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 evaluate the effect that the Women’s Health (WH) rotation at the ANUMS has on final year students’ level of gender awareness. Final year students undertaking the eight week WH rotation between February and July 2011 (n=30) completed the previously validated Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale survey following one week of classroom teaching, and at the completion of the rotation. Responses were then compared to students who had not undertaken this rotation (n=33).
There was a significant difference in gender sensitivity between the students who received one week of gender focused teaching when compared to those who did not (p<0.05). At the completion of the rotation, however, this significant difference was no longer present when gender differences between groups were controlled for. The study concluded that following a teaching program focused on WH, students had a higher level of gender sensitivity when compared to those who do not receive WH teaching. Seven weeks later, however, there was no significant difference between the groups when gender differences were taken into account. Therefore students who undertake the WH rotation may not maintain higher levels of gender sensitivity than those who do not undertake the rotation.