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School of Medicine Greenville

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville Awarded an NIH Educational Grant

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville (SOMG), in partnership with Prisma Health-Upstate, received a $325K grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve medical education by developing materials for medical school faculty members that will help them determine if their teaching materials adequately integrate the latest research about differences between men and women. The project is entitled Sex and Gender Curricular Assessment and Revision (SG-CAR) (where sex refers to biology and gender refers to sociocultural factors).

“The understanding of biological and sociocultural factors on health and disease is a major key to unlocking the future of personalized medicine,” said Dr. Alyson McGregor, Associate Dean of Clinical Faculty Affairs and Development, Professor of Emergency Medicine at SOMG. “NIH funding for this project will enable our educators at the School of Medicine Greenville to receive advanced training in the adaptation of these concepts into their curriculum, which will benefit our students and the health of the community they serve.”

Most medical research has been based on studies of men’s bodies and was inappropriately assumed to apply to women. Traditionally, what was taught in medical schools reflected that research. Over the past 30 years, women have been increasingly included in research studies, teaching us that there are differences between men and women in many diseases in relation to symptoms, treatments, side effects, prognosis, and health needs.  

“Unfortunately, much of this knowledge is not included in medical education and does not adequately prepare medical students to care for women in their future practices,” said Dr. Mary Rojek, Director of Clinical Faculty Affairs and Development at SOMG. “Studies show that medical students want to have this knowledge, and the SG-CAR project will enable faculty to provide students with that knowledge.”  

The NIH grant is an R25 Galvanizing Health Equity Through Novel and Diverse Educational Resources (GENDER) Research Education grant beginning September 2023 through August 2025. This project will combine the USC School of Medicine Greenville expertise in sex and gender based health, lifestyle medicine, and medical education. The principal investigators of the grant are Dr. Alyson McGregor, Dr. Kelly Quesnelle (Chair and Professor of Biomedical Sciences), and Dr. Mary Rojek. Co-Investigators are Dr. April Buchanan (Associate Dean of Medical Education, Professor of Pediatrics) and Dr. Jennifer Trilk (Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Director of Lifestyle Medicine Programs). Other key faculty include Dr. Jennica Siddle (Clinical Assistant Professor).  

To read more about the NIH grant and the Sex and Gender Curricular Assessment and Revision Project, read here »

The USC School of Medicine Greenville is unique and fortunate to have international leaders in the field of sex and gender based health as part of this program. Dr. McGregor is an international expert in sex and gender differences in relation to emergency medicine and has co-authored books on these issues. Dr. Rojek has been a leader in the field of sex and gender health since its inception and is co-chair of the national Sex and Gender Health Collaborative. The dean of the medical school, Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, is an international expert in sex and gender based health and co-authored a foundational textbook to guide clinical care which will be a resource for this project.  

The SG-CAR project will be implemented in phases. Phase 1 of the project will consist of a workshop with an introduction to sex and gender based medicine and the validation of a teaching tool that faculty can use to assess their own curricular materials. This workshop will be conducted by Dr. Alyson McGregor on October 5, 2023 at the School of Medicine Greenville. It will be a hands-on workshop where faculty will be able to assess any of their own teaching materials for bias, ranging from a PowerPoint slide to a lecture to a course syllabus, and update their materials with the new knowledge base. Phase 2 of this project will involve medical students who will be led by faculty members to assess the School of Medicine Greenville’s renowned Lifestyle Medical Education curriculum for the inclusion of sex and gender based content.  

The Lifestyle Medicine curriculum is used at 58 medical schools across the U.S. and globally. Thus, the SG-CAR project has the potential to improve the education of medical students across the U.S., introducing them to significant differences in the health of women and men and better preparing them to provide patient-centered and personalized care in the future. “As national leaders in the field of Lifestyle Medicine, it is important for the USC School of Medicine Greenville to model the revision of our Lifestyle Medicine curriculum to include advances in sex and gender based healthcare,” said Dr. Quesnelle. “In doing so, we can ensure our students’ ability to provide exceptional care to all patients, and we set the standard for the other institutions around the globe who access our Lifestyle Medicine curriculum.”

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