Zurich - The University of Zurich is establishing the first Professorship in Gender Medicine in Switzerland. In so doing, it is seeking to ensure that gender-specific medical insights are first conveyed to students before being adopted in practice.

The University of Zurich (UZH) will appoint its first Professor for Gender Medicine by the start of 2024 at the latest, further details of which can be found in a press release. This will also be the first professorship of its kind in Switzerland. The reasoning behind this decision was explained during an information event organized by the directors of University Medicine Zurich (UMZH) and the Zurich-based think-tank Female Shift.

In her keynote speech, Cathrine Gebhard, professor and senior cardiologist at the Inselspital Bern, pointed out that women and men get sick in different ways. However, the majority of research is still geared towards men. As she and her team demonstrated in a Switzerland-wide study from 2021, women are underserved and underrepresented in connection with research into cardiovascular diseases, for example. They are less often examined and treated intensively in addition to being less frequently admitted to an intensive care unit than men. For example, the risk of being misdiagnosed with a heart attack is seven times higher for a young woman than for a man of the same age.

According to Gebhard, more men fall ill with COVID-19, but women suffer more from the long-term consequences. The reasons behind both circumstances are not yet known. Gregor Zünd, Professor of Surgery and CEO of the University Hospital Zurich, emphasized that insights and knowledge of this kind must be fed “into the training of young doctors”.

Gender medicine is also to be clinically anchored at the University Hospital Zurich, where a Women’s Health Center is to be established. According to Beatrice Beck Schimmer, UZH Professor of Anesthesiology and UMZH Director, there will also be a focus on empowering the next generation of talent, potentially by way of an assistant professorship in gender medicine. mm

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