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|Name of Organisation:||Innsbruck Medical University (IMU)|
|Main implementing organisation:||IMU|
|Line of Business:||Medical University provides Research, Education and Patient Care. It is structured in organisations of the Theoretical Departments and the University Medical Center.|
|End Date:||Still Ongoing|
|Number of Employees||1772||51.47 %|
|Employees in R&D||1084||42.34 %|
|Number of Employees in Top Positions||3||33.33 %|
|Transferability of the initiative||Programme has been taken from another context (i.e. country, sector or size of organization)|
|Programme has already been transferred or will be transferred to another context|
|Type of initiative referring to strategic objectives||structural|
|Type of initiative, located on the stage of career progression of women scientists||Qualification (Higher Education)|
• University teachers, researchers and doctors at medical universities are not specifically trained in gender specific differences in medical treatment and research. Gender Medicine is not sufficiently implemented as a research field.
• The phenomenon of the leaky pipeline is also visible at medical universities: Women get more and more underrepresented in the career proceeding.
The public lecture series on Gender Medicine is offered each semester with changing focus. The lecture is well accepted among the audience. Students from medical and non medical study programmes can choose the lecture as optional class. Around 350 persons visit the lecture weekly.
The lecture series are published yearly in a book about Gender Medicine.
Since 2008 classes in Gender Medicine are part of the mandatory curriculum for all students at the IMU and are part of the mandatory test for all IMU students. These standardised tests have to include questions on Gender Medicine. They have to be passed by students in the third and tenth semester. The topic was implemented as strategic factor in the curriculum.
A Workshop on Gender and Diversity as didactic measure is offered twice a year to university teachers (voluntary).
During their habilitation students have to visit mandatory classes on gendered medical teaching.
The motives to launch the project results from individual research experience of the main activist in the implementation. With the new creation of the medical universities in Austria she saw the possibility to bring her knowledge about gender medicine into the curriculum of the IMU.
The Office for Equal Gender Opportunities was established in 2004 and develops and carries out the activities on gender equality at the IMU. Organized activities include
- Mentoring of students to support them in their habilitation
- Empowerment seminars for female scientists and teachers
- Organization of the public lecture series on Gender Medicine
- Child care
Direct target groups
Indirect target groups
The implementation of Gender Medicine at the IMU is connected to the vice rector and her political and scientific activities before the IMU was established. She was active in the feminist medical community from the 1970s on and developed through her research and her political commitment interest in Gender Medicine. She started to offer classes to interested students apart form the regular curriculum at the Innsbruck University. Additionally she had a long experience in legislative functions: She was head of the Equal Opportunity Working Group at the University of Innsbruck and later at the IMU since 20 years.
With the establishment of the IMU she became vice rector for human resources, human resources development and gender equality and started to implement all equal opportunity institutions arranged by law in the university to build up an infrastructure.
Most of the work to implement Gender Medicine in the mandatory curriculum for all students (human medicine and dentistry) was done by her. Her knowledge of the university structures, experience in tough negotiation as head of the equal opportunity working group, head of the office for equal gender opportunities and her know-how in gender medicine (head of the Ludwig Boltzman Institute for Cardiologic Gender Medicine, director of the Women’s Health Center at the IMU) made it possible to finally settle gender medicine after long debate in the decisive boards in the curriculum first as elective class 06/07, later as mandatory class since 07/08.
To break prejudices and diffuse the topic Gender Medicine a public lecture series is organized every semester. It is open for IMU students (possibility to count it as elective courses) students of local universities (elective course), academics, patients and the public. It is advertised in local newspapers, pharmacies and doctor’s practices. Flyers and posters to promote the serial lectures are produced, until now three books were published containing the lectures held.
To assist settlement of Gender Medicine at IMU teaching a workshop on gender and diversity in university didactic is offered twice a year as a human resource development event.
The Office assists in all activities concerning Gender Medicine. It has three assigned experts in the area gender in research, in gender mainstreaming and in promotion of women. The basic budget for the Office is fixed annually. Additionally assistance from one apprentice is installed.
The factor of success was the small quantity of training hours introduced in the mandatory Gender Medicine classes. With only 1 hour at the beginning and 1 hour (1 hour = 15 hours half a year) towards the end of the study program skepticism of the board members could be dissolved.
An important obstacle in introducing Gender Medicine is the wording in the female medical scientific community since the 1970s. The “original” name “Women’s Health” of this research area was not accepted from researchers and physicists in the scientific community and made it difficult to settle the topic. After replacing the name “Women’s Health” with the new, widely accepted and international settled name “Gender Medicine” scepticism could be reduced.
Other barriers in the implementation were suspicions against the assumed hidden agenda of the Vice -Rector: It was assumed that over the introduction of this new part of the curriculum she would try to finance other projects she was involved in. The suspicions could on the one hand be stopped as she already had proven to teach Gender Medicine without the topic being settled in the curriculum in the University of Innsbruck. Second her offer to teach without remuneration showed her commitment to the topic.
For the head of the Office for Equal Gender Opportunities an important aspect was to take skepticism against the topic seriously.
A transparent budget is important. As she was Vice-Rector of the IMU, but also head of the women’s health center and settled a research platform she focused on showing that the allocated budget for the Gender Curriculum and the Gender Medicine lecture series were only used for this areas. Her offer to teach without remuneration could convince the skeptic colleagues that her intention was not to advance her non university scientific activities.
For the head of the Office for Equal Gender Opportunities it is important that activities are settled independent from the main activists in implementation. She herself thinks she managed to firmly settle the activities but is not sure whether it is independent or dependent from her presence in the long run.
The IMU profits by every student becoming a kind of role model in the establishment of Gender Medicine. All students leave the MUI being confronted and examined in this topic and can diffuse their knowledge in their following (academic or as physicist) career.
Gender Medicine offers the possibility for the IMU to implement research in a fairly new research field and to establish itself as scientific pioneer and changing the medical mainstreaming.
Mandatory classes which integrate topics on prevention, diagnosis and therapy of illness and their gender specific differences are embodied in the curriculum for all students at IMU and will therefore persist.
The implementation of gender didactic seminars for Post Doc (Habilitation) students will help to establish Gender Medicine in the mainstream of the IMU.
The good acceptance of the lecture series on Gender Medicine for students and the public settle the topic in the public and will go on.
The Office for Equal Gender Opportunities and the Equal Opportunity Working Group established gender as a strategic category at the IMU. With the mandatory class in the curriculum of the IMU the goal to integrate the gender topic in the mainstream of the IMU research and teaching seems irreversible.
The mandatory class on gender didactic for post doctoral students (habilitation) changes the university culture towards the integration of gender as cross-sectional topic in the long run.
The innovative aspect refers to the pioneer position of the IMU in the national context: In Austria it was the first medical university to implement Gender Medicine in the curriculum. This pioneer activity was followed by activities of the other medical universities in Austria.
Additionally the lecture series on Gender Medicine establishes the topic for the interested public.
Gender in medicine is installed as mandatory class and exam in the curriculum. All students are confronted with this topic therefore gender awareness in medicine is rising bottom up into the medical research and practice in the future. Although the diffusion of the knowledge in all classes is still not visible the now finishing students will carry on the topic. A culture of gender awareness is raised in the education and will implement new research fields in the IMU.
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