SS1 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Session - Monday, March 21, 12:45 - 13:45 CET, South Hall 2A+B / Virtual Hall 5
This three-part special session at Monday lunchtime will open with a talk on the impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality in research, given by Dr Pavel Ovseiko, Senior Research Fellow in Health Policy and Management, University of Oxford, UK.
“The impact of COVID-19 pandemic threatens to stagnate progress made towards gender equality in research,” explains Dr Ovseiko. “First, cross-sectional research shows negative trends in the scientific authorship, number of publications, and grant funding for female researchers. Second, female early career researchers are more likely than their male counterparts to lose jobs or career advancement opportunities. Third, sex and gender variables are often inadequately considered or reported in COVID-19 research. Whereas some research funding agencies rolled back schemes for gender equality in research, others developed new programs and interventions.”
Research on gender equality in research is overwhelmingly cross-sectional and does not allow establishing causality. Moreover, such research is predominantly context-specific and thus has limitations in generalising beyond specific settings. Dr Ovseiko says: “Efforts to develop interventions to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on gender equality in research are likely to be most effective when based on the context-specific assessment of gender inequalities and contributing factors.”
He will be followed by Associate Professor Nada Hamad, a Clinical and Laboratory Haematologist based St. Vincent's Health Network and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, who will discuss intersectionality - a term coined by American critical legal race scholar Prof Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989.
“Intersectionality encapsulates ideas evolving historically within Black, Latina, feminist, queer, postcolonial, and indigenous activism and scholarly work that articulates the complex factors and processes that shape human lives,” says Dr Hamad, who is also Medicine Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Deputy Co-Chair at UNSW.
“In health, intersectionality is a framework that focuses on the ways multiple axes of inequality intersect and compound at macro and micro levels to produce a broad range of unequal health outcomes,” she explains. “Acknowledging the limitations in current evidence and practice is essential to understanding how to close inequitable gaps in our knowledge as researchers and clinicians. We need to embrace and promote diversity in health care and research teams. We need to deliberately work towards a future where we as clinicians and researchers serve all our community members.”
The trainees’ viewpoint will be delivered jointly by Trainee Committee co-chairs Claire Horgan (UK) and Nico Gagelmann (Germany). Claire is Clinical research fellow in Paediatric BMT, CAR-T and Stem Cell Gene Therapy, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, UK, while Nico is a Physician at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.
They will explain that, despite advances in haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) and cellular therapy in recent years, exposure to the discipline in medical school and early post-graduate training can vary substantially around the world.
“One of our main objectives in establishing the Trainee Committee within the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) in January, 2021, was to address the inequalities in transplantation and cellular therapy exposure and education among medical students and junior doctors internationally,” explains Nico. “
They will discuss their findings in the recently published Trainee Survey (The Lancet Haematology) that highlight the vast discrepancies that exist in transplantation and cellular therapy training across the globe, particularly when stratifying by country income. More importantly, they reflect the inequalities in access to treatment that patients living in these settings have, as a shortage of trained physicians is one important factor besides infrastructure, funding, regulations, and resources that can be associated with inferior access to cell-based therapies.
Nico and Claire conclude that “Through the EBMT Trainee Committee, we want to increase awareness of the wider haematology community of the challenges in delivering transplantation and cellular therapy in resource-poor settings, and lobby for the large international organisations and pharmaceutical companies to work together in trying to balance the playing field, thereby improving the experience of trainees and patients alike.”
Note: The text of The Lancet Haematology paper is available on this link below for free. If you do not have a Lancet login, you can also obtain this for free.