Effects on Patient Care
Sex-based disparities affect patient care directly, because instances of underfunding female researchers translate into lost opportunities for the advancement of science and, thus, evidence-based patient care. “They can negatively affect both the short- and long-term evolution of standards of care,” Dr. Farzal said. “For instance, short-term clinical studies, including comparative effectiveness research, often change treatment paradigms, while basic science research has implications for clinical care down the road.”
Explore This IssueMay 2019
Gender diversity can also improve outcomes. Within medicine, previous work has shown that female physicians have a more patient-centered communication style, are more encouraging and reassuring, and conduct longer visits with patients than male physicians, Dr. Yaremchuk said. A study of hospitalized Medicare patients demonstrated that 30-day readmission rates were lower for patients treated by female internists across eight medical conditions when compared with male internists (JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177:206–213).
The bottom line is that women have much to contribute to the otolaryngology profession, but, if research funding continues to be distributed unevenly, their hands are often tied when it comes to what they can offer. It would benefit everyone to give promising female researchers the same opportunities to advance the field as men have.
Karen Appold is a freelance medical writer based in New Jersey.