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Webinar: (2021-4) Now Is No Time to Relax: Why the Global Pandemic Strengthens the Case for Considering Sex as a Biological Variable


Established five years ago in January 2016, the NIH policy on the Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) is a part of a global movement to integrate the study of sex into research. Considering SABV in research studies and reporting results by sex lead to a more complete knowledge base that improves rigor and reproducibility, a tenet of good science. Increased knowledge leads to more productive future research, more effective treatments, and better health for women (and men). The coronavirus pandemic has revealed critical gaps in our knowledge base, intransigent health disparities and health inequities, and runs the risk of reversing years of progress toward gender equity. It is a reason to redouble our efforts to apply NIH policies, fully integrate the study of sex into the research process, and support women’s advancement in biomedical research careers.


  • The scientific rationale and ethical imperative that led to the NIH policy on SABV, which became effective in January of 2016.
  • Progress to date implementing relevant NIH policies, including notable achievements, milestones, and remaining barriers.
  • The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women, especially women from underserved populations, and the biomedical research community.
  • How the differences in effects of the virus on women as compared to men reveals critical gaps in our scientific knowledge base and longstanding flaws in how biomedical studies account for the effects of sex at all levels of research.

What will I learn?
After attending this webinar, you will be able to:
  • Describe the requirements of the NIH policy on SABV and the scientific and ethical rationales for accounting for SABV at all levels of research.
  • Identify the various ways that NIH has sought to implement the SABV policy, its progress since the policy’s effective date five years ago, and the barriers and challenges that remain to full integration of the study of sex in the research process.
  • Explain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the health of women, especially women from underserved populations, and the continued participation and advancement of women in biomedical research careers.

Who should attend?
(No prerequisite knowledge is required.)
  • Oversight professionals responsible for implementing the regulations that protect humans and animals involved in research studies, as well as biomedical researchers, clinicians, and academics.
  • Decision makers who design health-related programming including research protocols

Access Interval

Access to live content will be available for 30 days after the recording is made available. After 30 days, access to the content will be removed, but users will retain access to any certificates of attendance earned. To earn a certificate, one must complete all required sections and complete the certificate section within the 30-day access period. After access has expired, users can purchase an additional 30 days of access.

Click here for a paper registration form. Please send the filled out form to


  • Janine Austin Clayton, MD

    Dr. Janine Austin Clayton was appointed Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2012. Dr. Clayton has strengthened NIH support for research on diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women. She is the architect of the NIH policy requiring scientists to consider sex as a biological variable across the research spectrum, a part of NIH’s initiative to enhance reproducibility, rigor, and transparency. As co-chair of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Clayton also leads NIH’s efforts to advance women in science careers.

    Dr. Clayton was previously the Deputy Clinical Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI). A board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Clayton’s research interests include autoimmune ocular diseases and the role of sex and gender in health and disease. Dr. Clayton has a particular interest in ocular surface disease and discovered a novel form of disease associated with premature ovarian insufficiency that affects young women, setting the stage for her commitment to rigorous, thoughtful exploration of the role of sex and gender in health and disease. She is the author of more than 120 scientific publications, journal articles, and book chapters. Her clinical research has ranged from randomized controlled trials of novel therapies for immune-mediated ocular diseases to studies on the development of digital imaging techniques for the anterior segment.

April 29, 2021
Thu 1:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 0M

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