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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Health Research Policy and Systems 1/2017

Incorporating sex, gender and vulnerable populations in a large multisite health research programme: The Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network as a case study

Health Research Policy and Systems > Ausgabe 1/2017
Martin Cooke, Nancy Waite, Katie Cook, Emily Milne, Feng Chang, Lisa McCarthy, Beth Sproule
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12961-017-0182-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Funders now frequently require that sex and gender be considered in research programmes, but provide little guidance about how this can be accomplished, especially in large research programmes. The purpose of this study is to present and evaluate a model for promoting sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) in a large health service research programme, the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network (OPEN).


A mixed method study incorporating (1) team members’ critical reflection, (2) surveys (n = 37) and interviews (n = 23) at programme midpoint, and (3) an end-of-study survey in 2016 with OPEN research project teams (n = 6).


Incorporating gender and vulnerable populations (GVP) as a cross-cutting theme, with a dedicated team and resources to promote GVP research across the programme, was effective and well received. Team members felt their knowledge was improved, and the programme produced several sex- and gender-related research outputs. Not all resources were well used, however, and better communication of the purposes and roles of the team could increase effectiveness.


The experience of OPEN suggests that dedicating resources for sex and gender research can be effective in promoting SGBA research, but that research programmes should also focus on communicating the importance of SGBA to their members.
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