Improving Gender Equity in Genitourinary Oncology Research Grants With Zain Farooq, MD

At the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, Dr. Zain Farooq, Hematologist/Oncologist at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, presented a study investigating gender disparities in National Institutes of Health funding for genitourinary oncology research. In this follow-up interview, Dr. Farooq elaborates on the disparities experienced by women in obtaining genitourinary oncology research grants and shares the next steps for future studies addressing this issue.  

Oncology Data Advisor: So, why did you decide to investigate gender disparities in National Institutes of Health funding for genitourinary oncology research?

Zain Farooq, MD: Disparities exist in different fields of health care research. For example, gender disparities have recently been reported for cardiology research funding and for other fields too. That prompted us to investigate if a similar culture prevails in oncology, specifically genitourinary oncology, and we investigated that in this study.

Oncology Data Advisor: What were the results that the study found?

Dr. Farooq: In the study, we found that women received approximately one-fifth of the grants given for genitourinary oncology between 2018 and 2021—23.6% of grants awarded to women and 76.4% of grants awarded to men. This trend is suboptimal, as it shows that females are less likely to receive funds, and this therefore may result in lack of pursuance of academic careers.

Oncology Data Advisor: Do you have any next steps for the study or future research on this topic?

Dr. Farooq: Next, we will try to stratify data to see how many women enter the academic domain compared with men. We will also try to explore the rationale behind why women do not receive as many grants.

Oncology Data Advisor: Do you have any advice on additional ways to begin addressing the issue of gender disparities in research funding?

Dr. Farooq: By highlighting the issue and uncovering the root causes of it, we may address it in better ways that may result in more women pursuing academic careers and working on getting more grants, helping to establish equity.

About Dr. Farooq

Zain Farooq, MD, is a Hematologist/Oncologist at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. He has authored numerous publications on oncology research in peer-reviewed journals.

For More Information

Farooq MZ, Khan S, Zahid I, et al (2023). Gender disparities in the National Institutes of Health funding for genitourinary oncology. J Clin Oncol (ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium Abstracts), 41(suppl_6). Abstract 264. DOI:10.1200/JCO.2023.41.6_suppl

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor.


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