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.

How Can Twitter Benefit Researchers? Ask the Expert!

Recently our Communications Assistant, Rebecca Tingling, had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kendall Ho, Lead of UBC’s Digital Emergency Medicine and Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Ho has been an active Twitter user for over 6 years and we wanted to hear his advice and lessons learned for other researchers who may be interested in using Twitter themselves.

Twitter is an increasingly popular social media platform amongst healthcare professionals and researchers; however, becoming a Twitter user can seem daunting given its learning curve. We asked Dr. Ho about three challenges he faced when joining social media and how he overcame them:

  1. Challenge: Overcoming hesitation when creating a Twitter account
    Solution: Understanding that the information one gets from Twitter is truly worth the time investment
  2. Challenge: Acknowledging Twitter may be daunting for a new user given its time commitment
    Solution: Understanding the time one invests will be rewarded with increased research opportunities, research updates, and a broader research network
  3. Challenge: Learning the etiquette of social media
    Solution: Begin by observing how others use Twitter to learn more about features Twitter offers

One of Twitter’s greatest advantages is that users are able to read their tailor-made newsfeed from the accounts they have decided to follow, which updates the user on news specific to their research interests. Have you found Twitter has broadened your research interests within the last 6 years?

Given Twitter allows for retweeting, direct messaging, and “liking” of tweets, Dr. Ho has been updated daily on various research topics, which have enhanced his research interests. Twitter allows for each user to tailor their newsfeed in such a way that it contains tweets from accounts the user chooses to follow, therefore regularly updating users on news relating to their interests. Dr. Ho has found connecting with researchers, patients and policy makers through twitter is continuing to assist bridging the gap between research and routine practice.

Could you name a project, event or research study where Twitter has been helpful with disseminating your research? What were some successful strategies you used to help assist this dissemination?

Dr. Ho has found Twitter particularly beneficial for his research in digital health literacy. Not only has Twitter allowed the Digital Emergency Medicine researchers to reach out to research partners and the general public for feedback, it also provides a platform to effectively and efficiently promote their findings, forums and workshops.

Twitter engages its users through multimedia capabilities, such as allowing for the inclusion of photographs within tweets. Dr. Ho has found this to be beneficial for researchers to promote their research, events and newly published articles.

What is some advice you would give new researchers who may be hesitant to join twitter?

Twitter is actively changing and with a significant amount of researchers using Twitter, the best advice Dr. Ho offers for potential new users is to “Jump in!”. For those who are not accustomed to social media platforms, he suggests beginning with just one social media avenue to ease the transition. In addition to this, he suggests finding a mentor who could offer any advice or assistance to guide a new user to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

The WHRI is actively assisting and supporting our members with their research endeavours, including social media support. We are exploring hosting a social media workshop to assist new users who are interested in becoming a Twitter user. If this is something you would be interested in, please contact Nicole.prestley@cw.bc.ca.

Save the Date: Women’s Health Research Symposium

On Wednesday, October 25th 2017, Simon Fraser University and the Women’s Health Research Institute will be hosting the Women’s Health Research Symposium taking place at the Diamond Alumni Centre. The symposium will examine diversity across disciplines, decades and distances to continue the discussion surrounding women’s health and health research.

WHRI Member, Dr. Wendy Norman, featured in CBC Health News

WHRI Member, Dr. Wendy Norman, is featured in CBC Health News for writing an editorial accompanying the new study surrounding telemedicine. Dr. Norman discusses the role telemedicine could play in countries where abortion services are highly restricted, suggesting women in these areas could use telemedicine to connect with a doctor and safely terminate their pregnancies at home.

WHRI Member, Dr. K.S Joseph, featured in CTV News and Science Daily

WHRI member, Dr. K.S. Joseph, is featured in articles in CTV News, and Science Daily. Research led by Dr. Joseph is the first study in Canada looking at pregnancy outcomes in reduced multi-fetal pregnancies resulting from fertility treatment. Joseph links fetal reduction in multi-fetal pregnancies with better birth outcomes, suggesting the selective reduction technique is effective.