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Season 1

Season 1 is hosted by Rebecca Baron and Sidney Klips-Hryciuk and recorded via Zoom on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people.

Season 1 is now complete and available to listen on all major platforms

Episode 1: “Medical Research Bias: Why Focusing on Sex Differences is Not the Full Answer for Better Women’s Health” 

“The majority of studies [both preclinical and clinical] don’t look at sex diffferences or don’t include females in the design…” - Dr. Liisa Galea

Welcome to Women’s Health Interrupted! A UBC Women’s Health Research Cluster podcast. In this introductory episode, Rebecca and Sidney give a preview for what to expect from our season and host a special conversation between two changemakers in women’s health research.

Dr. Liisa Galea and Dr. Victoria Gay co-authors of “The Research Divide” (which was published by the BC Women’s Health Foundation) 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.

Links to the resources mentioned in this episode:

Guest Biographies:

Dr. Liisa Galea leads the Women's Health Research Cluster and is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Health Advisor to VPRI, a member of the Centre for Brain Health and a Scientific Advisor at Women’s Health Research Institute at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Galea has her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario and was a Postdoctoral fellow from The Rockefeller University.Her research investigates how sex hormones influence brain health and disease in both females and males. The main goal of her 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. Victoria Gay is the Senior Director of strategy at BC Women’s Health Foundation. Victoria has a PhD from University College London and 15 years’ experience in research, strategy and innovation, across multiple sectors. Since joining the Foundation in 2018, Victoria has been instrumental in driving the BC Women's Health Foundation from a foundation that served BC Women's Hospital to a provincial foundation dedicated to improving women's health. She leads the Research, Innovation, Education + Awareness portfolios and associated strategic partnerships, and has been heavily involved in the Foundation's advocacy efforts these past few years to encourage transformational investments in research, policy and practice.

Additional thanks to Tallinn Splinter, Alex Lukey, Dr. Travis Hodges, Katherine Moore, and Stephen Gillis.

Episode 2: "How has COVID-19 Impacted Women's Health?"

“One thing that COVID-19 has done is it has brought attention to sex and gender like we’ve never seen it before...” - Dr. Rosemary Morgan

In this episode, Sidney and Rebecca sit down with gender, intersectionality, and health systems expert, Dr. Rosemary Morgan. We dig into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everything from women's physical and mental health to their professional lives. We also look at how the pandemic has fueled setbacks on gender equality initiatives within our health systems. Plus, Dr. Morgan breaks down what the science has to say about the pandemic's longer term health impacts, where we're still waiting for answers, and what we can do moving forward. 

Links to the resources mentioned in this episode:

Links to further reading material:

Guest Biography:

Dr. Rosemary Morgan is an Associate Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a gender, intersectionality and health systems expert that also leads the Sex and Age Differences in Immunity to Influenza Project.

Episode 3: "What you Didn't Know About Women's Brain Health"

"Educating women about their own personal risks...is really critical to understanding ways to mitigate risk of [clinical] Disease”- Dr. Sherri Hayden

In this episode, Sidney speaks to Dr Sherri Hayden, a clinical neuropsychologist and assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. Dr Hayden speaks about the increased risk of neurological and mental health issues among women and the differences in the way that symptoms of these manifest in comparison with men, as well as the lack of clinical research reflecting these sex differences. Dr Hayden also emphasises how important it is for women to self-advocate when speaking to health care personnel, and for women in a caregiver position to look after their own mental health and wellbeing. 

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest biography:

Dr. Sherri Hayden is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor with the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She has served in the clinic for Alzehimer’s Disease & Related Disorders since 1993. Dr. Hayden applies functional and lifestyle medicine principles throughout her clinical practice, serving a variety of neurological populations such as those with mild cognitive impairment, neurodegenerative disorders and traumatic brain injury.

Episode 4: “We Need More Conversation about Perimenopause and Menopause”

“Hormone replacement therapy should be the first line treatment for perimenopause for the vast majority of women” - Amanda Thebe

In this episode, Sidney and Rebecca sit down with personal trainer, nutrition coach, and best-selling author, Amanda Thebe, to talk about all things menopause. We get into some of the major misconceptions and research gaps around menopause and perimenopause and how it impacts women’s health. We also look at what resources are out there and outline some steps women can take to make this major transition as smooth as possible. 

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest Biography:

Amanda Thebe is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and best-selling author of “Menopocalypse: How I Learned To Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!”. Amanda is a force to be reckoned with, demystifying hormone replacement therapy, hormone-related stress, and weight gain to an international audience. Outside of her work, you can find her socializing with her friends and family or having the occasional Netflix binge session.

Episode 5: "How Does Intimate Partner Violence Impact Women's Brain Health?"

“ Once a women has experienced a brain injury and IPV she is at much higher risk of experiencing another brain injury because she is now is dealing with some cognitive challenges and all the things that come along with a brain injury…” - Karen Mason

Content Warning: discussions of partner violence and traumatic brain injury.  

If you feel unsafe in your home or relationship and need support, visit the following websites to discover shelters and other supports that could help you transition to a life free of abuse. If you are in immediate danger, call your country’s emergency line such as 911 in North America or 112 in Europe.

In this episode, Sidney and Rebecca sit down with Karen Mason and Dr. Paul van Donkelaar, co-founders of SOAR, or Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research - a multi-disciplinary research collaboration between University of British Columbia Okanagan and Kelowna Women’s Shelter. We talk about some of the many ways that intimate partner violence (IPV) can have long term impacts on women’s health - in particular the effects of traumatic brain injury. 

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest Biographies:

Karen Mason is co-founder and director of community practice for SOAR, former executive director of Kelowna Women’ Shelter, and executive director at Third Space Charity which provides free supportive care counselling to young adults in Kelowna, B.C., Canada. A seasoned and passionate non-profit leader, communicator, and community collaborator, Karen brings 30+ years of career experience to her work advocating for survivors of intimate partner violence, (or IPV) people experiencing homelessness, and promoting a mentally healthy community. 

Dr. Paul van Donkelaar is co-founder and principal investigator for SOAR. He is also a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences and Associate Vice Principal, Research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, B.C., Canada. His program of research focuses on the basic mechanisms of sensorimotor control and the cerebrovascular, neurocognitive, and sensorimotor aspects of brain dysfunction resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since 2016, he has started to focus his research on better understanding brain dysfunction in women who have experienced intimate partner violence-related TBI in collaboration with the Kelowna Women’s Shelter through the SOAR project.

Episode 6: "Advocating for a National Perinatal Mental Health Strategy"

In this episode, Sidney and Rebecca sit down with Jaime Charlebois and Patricia Tomasi, co-Founders of the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, which advocates for the mental health treatment of all individuals during preconception, pregnancy and the postpartum periods. We get into the topic of perinatal mental health and how advocacy platforms can be used to inform policy, and to improve perinatal mental health care. 

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest biographies:

Jaime Charlebois is the Perinatal Mood Disorder Coordinator at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Regional Volunteer Coordinator for Postpartum Support International. She is also the Co-Founder & Research Director of the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, a non-profit lobbying the federal government to create a perinatal mental health strategy. Ms. Charlebois holds a Master of Science in Nursing, a Perinatal Nursing Certification from the Canadian Nurses Association and a Perinatal Mental Health certification from Postpartum Support International. Her work experience includes 16 years of clinical nursing, seven years in higher education, and seven years in clinical leadership positions. She collaborates at the local, provincial, and national level with multiple organizations and committees

Patricia Tomasi is a mom of two who struggled to find help for perinatal mental illness. She is a former-journalist-turned-fierce-advocate who went from writing about the state of maternal mental health in Canada as a reporter for HuffPost Canada to lobbying the federal government for a national perinatal mental health strategy. She is the Co-founder and Communications Director for the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative and the Founder of the cheeky Maternal Mental Health Matters Blog. She started the private Facebook Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group in 2017 where thousands of women from around the world support each other 24/7. Prior to her advocacy work, Patricia spent a decade providing communications and media relations expertise for the Ontario government and in addition to HuffPost Canada, she worked as a reporter for CTV and CBC news in Vancouver, Toronto, Timmins, and Thunder Bay.

Episode 7: "The Gendered Impacts of Drug Policy on Women"

"Ultimately we need a fundamental shift in our thinking about drugs and drug laws" - Dr. Jade Boyd

In this week’s episode, Rebecca and Sidney sit down to talk with Dr. Jade Boyd, of the BCCSU to 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.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Sister Space

FIR Square

Guest Biography:

Dr. Jade Boyd, PhD, is a Research Scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She draws upon qualitative, ethnographic and community-based methods to examine social, structural and environmental factors that impact people who use drugs, with particular emphasis on how gender—intersecting with race, class and sexuality, influences drug policy and practice. In her role with the BCCSU, Dr. Boyd collaborates with local and national peer-based, drug user-led groups, as well as leads a program of qualitative and community-based research activities investigating drivers of drug-related harms among women, including barriers to harm reduction and the criminalization of women who use drugs.

Episode 8: "Endometriosis: What We Know And Don't Know"

“Endometriosis just isn’t about painful periods, it's also a full body disease that can really affect every aspect of someone's life” - Kate Wahl 

Content Warning: Mentions of suicide/self harm

If you are experiencing thoughts of self harm and need support contact someone here

In this episode, Rebecca sits down with Lan Randhawa (they/them) and Kate Wahl (she/her) to talk about all things endometriosis. Lan is a member of the Patient Research Advisory Board for the Endometriosis Pelvic Pain Lab at UBC. Kate is a graduate researcher focused on advancing sexual and reproductive health and has co-led a study on menstrual health and endometriosis education in schools. We dive into what can be done to address some of the gaps in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, despite its debilitating and widespread impacts.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest biographies:

Lan Randhawa is an Emergency Medical Call Taker and Dispatcher for BC Ambulance and a member of the Patient Research Advisory Board for the Endometriosis Pelvic Pain Laboratory at UBC. They are passionate about using their personal experience with Endometriosis, Adenomyosis and Pelvic Pain to further research and innovations in order to help others suffering from these diseases. Since April, they have been a part of ENDO Act Canada, where they are a part of the Advocacy and Communications team, helping them with their mission to drive policy action on Endometriosis in Canada. Since their partial hysterectomy in 2019, they have been able to enjoy living a relatively pain free life with their husband and two beautiful dogs while they anxiously await their adopted children to join their family.

Kate Wahl is a graduate student researcher interested in new strategies for moving evidence into health policy and practice. She uses qualitative methods to develop and evaluate approaches for sharing research findings with stakeholders including the public, healthcare providers, and policy makers. Kate's focus is on advancing sexual and reproductive health, and she is currently investigating patient decision aids, education programs, and storytelling in this context. Recently, Kate has co-led a study of menstrual health and endometriosis education in schools and she is involved with endometriosis advocacy through the Pan-Canadian organization EndoAct.​

Episode 9: "The Must-Knows of Dense Breasts and Cancer Screening"

“..it's quite common—about 40% of women over 40 have dense breasts. But there ar risks to having dense breasts. The most important being that cancers can hide in normal dense tissue."-Dr. Paula Gordon

In this episode, Rebecca sits down with Dr. Paula Gordon and Jennie Dale to talk about breasts. Dense breasts to be exact. We discuss why women should know whether they have dense breasts or not, and what to do with that information. Listeners might be surprised to learn how breast cancer screening differs across Canada, and be delighted to learn what research says they should do if they discover that they have dense breasts. 

Links to resources mentioned in this episode:

Guest biographies:

Dr. Paula Gordon is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of British Columbia. In the 1980’s her research on ultrasound-guided breast biopsies led to it becoming a standard of care worldwide. This procedure enabled accurate diagnosis of breast masses, which had previously required surgery and allowed women to forgo surgery for non-cancerous abnormalities. Her research in the early 1990’s was the first to show that ultrasound could find cancers missed on mammograms. This has led to a paradigm change in the management of screening women with dense breasts that began in the USA in 2009, but is now spreading to Canada, the UK, Australia and Europe.

Jennie Dale is the Executive Director of Dense Breast Canada. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014. Mammogram and tomosynthesis did not detect her cancer, instead it was detected by ultrasound. Inspired by the successful advocacy efforts of American organizations, "areyoudense.org" and "densebreast-info.org," Jennie co-founded Dense Breast Canada with Michelle DiTomaso in 2017 and has teamed up with breast cancer survivors nationwide to raise awareness of the risks of dense breasts. Together, over the past four years, they have successfully advocated for changes in policy in many Canadian provinces.

Episode 10: "How do Oral Contraceptives Impact Your Brain Health?"

“We are relying on 1960’s science to affect reproductive function, and science can do better” - Dr. Emily Jacobs

In this week’s episode, we sit down with Dr. Emily Jacobs and Dr. Cailtin Taylor to discuss how oral contraceptives (OC) impact women’s brain health. We break down the science behind oral contraceptives, discover gaps in research, and discuss the need for safer birth control options for women. 

Below is a list of definitions and abbreviations that may be useful when listening to this episode:

  • OC: Oral contraceptives
  • Endocrine system: The endocrine system is a network of glands in your body that make the hormones that help cells talk to each other. They're responsible for almost every cell, organ, and function in your body
  • Estradiol: Estradiol is an estrogen steroid hormone and the major female sex hormone. It is involved in the regulation of the estrous and menstrual female reproductive cycles
  • Progestin: A progestogen, also referred to as a progestagen, gestagen, or gestogen, is a type of medication which produces effects similar to those of the natural female sex hormone progesterone in the body. A progestin is a synthetic progestogen.
  • Endogenous: Endogenous substances and processes are those that originate from within a system such as an organism, tissue, or cell. Exogenous substances and processes, which originate from outside of the organism, such as drugs, contrast with endogenous ones.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode/ further reading material:

Guest biographies:

Dr. Emily Jacobs is an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the U.C. Santa Barbara. She explores the functional changes that occur in the brain that occur in response to changing hormonal conditions. In addition to her research, Dr. Jacobs advocates for diversity in science at the national and international level. Her lab regularly partners with K-12 groups throughout the central coast to advance girls’ representation in STEM. 

Dr. Caitlin Taylor is a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Emily Jacobs at U.C. Santa Barbara. She uses neuroimaging to try and understand the effects of sex hormones on the human brain and is dedicated to determining the effects of hormonal contraceptives on brain structure and function.

About the Hosts:

REBECCA BARON


PODCAST CO-HOST: SEASON 1
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Rebecca Baron (she/her) is a third-year undergraduate student studying Global Health & Nutrition at the University of British Columbia. She is also the co-host and co-developer for Women’s Health Interrupted alongside Sidney HryciukRebecca joined this project to fulfill her mission to catalyze improved access to women’s health information and equitable research via compelling storytelling and knowledge exchange.

Fun fact about Rebecca: Her passion to advance girls' education took her to the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Uganda, where she worked to improve reproductive health education with the Simbi Foundation. Rebecca's advocacy work has also led her to give a TEDx talk titled Conquering the Gender Gap in STEM and her passion for scientific research has led her to win the 2015 national science fair.

Sidney Klips-Hryciuk


PODCAST CO-HOST: SEASON 1
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Sidney Klips-Hryciuk (she/her) is a multidisciplinary actor, dancer, singer, director, choreographer and educator born and practicing on the unceded traditional Coast Salish territories (colonially known as Vancouver). She is a graduate of the Arts Umbrella Theatre Conservatory and holds an Interdisciplinary BA (Political Science/Global Health/Theatre) from the University of British Columbia. Sidney co-developed and currently co-hosts Women’s Health Interrupted alongside Rebecca Baron. This project is important to her as it intersects with her passions for intersectionality, women's equity, overcoming systemic barriers to healthcare access, human rights as well as the performing arts. 

Fun fact about Sidney: Other women's health projects close to Sidney’s heart include Diva Day International, where she was a research liaison, and Hemophilia Ontario Women's programs, which advocates for women with bleeding disorders. She is a former Research Assistant at the UBC Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Networks, and has a parallel career in foreign affairs and research; having worked for Global Affairs Canada, the Embassy to the Baltic States, and in refugee law.

LISTEN/SUBSCRIBE:

All episodes in season 1 are available on all major platforms.