Vision, Goals & Principles
The Program
Why do we need a research training program that focuses on gender, women and addictions?
There is growing recognition of the need for researchers to explore sex and gender differences in addictions research. Analyzing the sex and gender differences in the experience of addiction is crucial to our knowledge of the impact of substance use on human health, gender-specific treatment, services, and health policy.

Our experience in women's health shows that women often experience addiction alongside other social and health concerns including mental illness, trauma, violence and HIV/AIDS. Research and policy often overlook these intersections and the resulting co-morbidities leaving substance abuse to be addressed in isolation of broader social and environmental determinants of health. Clinical practice in addictions is often not fully informed by a gendered analysis or by multidisciplinary research that can shed light on the complexities of the problem.

By developing researchers to apply a sex and gender-based analysis we hope to influence research outcomes, practice and policy change in the area of women's health and addiction services.

What are SEX and GENDER?
  • a multidimensional biological construct
  • encompasses anatomy, physiology, genes and hormones that together create a human package that affects how we are labeled
  • usually conceptualized on the female/male binary,
  • in reality, an individuals’ sex characteristics exist on a continuum
  • the socially prescribed and experienced dimensions of “femaleness” and “maleness”
  • a social construct
  • culturally based & historically specific
  • always linked to the social world
Source: Johnson, J.L., Greaves, L., & Repta, R. (2007). 
Better Science with Sex and Gender: A Primer for Health Research. 
Vancouver: Women’s Health Research Network.

This page was last updated on June 22, 2007.

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