From Cell to Society


Course Objective

Overall aims of the course (scientific and clinical):
Aim of the course is to offer an in-depth overview of sex/gender and
diversity aspects in medicine from cell to society, to provide an
overview of sex/gender and diversity and their implications across a
wide range of disciplines (e.g. basic science, pharmacology, cardiology,
mental health, social medicine) and health conditions. The students
practice a critical approach to existing evidence and learn the tools to
apply this knowledge to medical practice. Professional development
specifically aims towards the integration of learning pathways in
particular: development of reflexivity, ethics (social justice),
academic development (critical analysis), patient safety (drug
development), professional communication.

Learning goals: after the course students are able to
- Describe the meaning of sex/gender and other aspects of diversity for
health and illness
- Explain the role of sex/gender and other aspects of diversity for
diagnose and therapy and present examples
- Describe and explain the role of diversity in major health issues such
as coronary heart disease and lifestyle and mental health problems and
apply this knowledge to patient cases
- Describe theoretical developments and concepts in the field of gender
and diversity medicine including cultural competence, bias, gender
awareness, diversity
- Explain the intersections of aspects of diversity in health and
illness (intersectionality perspective)
- Recognize and explain gender and diversity bias in research and
practice and its consequences for clinical practice
- Apply a gender and diversity lens to academic papers, research
proposals, presentations

Course Content

General background
Health disparities and inequalities exist between men and women across
(socio)cultural backgrounds, class, sexual orientation, abilities and
age (intersectionality framework). To date, a sex/gender and diversity
perspective is insufficiently incorporated in research from fundamental
research to drug trials and in medical practice. Understanding the
antecedents of differences and inequalities and their connections to
biological and social processes is important to improve quality of
health and health care for both women and men across their
intersections. In this course, we will give an in-depth overview of the
relevance for clinical practice of these issues across a number of
disciplines and health conditions . In week 1, we address sex
(biological) differences in basic sciences (e.g. clinical conditions,
coronary heart disease) and musculoskeletal diseases and we address
sex/gender and research, including women’s exclusion from drug trials.
In week 2, we address how gender (sociocultural aspects) and cultural
background are related to public health issues in particular lifestyle,
cardiology and we discuss sex/gender and ethnicity in pharmacological
treatment. In week 3, we will focus on gender and class (incl. poverty
and education) in relation to mental health particularly depression and
stress. In week 4, we focus on the intersections between sex/gender,
sexual orientation, and cultural/religious background and how they
relate to health and health care.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and small group practicals

Method of Assessment

- Presentation of an article from the literature list
- Writing a paper on gender and diversity in medicine, topic of choice
- Final examination (open book, open questions)

Entry Requirements

Students have to fulfill the requirements of participation in a VUmc
School of Medicine minor Bacheloryear 3


Articles. A full literature overview will be placed on Canvas

Target Audience

All students with an interest in gender and diversity in medicine from
an intersectional perspective

General Information

Course Code W_FCTS
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. P. Verdonk
Examiner dr. P. Verdonk
Teaching Staff dr. P. Verdonk

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: