GenCAD: Gender-specific mechanisms in coronary artery disease in Europe

This European pilot aims to improve the understanding of sex and gender differences in chronic diseases, using coronary heart disease (CAD) as an example to highlight these differences regarding treatment and prevention activities in European countries.

As with other chronic diseases, CAD differs significantly in women and men throughout Europe, in age distribution, risk factors, prevention, clinical manifestation, response to therapies and outcomes. However, the existing evidence regarding sex and gender differences is sometimes incomplete and the existing findings are frequently not convincingly presented to the medical community and public.

Our target audiences are healthcare professionals, gender-based organisations, policy makers and the general population.

The GenCAD project commenced in February 2015. Over its three-year period, the GenCAD project aims to:

  • Analyse existing knowledge about gender differences in CAD risk factors, disease mechanisms, clinical manifestations, treatment options, access to health care, as well as management and outcomes.
  • Assess awareness of health professionals and general population to identify the most effective practices to raise awareness about sex and gender manifestations of CAD, its specific risk factors and available treatments in the member states using two types of surveys.
  • Develop information material based on the outcomes of the studies, surveys, and comprehensive needs assessment. Easily understandable factsheets will be disseminated in all official 24 EU languages.
  • Communicate & disseminate results of the surveys and the resulting factsheets to different target audiences and the health care community in all member states at various workshops and international conferences.

The GenCAD project will investigate published information, European databases and existing health policies in different countries to provide novel insights as to how and why different forms of CAD affect women and men, which preventive approaches are most effective in a gender-specific context and how this is already integrated into health policies. Also to be included are social determinants of health contributing to the inequalities between women and men, potentially affecting CAD outcomes. It will assess awareness of different groups of the population on these facts and use this knowledge to optimize structured information in factsheets for target groups and to develop the best strategies to raise awareness at all societal levels.

The project aims to ensure long-term sustainability and transfer of the results and products into practice by encouraging the use of its results by national stakeholders.

For this purpose, the project is organizing conferences and will disseminate its findings to all stakeholders in all Member States.

Long-term availability of the produced factsheets will be assured through this website and, international societies and institutions. A report will also be made available focusing on gender aspects in CAD and its prevention that assembles the European activities, highlights, gaps and opportunities.

If you are interested in joining the GenCAD project, you can get involved in the conferences and workshops by contacting Nicholas Alexander, Institute for Gender in Medicine, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin (info[a]gencad.eu).

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