Throughout 2011 WCHM worked with two students from the Australian National University Medical School (ANUMS) on research projects about gender sensitivity. This project set out to measure the effectiveness of storytelling as a way of teaching first-year medical school students about gender sensitive health service delivery. This project involved the creation of an audio-visual resource that features three women telling their story about a consultation with a medical doctor who demonstrated gender sensitivity or gender insensitivity. As they relay their story, the women reflect on the impact of the experience for them and highlight the simple things that the doctors did that worked or that they could do differently to be more effective in providing services to women. The project was a randomised controlled trial, with the DVD played for one group of ANUMS first year medical school students and an evidence-based lecture addressing the same educational points delivered to a second group. Changes in gender awareness were measured using the Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale. Twenty-two students participated. This study showed that either a patient-led teaching intervention or an evidence-based lecture was effective in increasing medical student gender awareness after the learning session. There was a positive impact on gender sensitivity for both interventions, with no significant difference between the two, however, female students learnt more from the DVD compared with male students who learnt more from the lecture.
Although both educational interventions resulted in immediate changes in gender awareness, the study sample was too small to allow conclusions to be drawn about the relative merits of either educational intervention.