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April 8, 2020

The Conundrum and Opportunity of Gender Equity For Evidence Generators

Author Affiliations
  • 1Women as One Inc, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 2Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA Cardiology
  • 4Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Cardiol. Published online April 8, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.0594

An evidence generator in medicine is a physician or scientist with specific knowledge or expertise, engaged by stakeholders to inform device and drug development through all phases of study. This can be accomplished by serving in local roles participating in preclinical and clinical research, as well as national roles that strengthen professional standing and provide great visibility and opportunity. Not surprisingly, such roles are highly coveted and place individuals in milieus where their expertise and ideas are on display, including sometimes lucrative service on advisory boards, speaking engagements, and networking opportunities among other influential key opinion leaders. Most importantly, these opinion leaders are often at the helm of practice-changing research, generating evidence that influences the development and deployment of drugs and devices that ideally go on to benefit millions of patients around the world. This often means partnering directly with industry given their dominant role in funding innovation in cardiology and therefore may also have a downside; one must be careful to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest or manipulation of academic perspectives, and industry relationships may limit participation in professional society committees or guideline writing groups. Nevertheless, physician-industry partnerships are an established pathway that offers would-be evidence generators access to leadership roles in developing innovative drugs and devices, funding, authorship, and influence.

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