New publication from Dr. Lori Brotto

Better Sex Through Mindfulness book cover

Dr. Lori Brotto has a new book! In Better Sex Through Mindfulness Dr. Brotto walks readers through the different reasons that women experience decreased sexual desire, and provides mindfulness exercises that can help restore a healthy sex life.

Follow Dr. Brotto on Twitter @DrLoriBrotto and track #BetterSexThroughMindfulness to join the conversation.  And, stay tuned for Dr. Brotto’s appearance on the Savage Lovecast podcast to discuss her book with Dan Savage.

Dr. Saraswathi Vedam is in the news!

WHRI member Dr. Saraswathi Vedam has created two tools (the MADM (Mother’s Autonomy in Decision Making) Scale scale and the MORi (Mothers on Respect index) to ensure that women’s needs, respect, and autonomy are at the center of their birthing experiences.

The tools are also intended to “provide a standard way to quantify a patient’s experience”.

Read more about her work here.

Dr. Lori Brotto featured in the Vancouver Sun

WHRI’s Executive Director, Dr. Lori Brotto, has been featured in the Vancouver Sun for her work helping men who have cancer-related erectile dysfunction rekindle their intimate relationships using mindfulness-based therapy.

Read the full article here:

Women’s Health Research Symposium Report

On October 25 2017, the Women’s Health Research Institute, together with the Vice President Research Office at Simon Fraser University, hosted a half-day women’s health research symposium at the beautiful SFU Diamond Alumni Centre. The event was entitled, “Examining diversity across disciplines, decades, and distances”.

The event consisted of a trainee breakfast, a keynote presentation by Dr Joy Johnson, and three panels: Mapping the Future for Women’s Health research: Equity, Diversity, and Success; Harnessing New Science & Technology for Women’s Health; and Supportive Environments, Policies, and Laws for Women’s Health.

Read the full symposium report below.


#ItsNotInYourHead Dissemination Toolkit

Cartoon drawings of diverse women on a dark blue background with the caption #ItsNotInYourHead underneathHave you heard about the genital pain condition that affects up to one in ten women?

Help us spread the word about provoked vestibulodynia, or PVD, so that women can receive a diagnosis faster and know that they are not alone.

We have created a dissemination toolkit which provides information on PVD, and includes pre-written tweets and infographics to share on your social media.

Follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook @NotInYourHead17.

Kangaroo Mother Care at BC Women’s Hospital NICU

Attendees at the KMC event at BC Children's Hospital Teck Acute CentreOn November 15th BC Women’s Hospital, along with Perinatal Services BC, announced that their innovative Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) program will receive financial support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to help implement KMC in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the province.

Mother practicing KMC with her baby using a wrap provided by the hospital.KMC is a skin-to-skin attachment program, wherein the mother (or partner) holds their baby against their bare chest for as many hours a day as possible. In Columbia, where KMC was developed in the late 1970s, babies would be propped in a wrap, skin to skin against their mother, for 24 hours per day.  The practice promotes a stronger bond between parent and baby, and in the case of premature infants, can help to shorten the length of time spent in the hospital.

Other benefits include reducing instances of postpartum depression, stabilizing the baby’s temperature, encouraging breastfeeding, boosting social and emotional development, and stress reduction.  Teaching mothers and partners how to practice KMC in-hospital will also provide them with the necessary skills to continue at home after their baby has been discharged.

Funding for the project was made possible through the partnership of BC Women’s, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation, Perinatal Services BC, and Women’s Health Research Institute.

The WHRI will be a collaborator on the project from initial inception through to all phases of implementation, and will collaborate on gathering and reporting implementation metrics.

To read the news release from the government of British Columbia, click here.

WHRI Member Moe Elgendi published in Nature Biotechnology

Women’s Health Research Institute member, Moe Elgendi, has been published in Nature Biotechnology, the highest ranking journal in the world for biotechnology. His paper, “Scientists need Data Visualization Training”, outlines the need for those doing knowledge translation to understand what is entailed in effective data visualization.

Moe presents workshops which “[outline] the theory of data visualization and [explore] common pitfalls made during the production of basic data visualization figures.” Knowledge translation skills are common within the medical community, and yet data visualization is an often underdeveloped area that is key to effective dissemination of research.

The full article in Nature Biotechnology can be read here.

Watch Moe’s workshop here here.


#ItsNotInYourHead is a campaign launched by Dr. Lori Brotto and the Women’s Health Research Institute to raise awareness about provoked vestibulodynia (PVD) and evidence-based psychological interventions for improving pain management.

PVD is pain experienced when contact is made with the area near the entrance to the vagina, known as the vulvar vestibule. This pain often occurs during sexual activity, but it can also be triggered by clothing, inserting tampons, pap tests, sitting, or any other touching sensations.  Many women are unable to receive an accurate diagnosis since there are no visible indicators that something is wrong in an exam. This can lead to frustration, hopelessness, and feelings of isolation as patients are led to believe that their pain is “all in their head”.

Dr. Brotto conducted research at the University of British Columbia with two groups of women living with PVD, treating one with mindfulness-based therapy, and the other with cognitive behavioural therapy.  Both groups of women saw improvement in their ability to manage pain.

The #ItsNotInYourHead campaign launched October 6th, 2017 with a short video describing the condition and letting women know that their pain is real.  To follow the campaign, follow @NotInYourHead17 on Twitter and Facebook. You can join the conversation about provoked vestibulodynia using the hashtags #ItsNotInYourHead and #PVD.

WHRI researcher, Dr. Wendy Norman, is featured in a CBC Health news story

WHRI researcher, Dr. Wendy Norman has been featured in CBC News discussing women’s rights in physician offices while ingesting mifepristone.  Dr. Norman discusses a myth that exists which claims physicians are required to watch a patient ingest mifepristone — one of a two-drug combination packed together as Mifegymiso, for medical abortions.

“The evidence is clear that having the practitioner observe the woman is demeaning. It’s inappropriate. There’s no other medication where the practitioner is required to observe a normal healthy woman taking a medicine,” said Norman, adding that methadone may be the only exception.

For the full article please click here.

WHRI Member, Dr. KS Joseph, Studies How Parenting Affects Younger Moms’ Mental Health vs. Older Moms’ Mental Health

WHRI Member, Dr. KS Joseph, and Giulia Muraca have recently conducted a study looking at how parenting affects younger mothers mental health compared to older mothers mental health.

Data from women between the ages of 20-44 was used in this study, stratifying women according to whether they had a live birth within five years preceding each participants interview. Using logistic regression, it was found the prevalence of depression in women who had recently delivered was significantly higher in women aged 40 to 44 years than in women aged 30 to 35 years. Given these results, further research should be supported to determine if a program of targeted depression screening and prevention will help reduce the burden of illness among older mothers.

For the full Romper article, please click here. To access the original PubMed research study, please click here.