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Announcement: Technology for Women's health in a life span perspective minor
We are excited to announce that the new 'Technology for Women’s health in a life span perspective' minor, closely linked to the cross-faculty Technology for Women’s Health research pillar, will be offered for the first time in bloc 1B (November– February) of 2024/2025 at the UT. The minor will be a 15 ECTS minor, and is divided in three learning components:
- Womens health, illness & life events
- Technology, design, behaviour change and research skills for women's health
- Interdisciplinary collaboration for real-world women's health problems
Aim of the minor
In this minor module, students will be sensibilized to approach women’s health needs across the life cycle with a focus on technology development and gender-sensitive design, in an interdisciplinary education environment. The minor offers a unique approach to unmet health needs throughout the life span, illustrating how new technologies can offer opportunities to address health needs by taking a totality of health experiences into account, that include social and economic factors, the influence of culture, psychology, access to health resources, experiences of health and illness, and interactions with the health care system. Through a large variety of real-life examples of medical technologies, students are encouraged to explore how technological research and development, clinical practice, health-related behaviour (change), and disease management are required to make a decisive step forward in women’s health. The novel technology and design focus of this minor equips students to explore how the influence of sex and gender in device development could contribute to using the full potential of medical applications and their uptake. This requires a re-evaluation of the assumption that similar diagnostics, medical, and psychological treatments will work alike for men and women and will, therefore, require a similar technological solution.
This minor is open for:
- Third year Bachelor students from all UT faculties and programmes
- Third year Bachelor students from all Dutch universities
- Second- or third-year international Bachelor students
- All Master students from UT programs
No specific knowledge is required to apply for this minor. For more information about the minor, please contact Nikki van de Veerdonk.
Anique Bellos-Grob to receive Academy Early Career Award for the use of innovative imaging in pelvic floor problems
Congratulations to Anique Bellos-Grob who received an Academy Early Career Award for her research on innovative imaging in pelvic floor problems such as prolapse. This award recognizes researchers in the Netherlands at the start of their careers with innovative, original ideas. Bellos-Grob focuses on Multi-Modality Medical Imaging in urogynaecology. In her research, she uses 4D ultrasound and a tilting MRI scanner to examine pelvic floor complaints in patients while they are lying down and in an upright position, an entirely new diagnostic approach.
To determine where the pelvic floor symptoms come from, women are physically examined in the lying position. This is very strange because the complaints of prolapse and incontinence are mainly revealed in the standing position. This is why Bellos - Grob uses a standing MRI scanner in her research, so she can image the prolapse in the natural position. "We are the only ones in the Netherlands who have access to this tilting MRI," Bellos - Grob explains. Little is still known worldwide about the added value of diagnostics and possibly therapy in women with pelvic floor complaints.
Her double appointment at the University of Twente and ZGT in Hengelo/Almelo puts her in direct contact with women who are the focus of her research and allows her to test the expertise she is developing in Twente in clinical practice.
Sex and gender in Research | Mobiele Bridage ZonMw
The importance of paying attention to sex and gender in health and disease has been demonstrated for years. Unfortunately, this is not yet or insufficiently taken into account in research and healthcare education, with major consequences for healthcare and society.
Targeting this issue, the Technology for Women's Health pillar has joined the participatory ZonMw project 'Mobile brigades for structural implementation of the gender dimension in biomedical research', in which health researchers and experts join forces and knowledge and are trained in putting gender-sensitive research on the agenda of policymakers and subsidy providers. Running from February 2023 to February 2025, six independent teams consisting of six experts and researchers work together to integrate sex and gender into research, in conversation with patients/clients, researchers, subsidy providers, and policymakers. The project aims to develop a network consisting of people whose lives are affected by current sex and gender research (patients, clients), researchers, policymakers and expertise in the field of sex and gender in research policy among its key figures, to influence research policy in such a way that sex- and gender-sensitive research is promoted. More information on the project can be found here. If you are interested in joining the project, please contact Nikki van de Veerdonk.
Rathenau Institute Report on health technology specifically for women, femtech and the health gap
In it's recent publication, Rathenau Institute examines if health technology specifically for women can reduce the disparities in health and care between men and women. The report includes contributions from Dr. Naomi Jacobs, who's research at UT focuses on ethical design of reproductive health technologies that improve women's health and wellbeing.
International indexes show that women worldwide have poorer health than men and less access to health services and medicines. Technology developers are responding to this gap with apps, products and services specifically for women. Apps that track ovulation and menstrual cycles or blood tests to better diagnose heart failure in women - these are examples of health technology specifically for women. This FemTech promises to contribute positively to women's health and fill the gaps in medical care.
ZonMw Gender in Research Fellowship 2023
The ZonMw Gender and Health Program will provide Gender in Research Fellowships for PhD-students and post-doctoral researchers to attend the Gender and Health course and participate in the Gender in Research workshops at the Erasmus Summer Programme from 14-18 August 2023.
- The deadline for applications is 25 April 2023
International Women's Day | Festive get-together on women's health throughout the lifespan
To celebrate International Women's Day, the Technology for Women's Health research pillar organized an afternoon session on women-specific conditions, gender and sex in research and personalized health in the TechMed Centre on March 8. A large mixed crowd from inside and outside the University of Twente received information about the latest research and technological developments around four health topics:
- Vitality and fatigue, presented by Christina Bode
- Breast cancer, presented by Rianne Bulthuis
- Pelvic organ prolapse, presented by Anique Bellos-Grob and Annemarie van der Steen
- Menstruation and ovulation, presented by Danique Hofstee
The interactive meeting provided researchers with an opportunity to present their work on women's health and gather new input and ideas from the audience through a wide range of activities and discussion.
👉 More information on the event in this U-Today article (in Dutch) ‘Pijnlijk hè, zo’n mammografie’ - U-Today (utoday.nl)
👉 An interview with chair of the Technology for Women's Health program Sabine Siesling is featured in Tubantia (In Dutch) Vrouwenlichaam voor veel artsen onbekend terrein, zeggen Twentse onderzoekers: ‘Dit kan zo niet langer’ | Enschede | tubantia.nl
PIONEERS IN HEALTH CARE INNOVATION FUND: awarded Women's health projects
The Pioneers in Health Care Innovation Fund, the University of Twente, Saxion, MST, ZGT and Deventer Hospital promotes bottom-up collaboration between the world of new technologies and medical practice with a view to facilitating the introduction of innovative technology in the clinic. Two projects targeting technology for women's health were awarded:
Functional Ultrasound Measurements of the Pelvic Floor and Anal Muscles: a Explorative Study: This project aims to develop, optimize and clinically implement a functional ultrasound tool (FEM-tool) to quantitate the pelvic floor muscle function. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is not effective for all patients with pelvic organ prolapse. The FEM-tool quantifies the effectiveness at the start of the physiotherapy. This new tool will allow several pelvic floor disciplines, physiotherapists, gynaecologists and surgeons, to measure the pelvic floor function and incorporate this in their patient care.
‘Patients-like-me’ shared decision making dashboard for breast cancer treatment: Of all women, 15% will develop breast cancer. Treatment choice is now mainly based on prognosis, while long-term outcomes, such as pain or fatigue, should also be considered when choosing the most appropriate treatment option. At present, these outcome parameters are insufficiently transparent for patients and professionals. This project aims to further develop an innovative digitally data-driven Patients-Like-Me (PLM) dashboard to support and personalize decisions about breast cancer care together. This includes both prognosis and real-world long-term outcomes.
Interview Anique Bellos-Grob: pessary fitting for pelvic organ prolapse
An interview with Dr. Anique Bellos-Grob on pessaries (mechanical devices) for managing pelvic organ prolapse in women is featured in magazine Bekkenbodem op de Kaart. Bekkenbodem op de Kaart is the infomagazine from Stichting Bekkenbodem4All. Bellos-Grob discusses her work on identifying the different parameters associated with unsuccessful pessary fitting for pelvic organ prolapse, and her efforts working towards personalized, sustainable, patient-friendly and time-saving methods to treat pelvic organ prolapse.
Technology for Women's health in the media: Twente Board
An interview with professor Sabine Siesling on the Technology for Women's Health pillar is featured by Twente Board. Twente Board is a unique collaboration between entrepreneurs, educational institutions and the government. As chair of the Technology for Women's Health pillar, Siesling discusses the various areas of women's health concerns that the pillar embraces and the unique position that the University of Twente holds with regard to women's health, technology and personalized health and health care.
UT Campus Magazine
An interview with Sabine Siesling, Anique Bellos Grob and Nienke Bosschaart on the Technology for Women's Health pillar at the UT is featured in 2022 second edition of CAPMUS, the magazine for alumni and partners of the UT. The various research themes within the pillar, the necessity for medical investment, research, innovation and collaboration and the importance of developing new data strategies and technology for and with women are among the topics addressed.