SERVICES

The Center provides a space where scientists can meet and work together on specific, cutting-edge aspects of gender biology, and translate these findings to the care of patients, as well as to the education of professionals, students and the general public. Research includes:

  • Basic biology of gender/sexual development
  • Psychosexual development
  • Biology and health of sexual minorities
  • Gender differences in immune disorders
  • Gender differences in neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Gender-based pharmacogenomics
  • Sociocultural gender differences and effect on health care access
  • Ethics and public policies on gender issues

The research series will study the etiology of gender differences in all aspects of health, health care, social interaction and development. The specific fields above have been chosen because of the large body of expertise already present on campus.

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

We have pioneered a cluster course entitled “Sex: from Biology to Gendered Society” that addressed the following:

  • Basic biological sex differences
  • Biological bases of gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Differences in risk factors and frequencies of disease
  • Differences in social and cultural responses to disease
  • Inequalities in access to health care
  • We plan to create a new course in medical school curriculum on gender-based medicine

We provide an educational reference and expertise center for health care professionals on gender-based health care and gender biology. We also aim to create public awareness of gender differences at all aforementioned levels.

PUBLIC POLICY RESOURCES

We provide a forum about the following issues:

  • Ethical issues in gender-based medicine and gender discrimination
  • Policy for access to Health Care
  • Incorporation of gender differences in standard health care practices
  • Policy guidelines on sexual identity, gender identity, and intersex

PATIENT RESOURCES

We provide the following services to patients at UCLA Medical Center:

  • Coordinating clinical trials involving gender-based protocols
  • Clinic for intersex and transgender patients

SCHOLARLY EXPERTISE

UCLA is in a unique position to host the center. The academic expertise is already present and the scientific environment is outstanding. Most of the investigators involved in gender research at UCLA are federally funded, denoting the highest level of productivity and expertise. The Center will provide access to recent scientific advancements from the Center and its collaborators, accommodating a space for interested individuals to browse the profiles and accomplishments of specialists in various fields dedicated to the Center’s mission and endeavor. The accessibility of the Center through a web-based forum will allow individuals of any demographic with internet access, to become familiar with the scientific discourse on gender biology, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The Center will also provide them with the opportunity to open up dialogue via an on-line forum. Web technologies will also allow data and resource sharing between professionals. In the era of genomics, the study of genetic information requires world-class bioinformatics technology (already a strength at UCLA) which will be further developed at the Center. The Center will also organize a yearly meeting focused on various scientific perspectives on gender. The meeting will be targeted in part to professionals, but also to the general public.

SOCIETAL QUESTIONS

The Center will also explore the societal questions posed by our genetic research. Some of these questions include the following:

  • What is the respective influence of biological and environmental factors on sex differences?
  • Should scientific knowledge about sexual orientation influence societal attitudes toward sexual minorities?
  • Should it be taken into consideration when laws about the right to marry are being proposed?
  • Does research on the determinants of sexual behavior increase the risk of providing tools for selective abortions or of modifying the sexual orientation of individuals?
  • Should such research, that may result in the prediction of human behavior (in particular sexual behavior) be avoided by scientists?
  • What is the role of scientists in the utilization of the knowledge that they generate?

All these questions will be addressed as part of our general reflection. The social impact of our research on sexual preference in humans is tremendous and requires a thoughtful examination.