Gender Medicine in Italy
In Italy, the Ministry for Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health first brought attention to the issue of Gender Medicine in 1998, with help from the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), the National Agency for Regional Healthcare Services (AGENAS) and the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS).
In 2011, the ISS set up a Degenerative Diseases, Ageing and Gender Medicine unit within its Drug Department and, in 2017, established a Reference Centre for Gender Medicine, the first of its kind in Europe. The Reference Centre, the National Research Centre for Health and Gender Medicine and the Italian Health and Gender Group (GISeG) joined forces to create the Italian Gender Medicine Network, with the aim of developing scientific research, promoting the training of doctors and healthcare workers and increasing public awareness.
The network was first presented by the Ministry of Health in an issue of its official publication (Quaderni del Ministero della Salute) entitled “Gender as a determinant of health. Developing Gender Medicine to ensure equity and appropriateness of care” (issue n. 26, April 2016).
The network can count upon active collaboration from FNOMCeO (National Federation of the Associations of Doctors and Dentists), FADOI (Federation of the Associations of Hospital Internist Directors), SIMG (Italian Society of General Practice and Primary Care), some universities and scientific societies.
In 2015, the members of the network founded the Italian Journal of Gender Specific Medicine, an essential tool in disseminating gender research and culture.
On 13 June 2019, the Ministry of Health formally approved a “Plan for the application and promotion of Gender Medicine throughout the country” by signing the Decree implementing Law 3/2018 (containing provisions to reform regulations on clinical trials of medicinal products, to reorganize healthcare professions, and other provisions concerning the medical directors of the Ministry of Health). Article 3 of the law, “Application and promotion of Gender Medicine within the National Health System”, required the preparation of «a plan to promote Gender Medicine through dissemination, training and recommended practices for research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment that take gender differences into consideration, so as to ensure that the quality and appropriateness of care provided by the National Health System are consistent across the country».