Evvy’s on a mission to close the gender health gap, and the health brand that’s revolutionizing how the female body is studied will be making history on June 10 with the debut of Equal Research Day. Evvy was co-founded by Stanford friends Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek, and the duo aims to make the brand the front-runner for equal research and equal care for women and people with vaginas.
Jain says she was shocked to discover that women weren’t required to be in clinical research in the U.S. until 1993.
“To this day, women are on average diagnosed four years later than men across 770 diseases,” Jain explains. “Much of our medical and scientific research is based largely or solely on the male body.”
One consequence of being left out of research? Women are more likely to die from heart attacks, react poorly to prescription drugs, and have pain and symptoms dismissed by doctors, according to Evvy. The brand is working with leading OB-GYNs and vaginal microbiome researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford, Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, and other institutions to discover how female biomarkers can be better utilized to diagnose, treat, and predict risk for various health conditions in the female body.
Evvy reports that 30% of women suffer from imbalances in the vaginal microbiome every year. Evvy also points out the links between the vaginal microbiome and infertility, sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition, preterm birth, cervical cancer progression, and other issues.
For several years, Jain and Bruzek battled symptoms related to vaginal health matters that doctors were incorrectly attributing to lack of water intake and other unrelated concerns.
“The future of medicine is precise and holistic healthcare,” Bruzek says. “It’s very personalized but also looks at your whole self, and I think that we can’t do that unless we truly understand what health and disease looks like in the female body. And in order to do that, we need to invest in equal research.”
Evvy’s team created Equal Research Day to bring awareness to disparities in women’s health and has released a line of Equal Research Day merchandise such as tote bags, baseball caps, stickers, and a poster benefiting the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR). The products feature Evvy’s logo and messages promoting funding, research, diagnosis, value, and equality.
The nonprofit Society for Women’s Health Research is focused on promoting research on biological sex differences in disease and raising awareness related to disparities in women’s health. SWHR works to increase inclusion and representation of women from diverse backgrounds across all scientific platforms.
Evvy’s team is working to build a world where female health is finally understood, where medical bias has no place, and everyone — including doctors, educators, lawmakers, researchers, and patients — can work together to close the gender health gap for good.
Jain and Bruzek say others can help close the gender health gap by getting involved in Equal Research Day and donating to the cause, consider joining a female-centric clinical trial, posting about Equal Research Day, and for women and people with vaginas to share their own experiences of inequality within the health care system on social media.
For every social post during the week of June 6 – June 12 that tags @evvy and #EqualResearchDay, Evvy will donate $1 to the Society for Women’s Health Research (up to $1,000).
Evvy is also promoting equal health care through its at-home vaginal microbiome testing kits. The test is a quick cotton swab of the vagina that’s then sent to a lab for analysis.
“We developed a first-of-its-kind at-home vaginal microbiome test. It’s the first commercially available test to use metagenomic sequencing in vaginal health testing,” Jain says. “Part of our mission is to finally bring the best technology to women’s health.”
Through Evvy and Equal Research Day, Bruzek says she hopes to change the standard of care for women and people with vaginas. “After all, without equal research there can never be equal care.” Bruzek concludes.
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