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International Women's Day 2023
Happy International Women’s Day! March 8th is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of self-identifying women worldwide.
Imagine a world with gender parity; a world where everyone is valued and celebrated. The focus of this year’s IWD campaign is to bring attention to the importance of gender equity over equality. In promoting gender equity, we acknowledge that not all women are the same. We advocate for women to be provided with opportunities and resources fitted to their circumstances to allow them to achieve equitable outcomes. This is especially important in women’s health research, where we recognize that women’s health concerns and access to healthcare resources vary. Likewise, not all women are provided with the same educational opportunities in pursuing certain careers, such as those in STEM. This International Women’s Day, we call on everyone to #EmbraceEquity and join us in our continued fight for gender equity.
The WHRC strongly believes that women and girls everywhere deserve to live healthy lives! To demonstrate our commitment to supporting women’s health, we are joining Organon Canada and giving our staff a paid day off on March 8th to care for their health.
This year, the WHRC is also joining forces with the Women’s Health Research Institute and the Gynecological Cancer Initiative to showcase some amazing women at the forefront of women’s health research and highlight resources and events to help you celebrate International Women's Day. Be sure to check out their websites for additional resources and tools!
Women in the Spotlight
Introducing one of our newest cluster co-leads, Dr. Elizabeth Rideout
Dr. Rideout is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on investigating how male-female differences in cellular metabolism leads to sex differences in body size, stress responses and aging.
We chatted with Dr. Rideout to learn more about how she works towards #EmbracingEquity and improving women’s health. We asked her about the role of equity in her work, her decision to focus on sex differences in metabolism and the impact she hopes to have on women's health. See her full response below!
"Achieving equity in health outcomes requires work across many different spheres of knowledge. In my lab, we address one dimension of equity by focusing on biological sex as a variable. The overarching goal of our work is to gain a highly detailed understanding of metabolic regulation in each sex. The reason we focus on metabolic regulation is that metabolic diseases show significant differences between males and females (e.g. disease risk, progression, treatment efficacy). Because of the historic and ongoing underrepresentation of females in biomedical research, we aim to improve women’s health by advancing knowledge of how biological sex affects metabolic regulation in both physiological and pathological contexts. This information represents a critical first step toward developing sex-informed strategies for metabolic disease prevention and treatment."
Spotlight on our leadership team
WHRC members, like our leadership team, include a wide variety of amazing hard-working women who have made significant contributions in their respective fields, and continue to pave the way for more equity in women’s health. We are so proud of all of the women who lead our organization as well as our members for their achievements in the workplace and beyond!
Interested in learning more about women’s health? Be sure to check out these upcoming events
When: June 14th, 2023, 9-12:30 PM PST
Mark your calendars, because. we're co-hosting a trainee conference with the Partnership for Women's Health Research Canada this June. Keep an eye out for both the call for abtracts and registration, which opens up on March 20th, 2023. Supporting trainees in their educational journeys is an important part of ensuring that the next generation of women’s health researchers are on track to promote equity and gender parity!
When: March 8th, 2023, 6-9 PM PST
Get excited about this event from ScienceUpFirst! Join them on March 8, 2023 for a thought-provoking conversation on hormones and women’s health with renowned OB/GYN, Dr. Jen Gunter, and a panel of special guest experts including our very own Dr. Lori Brotto. Get ready to separate fact from fiction as they dive into the latest research and dispel common myths about women’s health and hormones. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a lively discussion with some of the leading voices in the field.
When: March 23rd, 2023, 10-11:45 AM PST
This symposium is part of our virtual "Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health" series, which brings attention to the brain health issues that women+ face and encourage the medical, scientific and commercial communities to address them. In this session, we will hear from three renowned speakers who will discuss pertinent topics related to evaluating research on hormonal contraceptives and its' relation to cognition, empathy, and social-emotional brain functions. Attendees will also get a chance to join the conversation during a Q&A period to close the session. Dr. Gillian Eintstein will moderate the event and facilitate conversation.
When: March 30th, 2023, 10-12 PM PST
This is the last event in the virtual "Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health" series. In this session, registrants and speakers from the conference will be invited to participate in the co-creation of a Blueprint for Future Research on Hormonal Contraceptives and Women’s Health, followed by an award ceremony for trainee poster presentations, and closing remarks from Dr. Liisa Galea. During this session we want everyone to share their vision for what the next steps should be to advance knowledge around hormonal contraceptives and their impact on brain health and how we can use what we currently know to make a meaningful positive impact on women's health today.
When: March 31st, 2023, 11-12 PM PST
The Trainee Presentation Series will feature short, blitz-style presentations by trainees about their undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral research projects. The event is an excellent opportunity to learn about what trainees are working on, join an engaging discussion about women’s health research, and network with peers. Everyone is welcome!
Topics covered in this upcoming session include: cervical and endometrial cancer, early pregnancy assessments and sex differences in brain activity.
When: March 31st, 2023, 9-1 PM PST
Where: Canadian Cancer Society Boardroom (565 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC) or via Zoom
Researchers, clinicians, healthcare leaders, and patient-partners that are in the gynecological cancer circle of care are invited to attend this series of interactive networking events that will review current evidence about survivorship care and explore opportunities for collaborative initiatives based in British Columbia. Join the GCI on Friday, March 31st from 9:00am - 1:00pm for the last seminar in the Gynecologic Cancer Survivorship series–Returning to Work, Fatigue, and Exercise! This session will feature presentations by Maureen Parkinson and Dr. Kristin Campbell.
Individuals are welcome to attend the event in person at the Canadian Cancer Society Boardroom (565 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC) or via Zoom. Sessions will be taking place from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, coffee and lunch will be provided. Please note that space is limited, individuals will receive an email confirming their in-person registration for the session(s) they selected along with detailed information about the event once their registration form has been reviewed.
When: Bi-weekly on Mondays, at 12 PM PST
The Women’s Health Seminar Series features multidisciplinary research on women’s health. The goal of the series is to provide multidisciplinary training and mentorship to faculty, students, and community members across a broad range of women’s health research topics. Speakers will present their research regarding the biological, psychological, behavioural, economic and social impacts on women’s health outcomes through a 45 minute talk and engage with attendees in an interactive 15 minute question and answer period. The series is open to anyone interested in attending!
Register for our March 20th session "Scaling up Psychological Treatments for Perinatal Women Worldwide," with Dr. Daisy Singla here.
Read more about upcoming and previous seminars here.
Have a look at these resources to help you learn more about women’s health and gender equity.
Introducing the WHRC Expert Database!
The WHRC is excited to announce the launch of our new Expert Database. Using this new tool, you will be able to learn more about the women’s health experts in our organization and access their contact info with ease! Whether you are looking for advice or support in your research endeavors, in need of an expert to comment on a specific women’s health topic or searching for a supervisor, our Expert Database has something to offer.
BC Women's Health Foundation (BCWHF) is a philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women's health. In this edition of our Women’s Health Blog, the BC Women’s Health Foundation speaks on how they work to incorporate the best EDI practices in their work. The BCWHF works to help ensure women have equitable access to the highest quality healthcare when, where, and how they need it.
Read more here
In this edition of our Women’s Health Blog, the WHRC spoke to Chelsey Perry, who is focusing her master’s work and research with the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity (CGSHE) to examine social and structural factors that influence health access of Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people. Perry has been working on several projects aiming to make a change in a colonial health system, and to amplify Indigenous voices.
Read more here
The Canadian Women’s Foundation shares reports, resources and tools that are designed to help strengthen the capacity of organizations serving women, girls, and gender-diverse people. They also bring together experts to share best-practices and address emerging challenges. Here you can find tools and resources on gender-based violence, girl’s empowerment and more!
Read more here
This workshop is a part of a series that will bring you practical guidance about how to incorporate sex and gender considerations into human and animal research throughout each phase of the research process—from developing your research methodology, collecting data, analyzing data and disseminating research. Our “How to SGBA” workshop series was developed by trainee, faculty and community experts that are a part of the WHRC’s SGBA Working Group.
Four seasoned academics joined us as guest speakers for this event and used their own research as case studies to demonstrate how they approached and conquered the challenges of incorporating gender into their research methodologies and data collection practices. The event kicked off with short presentations from each speaker to introduce you to their work and revealed key decisions they had to make and tools that helped them along the way. Speakers engaged in a panel discussion, moderated by our event host Dr. Gillian Einstein, to critically examine current trends in sex and gender research.
WHRC Co-leads Dr. Lori Brotto and Dr. Liisa Galea published a commentary on gender inclusivity in women's health research.
Access the article here
The WHRC, WHRI and GCI are excited to share with you a few podcast episodes from the Women’s Health Interrupted, @WomensResearch and GOSH podcasts. Check out the episodes listed below to learn more about the importance of #EmbracingEquity!
This student-led podcast explores women’s health across four overarching and multidisciplinary themes: general health and wellness, brain health, socio-cultural determinants of health as well as politics, policy and advocacy. Each season, a new set of student hosts will explore diverse topics in women’s health research alongside guests including scientists, students, and community groups. Through scientific inquiry we strive to amplify women’s health research and bring you episodes on a variety of topics from how genetics might influence disease risk, to how periods and menopause may affect health, and to how income inequality is gendered and impacts health, and so much more!
In this introductory episode, co-hosts Rebecca and Sidney give a preview for what to expect from this season and facilitate an engaging conversation between two changemakers in women’s health research.
Dr. Liisa Galea and Dr. Victoria Gay, co-authors of “The Research Divide”, join us to discuss medical research bias and how this impacts women’s health. This episode will provide you with a better understanding of the women’s health field and how it is both important and distinct from sex differences research.
Rebecca and Sidney sit down to talk with Dr. Jade Boydto discuss the gendered impacts of drug use and drug policy. They go over some of the ways in which researchers, harm reduction services, and state services could all better support women who use drugs. Dr. Boyd also highlights the intersectional nature of drug use stigma and the need to incorporate research into drug policy.
In the second episode of our Field Trip mini series, the team talks to Dr. Veena Sriram about the role of power structures, such as gender, in global healthcare systems and policies. She highlights the importance of interdisciplinary study between public health and social sciences to better critically analyze healthcare systems.
This podcast explores the latest in women's health research in BC! There is much more to research than results – there are rich and fascinating stories to be told about how scientists discover a gap in knowledge, how they collaborate, why they choose to pursue a line of inquiry, or why a research user should care about their work. As part of the WHRI's Strategic Plan, this podcast aims to address their third strategic priority, which is to increase and promote research translation, implementation, and communication.
Please note that this episode contains discussion of gender based violence, which may be triggering or upsetting. In this episode, Drs. Jila Mirlashari, Ann Pederson, and Janet Lyons discuss their work which aims to understand barriers to and develop interventions for healthcare providers to address gender based violence in the perinatal period. Learn more about this project: Gender-based violence during perinatal care: the experience of women and healthcare providers.
This episode features Karen Mason, Dr. Paul van Donkelaar, and Quinn Boyle, interviewed by Dr. Kathryn Dewar. Learn more about the SOAR Project.
Trigger warning: Please note that this episode discusses intimate partner violence and brain injury, and may be upsetting.
Tori Ford, Founder and Executive Director of Medical Herstory, talks with Nicole Prestley, Knowledge Translation Manager, and Melissa Nelson, Communications Coordinator, about the power of storytelling, lived expertise, and using social media to eliminate medical stigma.
The GOSH Podcast is a podcast dedicated to creating an open space for real and evidence based discussions on gynecologic cancers. GOSH stands for the Gynecologic Oncology Sharing Hub (GOSH) and is inspired by a patient partner and cervical cancer survivor, Nicole Keay. This podcast is co-hosted by Nicole Keay (a patient partner) and Stephanie Lam (GCI Research Coordinator). On this podcast, they share the stories of gynecologic cancer patients and survivors and hear from researchers and clinicians who are working behind the scenes to improve the lives of patients with gynecologic cancers.
To start off Season 3 of the GOSH Podcast, the team shared the story of a new educational resource for gynecologic cancer patients entitled "Gynecologic Cancers: Your Journey". This resource was developed in partnership between the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative and BC Cancer to help support gynecologic cancer patients in finding easy-to-understand information and resources after being diagnosed with gynecologic cancer.
In this episode, the team welcomed Dr. Melanie Altas. Melanie speaks about the struggles gyne cancer survivors face with sexual health. She also outlined useful resources and tools around sexual health available for patients as well as for healthcare providers.