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Closing inequities in cardiovascular health between Australian women and men

Dr Cheryl Carcel, Institution: University of New South Wales

2019 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2020-2022


Each year, 45,000 Australians die from the biggest killer of women and men in Australia and globally, cardiovascular (CV) disease. There is high demand for effective prevention and treatment strategies. However, published evidence suggests that women and men experience medical care differently after they develop CV disease. For example, women attending primary health care in Australia are less likely to have their risk factors for CV disease measured. For those at high risk for CV disease, young women are frequently less likely to receive appropriate treatment. Information on whether women (or men) are being undertreated in other aspects of CV management in Australia is lacking. My research aims to better understand why such differences exist and how best to provide cost-effective, sex-specific, strategies to improve survival from CV disease.

I will first quantify differences in the rates of death in women and men who have experienced CV disease using a large statewide dataset, and then explore the contributions of medical or surgical treatments and risk factor control on differences between the sexes for CV deaths. Finally, I will evaluate what modifications can be made to these factors that could provide the most cost-effective strategies to reducing CV death. The information gathered from this research aims to inform policy recommendations and is targeted at relevant government departments in Australia to address an important health issue so that both women and men are able to receive equitable, effective, targeted prevention and treatment strategies.

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