Prevention research and health care system

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Especially in the area of sex/gender-specific research the impact of psychosocial and psychological variables is confirmed with increasing frequence. These variables influence disease and recovery and, thus, represent essential factors for clinical success and the consequent wellbeing of patients.

We investige the role of these variables in the areas of Cardiology and Pulmonology.

Berlin Women Risk Evaluation (BEFRI)

Risk evaluation for cardiovascular diseases in Berlin women
Women worldwide are inadequately informed about their risk to come down with cardiovascular diseases or to die from. Some risk factors as well as protective factors differ between men and women. A planned representative study in a cohort of 1000 Berlin women will investigate the self-estimation of cardiovascular risks by women living in Berlin and compare the self-evaluated risk with objective data for a cardiovascular risk of the persons concerned. Additionally, new risk factors which are typical for women (e.g. rheumatic diseases, depression, complications during pregnancy) will be identified. The study should analyze and waken the awareness for the prevention of risk factors.

Pilot project "Gender Medicine" - clinical research

The BMBF funded pilot project "Gender Medicine" aims at the broad definition of the impact of gender on basic and clinical research in medicine.

Using a specifically designed text mining tool and database, developed in collaboration with the Bioinformatics Department at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, relevant medical literature is collected and pre-analyzed. A subsequent control and systematic analysis aims at the identification of gender-specific work, which is assembled in a publicly accessible database. Relevant literature is then summarized, presented to specialists in the field for quality control and further developed into reviews and research proposals.

Goals of this project are the broad definition of the field with the subsequent establishment of gender medicine as an independent subspecialty. Furthermore, analysis of previously published research should allow for the identification of yet sparsely investigated areas and the definition of future directions. Finally, dissemination of results and recommendations to specialists and the general public should increase awareness and foster interdisciplinary collaborations in the field.

Stress and coping in patients with vocal cord dysfunction

Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is characterized by parossistic acute dyspnea as a consequence of a spasm/constriction of the vocal cords. Given the similarity of the clinical presentation with asthma and the frequent co-existence of the two conditions, diagnosis is often importantly delayed and only achieved after several unsuccessful treatment attempts. Prevalence estimates in Germany are 250.000 to 300.000 VCD patients, with a clear female predominance (ca. 70%).

Previous studies have suggested that psychosocial aspects and stress, i.e. gender-specific mechanisms of coping with stressors, have a fundamental role in pathogenesis, symptoms and prognosis. The disease is complicated by the frequent association with fear/panic symptoms, which might represent the dominant clinical feature in several cases.

A controlled study of VCD and asthma patients, conducted in cooperation with Dr. Kenn (Klinikum Berchtestgadener Land), is currently underway to analyze psychosocial variables in a gender-specific manner in the context of VCD.

Gender in prevention and implementation

Domestic and sexualized violence (the HuSG project)

This project lead to the first mandatory training for practicing clinicians in an academic hospital in Germany. More than 800 individuals were included in the trainings covering more than 60% of the employed personnel. Next to the teaching sessions, a number of materials were generated that are still being used today.
The training was very effective in raising awareness among faculty leading to the inclusion of intimate partner violence management and communication with victims among the mandatory topics of the medical curriculum at Charité. Train the trainer seminars for teaching faculty and ad hoc workshops for faculty are still offered several times a year.
  

Funding: Berliner Chancengleichheitsprogramm
PI: Sabine Oertelt-Prigione
Team: Sabine Jenner, Dr. Saskia Etzold, Dr. Anna Stickel
Duration: 2010-2012
Website: http://husg.charite.de
Publication: Barriers to active inquiry about intimate partner violence among German physicians participating in a mandatory training. Jenner et al., J Fam Violence (in press)

Pilotprojekt GenderVWZ

GenderVWZ is a pilot effort to identify preventative behavior, readiness for change and health literacy in a sample of the general urban population attending generalist/specialist practices. We are looking to identify sex and gender differences in preventative experiences and knowledge in women and men in order to improve information flows.

PI: Sabine Oertelt-Prigione
Cooperation Partner: Praxis Dr. Natascha Hess
Doctoral student:
Alessa Tschaftary
Student assistant: Sarah Hiltner

WPP Charité

Watch-Protect-Prevent (WPP) is the first project in Germany with the explicit goal to investigate the prevalence of sexual harassment in hospital personnel. We analyze incidence within medical and nursing staff, personal, medical and legal consequences as well as potential causes for sexualized discrimination. Furthermore we focus extensively on prevention with the final aim to develop a general workplace policy for the prevention of sexual harassment that can be adapted to specific clinical settings.

Funding: Stiftung Charité, Berliner Chancengleichheitsprogramm
PI: Sabine Oertelt-Prigione
Team: Sabine Jenner
Doctoral students: Pia Djermester and Judith Prügl
Duration: 2014-2016
Website: http://wpp.charite.de

Development of a general guideline for the management of sexual hearassment at the workplace

Based on the specific experiences in the medical setting collected in the WPP project, we conceived a fellow-up project with the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (HBS) to develop a general concept for guidelines for the management of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Using both the information from the archive of workplace policies at HBS and our results from the practice study at Charité we will identify crucial aspects for a guideline and will make this available to the public after testing with relevant stakeholder groups.

Funding: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung
PI: Sabine Oertelt-Prigione
Team: Sabine Jenner
Cooperation partner: Dr. Manuela Maschke (HBS)
Duration: 2015-2016

Gender in prevention and implementation

The group focuses on the development of innovative approaches to prevention and implementation of public health measures, that are gender-sensitive and diversity oriented through the inclusion of diverse stakeholders within the health care system.

The choice of projects is defined by their focus on the social dimension, their relevance in reducing gender-based discrimination and their model character. Hence, we work on the design of gender-sensitive prevention and health literacy tools, but also implement mandatory trainings for physicians to care for people with intimate partner violence experience or design workplace policies to prevent sexualized discrimination.

We view our projects as pilot efforts to identify the necessary systemic steps to implement minority health approaches within academia and the broader health care system. 

Groupleader:

Sabine Oertelt-Prigione, MD, MScPH, is an Internal Medicine specialist, with training in basic research and public health. She has worked in multi-cultural, multi-lingual teams in several countries and is an international expert in gender medicine. She has authored more than 40 publications in the field and is co-editor of one of the first international textbooks on gender medicine. Next to her academic experience, she is member of several professional organizations and NGOs, screens start up companies in the medical field in their early development stages and is completing training to become an organisational consultant. 

Projects:

Pilotproject GenderVWZ

Domestic and sexualized violence (the HuSG project)

WPP - Watch Protect Prevent

Development of a general workplace policy for the management of cases of sexual harassment at the workplace