the gender and women's health issues most likely to be associated with each of the major elements of HSR and to outline an agenda for further research. It points out that there is a severe paucity of information on the actual impact of HSR from a gender point of view and in relation to substantive forms of vulnerability (e.g. particular categories of women, specific age groups). The use of generic categories, such as 'the poor' or 'very poor', leads to insufficient disaggregation of the impact of changes in the terms on which health care is provided. This suggests the need for more carefully focused data collection and empirical research. (+info)
Inborn errors of metabolism: medical and administrative "orphans".
CONTEXT: Inborn errors of metabolism are genetic conditions that affect the normal biochemical functions of the body in any organ and at any age. More than 500 metabolic diseases are known; almost all are classified as orphan diseases under the US Food and Drug Administration guidelines (incidence < 200,000 persons) and each has its own requirements for diagnosis and treatment. Management of these complex, lifelong, multisystem disorders often requires a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach involving several subspecialists and which may include complex laboratory evaluations, genetic counseling, nutritional therapy, and unusual therapeutic approaches that have been used in only a small number of cases. RESULTS: Not infrequently, inborn errors of metabolism fall outside current standard diagnostic and treatment guidelines of managed care plans. This results in delays in diagnosis and appropriate management, with increased costs to patients and to society. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with inborn errors of metabolism should not be discriminated against and all health plans should specify that access to specialists and metabolic centers are a covered benefit of the plan. The acceptance of treatment guidelines, the development of international disease classification codes for the disorders, and the performance of cost-benefit analyses would all greatly facilitate this process. However, without recognition that these disorders require such services, and steps to provide them by the insurance industry, the care of children with metabolic disorders and other chronic diseases will continue to be a source of frustration and anger among the caregivers and the families they serve. (+info)
Human cloning and child welfare.
In this paper we discuss an objection to human cloning which appeals to the welfare of the child. This objection varies according to the sort of harm it is expected the clone will suffer. The three formulations of it that we will consider are: 1. Clones will be harmed by the fearful or prejudicial attitudes people may have about or towards them (H1); 2. Clones will be harmed by the demands and expectations of parents or genotype donors (H2); 3. Clones will be harmed by their own awareness of their origins, for example the knowledge that the genetic donor is a stranger (H3). We will show why these three versions of the child welfare objection do not necessarily supply compelling reasons to ban human reproductive cloning. The claim that we will develop and defend in the course of our discussion is that even if it is the case that a cloned child will suffer harms of the type H1-H3, it is none the less permissible to conceive by cloning so long as these cloning-induced welfare deficits are not such as to blight the existence of the resultant child, whoever this may be. (+info)
Genetic testing: a conceptual exploration.
This paper attempts to explore a number of conceptual issues surrounding genetic testing. It looks at the meaning of the terms, genetic information and genetic testing in relation to the definition set out by the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing in the UK, and by the Task Force on Genetic Testing in the USA. It argues that the special arrangements that may be required for the regulation of genetic tests should not be determined by reference to the nature or technology of the test, but by considering those morally relevant features that justify regulation. Failure to do so will lead to the regulation of genetic tests that need not be regulated, and would fail to cover other tests which should be regulated. The paper also argues that there is little in the nature of the properties of gene tests, using DNA or chromosomes, that in itself justifies a special approach. (+info)
Prenatal diagnosis and discrimination against the disabled.
Two versions of the argument that prenatal diagnosis discriminates against the disabled are distinguished and analysed. Both are shown to be inadequate, but some valid concerns about the social effects of prenatal diagnosis are highlighted. (+info)
Racial bias in federal nutrition policy, Part II: Weak guidelines take a disproportionate toll.
Many diet-related chronic diseases take a disproportionate toll among members of racial minorities. Research shows the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart disease is higher among various ethnic groups compared with whites. The Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid, however, promote the use of multiple servings of meats and dairy products each day and do not encourage replacing these foods with vegetables, legumes, fruits, and grains. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage a 30% caloric reduction in fat intake and make no provision for further reductions for those who wish to minimize health risks. Abundant evidence has shown that regular exercise combined with diets lower in fat and richer in plant products than is encouraged by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are associated with reduced risk of these chronic conditions. While ineffective Dietary Guidelines potentially put all Americans at unnecessary risk, this is particularly true for those groups hardest hit by chronic disease. (+info)