Trainee Conferences

Women's+ Health Research Trainee Conference

June 14, 2023, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm

Women's+ Health Research Trainee Conference poster

We are collaborating with the Partnership for Women's Health Research Canada (PWHR) to showcase new research on women's+ health from diverse fields. People across the gender spectrum benefit from research dedicated to women’s+ health. PWHR and the WHRC uses the term women to refer to all people who identify as women. We use trans and non-binary as umbrella terms to refer to people with a wide range of gender identities that are different from the gender they were assigned at birth. 

The Women's+ Health Trainee Research Conference is an opportunity for trainees to showcase their research on women’s+ health through virtual oral and poster presentations. It seeks to engage trainees across a wide variety of fields, including biomedical, clinical, health systems services, population and public health, social sciences, and more. We strongly encourage participation from individuals who are addressing equity issues in women’s+ health, as well as projects that use quantitative, qualitative or mix methods!

The overall objective of this conference is to build knowledge translation capacity in trainees, facilitate new research connections, and disseminate multidisciplinary women's health research.

This conference will also include an expert panel discussion where panelists share what they wish they had known about working in the field of women's+ health, and what it is like to be a women’s+ health research leader and scientist. Attending this session will help trainees prepare themselves for a career in the women’s+ health field. 

Register here *This conference is free for all to attend!


9:00-9:05—Welcoming Remarks

9:05-9:50—Expert Panel Discussion (7 minute informal presentations followed by a 20 minute moderated discussion)

9:50-10:35—Oral Presentation: Session 1

  • Talk 1: 9:50-10:05: Alexandra Broulliard
  • Talk 2: 10:05-10:20: Kaitlin Zaki-Metias
  • Talk 3: 10:20-10:35: Md Saiful, Alam

10:35-10:45—Break / Intro to

10:45-11:30—Poster Session via

11:30-12:15—Oral Presentation: Session 2

  • Talk 1: 11:30-11:45: Bryn Stagg
  • Talk 2: 11:45-12:00: Catriona Hippman
  • Talk 3: 12:00-12:15: Meejin Park

12:15-12:25—Audience Q&A

12:25-12:30—Award Ceremony & Closing Remarks

Call for Abstracts

We encourage trainees that are conducting research from any discipline that is relevant to women’s+ health to submit an abstract (up to 250 words) by April 16th at 11:59pm PST. Unofficial proof of registration, such as a screenshot of your transcript, will be used to confirm enrollment at any university worldwide. The top 6 abstracts will be invited to give an oral presentation, as well as a poster presentation. All other eligible abstracts will be invited to give a poster presentation. Sucessful applicants will also get a chance to win one of 5 awards. 

Submit an abstract


We will be giving out $275 of awards to trainees with top notch posters and oral presentations. Sponsored by the CIHR IGH Sex and Gender Science Trainee Network, these awards will recognize outstanding work that contributes to our understanding of sex and/or gender in health outcomes. Oral presentations will be judged by 5 multidisciplinary experts.

Oral Presentation 1st place $100
Oral Presentation 2nd place $75
Oral Presentation 3rd place $50
People's Choice Poster Award $25
People's Choice Poster Award $25



Dr. Liisa Galea

Lead, Women's Health Research Cluster

Liisa Galea leads the WHRC and is the inaugural womenmind Treliving Family Chair in Women’s Mental Health, Senior Scientist at CAMH, the Principal Editor of Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, the President of Organization for the Study of Sex Differences and co-Vice-President of Canadian Organisation for Sex and Gender Research. She serves on advisory boards, editorial boards, and peer review panels internationally and nationally. Dr. Galea is a tireless advocate for women’s+ health research and for sex and gender-based analyses to improve mental health for all. My research investigates how sex hormones influence brain health and disease in both females and males. The main goal of my research is to improve brain health for women and men by examining the influence of sex and sex hormones on normal and diseased brain states such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. 


Dr. Lori Brotto

Executive Director, Women’s Health Research Initiative, Executive Committee PWHR

Dr. Lori Brotto is the Executive Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute located in Vancouver, British Columbia, a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia, a registered psychologist and co-lead of the WHRC. Dr. Brotto also holds a Canada Research Chair in Women’s Sexual Health and is the Director of UBC Sexual Health Research. Her research primarily focuses on developing and testing psychological and mindfulness-based interventions for women with sexual desire and arousal difficulties and women with chronic genital pain.


Dr. Rulan Parekh

Vice President of Academics, Women's College Hospital, Executive Committee PWHR

Dr. Rulan Parekh is the Vice President, Academics at Women’s College Hospital. In her role, Dr. Parekh leads the advancement of the hospital’s goal to build sustainable, world-class research, innovation and education. Dr. Parekh is a clinician-scientist, and an international leader in clinical epidemiology and translational research in kidney disease. She is also a staff nephrologist at Women’s College Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children, as well as a Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine in the Departments of Medicine, Paediatrics, Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management Evaluation at the University of Toronto.


Judges will be asked to review abstracts related to their area of expertise and judge the oral presentations at the conference. Attending the full conference is welcome, but not required. 


Dr. Elizabeth Onyango

Elizabeth Onyango is an Assistant Professor of Healthy and Sustainable Communities in the School of Public Health, University of Alberta. She holds a PhD in Health Geography of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and a Master's of Public Health, Epidemiology and Population Health of MasenoUniversity in Kenya. Elizabeth’s current research interest focuses on food security, nutrition and social inequalities in health and wellbeing of immigrants in Canadian cities and cities in the global South. Her work also extends into intersections of gender, gender-based violence and household food security and the associated health outcomes in women and children. Dr. Onyango is a member of the Women and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI).


Dr. Hilary Brown

Hilary Brown, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Health & Society and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She is cross-appointed to the Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and is an Adjunct Scientist at Women’s College Hospital and ICES. Dr. Brown holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Disability & Reproductive Health. Her research program examines maternal and child health across the life course, with a focus on populations with disabilities and chronic illness, health equity, and the social determinants of health.


Dr. Holly Hunsberger

Dr. Hunsberger received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from West Virginia University. She then went on to pursue her PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Miranda Reed at West Virginia University. There she studied glutamate’s role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using novel microelectrode array technology. After receiving her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, she moved to New York City for her postdoctoral position under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Denny at Columbia University. There her work focused on how the metabolome differs between age-related cognitive decline and AD and how anxiety impacts AD progression. Her current research interests focus on dissecting the effects of anxiety and anatomical sex on the neural circuits that are altered in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2019, she was awarded a K99/R00 (K99AG059953) entitled, “The sex-specific impact of anxiety on Alzheimer’s disease progression,” from the National Institute of Aging (NIA). She aims to understand why females are more susceptible to AD and to create personalized therapeutics for males and females. She is working to bridge the gap between mouse and human studies of AD by partnering with clinical researchers to ask novel questions using big datasets.


Dr. Cindy Barha

Dr. Barha is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Barha is a translational neuroscientist with training in behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, and neuroendocrinology. Her research examines how genetics and hormone-related life events interact to alter cognitive and brain trajectories across the lifespan and to determine how these factors affect pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment efficacy in older age. Currently, Dr. Barha is examining sex differences in the effect of exercise on brain health in older adults. She is currently funded by the Alzheimer’s Association (USA) and Brain Canada.


Dr. Martha Paynter

Dr. Paynter is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of New Brunswick, where her clinical teaching and research focus on the intersection of reproductive health and the criminal justice system.  She is the Affiliate Scientist for the Nova Scotia Women’s Choice Clinic, an Affiliate Scientist with IWK Health, and a member of the Contraceptive & Abortion Research Team (CART-GRAC) and WHRI. She is also the founder and past chair of Wellness Within: An Organization for Health and Justice, the only organization in Canada dedicated to advancing reproductive justice for people experiencing criminalization and the author of Abortion to Abolition: Reproductive Health and Justice in Canada, which was published in Spring 2022 by Fernwood Publishing.

Questions about this conference can be directed to our Event & Communications Assistant (Avani Dhunna) at 

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First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.

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