Health of an individual or a community is often predicated on social structures with prescriptive gender identities and associated power relations. Gender is a pivotal determinant of health. Health is experienced differently by men, women and intersexed persons owing to ‘sex-specific vulnerabilities’ and ‘gendered vulnerabilities’. Gender’s interaction with health is also witnessed in the variation in access to health systems and services for men, women and intersexed persons/transgenders.In India, we find that medical education comprising training and curriculum, is far removed from gender theory and perspective. The WHO recognises the need for a systematic integration of gender in medical education specifically, in the ‘pre-service training curricula’ of students.
In this context, CEHAT
, with the support of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) and UNFPA, is implementing a project on integrating gender in medical education in Maharashtra. The project is being implemented in select medical colleges in Maharashtra with the aim to sensitise medical students and health professionals to gender inequity and its interaction with health. Specifically, the GME project seeks to achieve gender sensitisation and awareness on public health issues such as sex selection, abortion and violence against women by integrating gender perspectives in the MBBS curriculum.
With the Integrating Gender in Medical Education project, CEHAT
aims to inject change in the education of future healthcare providers so as to create a generation of medical doctors who will come forward to take up their role in promoting sexual and reproductive health rights while dealing sensitively with concernsaround gender-based violence, access to safe abortion and sex determination.
1. Build capacity of medical faculty on gender perspectives and women’s health issues through a training of trainers’ [TOT] programme.
2. Facilitate teaching of gender perspectives to MBBS students by trained medical faculty.
3. Advocate for policy inclusion of modules integrating gender perspectives in MBBS curriculum by assessing impact of this programme.
1. Training of Trainers (TOT) for medical educators:
Medical educators from seven medical colleges in Maharashtra participated in the 10-day Training of Trainers aimed at introducing the concept of gender and related issues of marginalisation, sexual and reproductive health rights and gender-based violence.
2. Situation Analysis:
A situation analysis was conducted in all the participating colleges to capture basic information regarding available infrastructure, facilities and human resources. Additionally, the analysis explored the perceptions of medical educators related to the medical curriculum, patients and the relevance of gender in medicine, among others.
3. Development of gender-integrated modules for MBBS curriculum:
Gender integrated modules for five subjects of the MBBS curriculum have been prepared by the GME team, the mentors and the trained educators. These would be used by the trained medical educators during their lectures for the MBBS students.
4. Action Research
An action research would be carried out to assess the shift in knowledge, attitudes and skills of medical students owing to the gender training imparted to their educators and the use of gender-integrated modules by the trained teachers during lectures.
Based on the outcomes of the project, advocacy would be undertaken at the state and national level for the integration of gender in the medical curriculum.
State-level GME conferences and workshops are organised regularly in order to reach out to a larger audience. A Virtual Resource Centre and social media accounts are other means of sharing the latest updates and information related to GME.
About the organizers
The Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT)
, Mumbai, was established twenty years ago by a group of researchers and healthcare professionals as an alternative health research institution at the interface of activism and academics. CEHAT
comprises of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, lawyers, social workers, public health experts and counsellors and is engaged in research, intervention, education and advocacy in the field of health.
work is directed at demanding access to health care as a right and has spanned key areas such as health systems and policy research, budget advocacy and research, gender and health, access to abortion and violence against women. In partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, CEHAT
has set up a one-stop crisis centre called “Dilaasa” at Bhabha Hospital, Bandra which is a public hospital in Mumbai in 2001 for women facing domestic violence. This attempt was one of its kind since there had been no efforts made to sensitize the health system to domestic violence.
With the Integrating Gender in Medical Education project, we aim to intervene at the level of education of future healthcare providers so as to contribute to the training of gender-sensitive healthcare professionals who will be able to take up their role in addressing issues of domestic and sexual violence and preventing sex determination and sex selection.