WHRI Members Receive CIHR Grants!

On Monday May 15th, results from the CIHR 2017 Foundation and Project competition were released, revealing multiple WHRI members who were recently awarded funding to further explore crucial women’s health areas of research. WHRI members received more than $1.8 million in new grants and awards.

Congratulations to:


WHRI member, Deborah Money, along with co-investigators, received a CIHR project grant of $1,411,425 to support research surrounding the relationship between vaginal and cesarean delivery with respect to infant gut microbiome pattern. Using advanced gene-based methods to profile the bacterial communities present in women during birth, Dr. Deborah Money and her team will be conducting a study to determine, based on mode of delivery, whether the maternal vaginal microbiome pattern is predictive of the infant gut microbiome pattern.

WHRI member, Hamideh Bayrampour, is the recipient of a $218,025 CIHR project grant to conduct a study to initiate the development of a valid tool which will measure and identify anxiety experienced in women during pregnancy. Creating this tool and referring pregnant women with anxiety to appropriate services can improve pregnancy postpartum and child outcomes, and enhance the quality of life for women and their babies.

WHRI member, K.S. Joseph, is a CIHR Bridge Grant recipient receiving $100,000 to support his research to identify newborn birth weight-for-gestational age values (and related indices) that will distinguish babies at low versus high risk for severe illness or death. Given the discrepancy between the Gates Funded Intergrowth-21st Project’s birth weight-for-gestation age and Canada’s current standard, this study has proposed to adapt the intergrowth standard by identifying the birth weight-for-gestation age centiles of this standard that distinguish babies at low vs high risk for illness and death.

WHRI member, Melanie C Murray, is the recipient of a $100’000 CIHR Bridge Grant to study who will benefit most from WelTel, among those who are HIV-positive. In addition to this, the study will explore if personality traits and sense of life purpose change over time in the setting of a program that provides increased links with care provider, among persons who are HIV-positive.

All of the WHRI members who have received CIHR funding are listed below. Congratulations to all!

PIs: Money, Deborah M; Hill, Janet E; Joseph, K.S; Van Schalkwyk, Julianne E. Co-Is: Albert, Arianne; Elwood, Chelsea; Gantt, Soren M; Grabowska, Kirsten; Hutcheon, Jennifer A; Links, Matthew G; Manges, Amee R; Mitchell, Sheona. Defining the maternal legacy: Does mode of delivery impact the role of the maternal vaginal microbiome in predicting the infant gut microbiome? CIHR Project Grant. 5 years.

PIs: Bayrampour, Hamideh. Co-Is: Brant, Rollin F; Butler, Michelle M; Fairbrother, Nichole; Janssen, Patricia A; Joseph, K.S. Pregnancy Specific Anxiety Scale (PSAS): Instrument Development and Psychometric Testing. CIHR Project Grant. 3 years.

PIs: Joseph, K.S. Co-Is: Kramer, Michael S; Liu, Shiliang. Adapting the Intergrowth-21st Project newborn standard for Canada. CIPR Bridge Grant Recipients. CIHR Bridge Grant.1 year.

PIs: Murray, Melanie C. Co-Is: Cote, Helene; Flynn, Catherine J; Hill, Patrick; Sutherland, Christy. Individual disposition and mHealth: Personalized care to improve outcomes. CIHR Bridge Grant. 1 year.

Award Announcement: WHRI Team Member’s Win the 2017 Canadian Evaluation Society Student Case Competition!

The WHRI is proud to announce two of our team members, Felicia Phan and Selina Suleman, were members of UBC’s School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) winning team for the 2017 Canadian Evaluation Society Student Case Competition (CES-CEDEF). CES-CEDEF is an annual event that is designed to give first-hand experience in both evaluative analysis and reporting under pressure given a short time frame.

In early February, 10 teams from across Canada participated in Round One of the case competition which required teams to complete an evaluation proposal for the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre youth Ambassador Program within a 5.5 hour time limit. UBC’s team did exceptionally well and proceeded to the final round, along with 3 other teams. The final round of the case competition took place on Monday, May 1st where Transformative Growth Solutions, the team which included WHRI team members, had to respond to a proposal request from the Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative Growing up Great Research and Evaluation Task Group. The top 3 teams had 5 hours to prepare the proposal before presenting in front of a live panel as well as a large audience. The Transformative Growth Solution’s proposal set them apart from the other 2 teams, resulting in their team winning the 2017 CES-CEFEF Case Competition!

For more information on the case competition, please click here.

Ground-Breaking Study: Cancer-Causing Mutations Found to be Associated with Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition found in 10% of women which is caused when the endometrium, tissue lining the inside of the uterus, grows abnormally outside of one’s uterus resulting in severe pain and in some cases, infertility.

WHRI member, Dr. Paul Yong,  and Dr.Mike Anglesio, a scientist at the BC Cancer Research Centre, recent findings, which were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, may change the way doctors and researchers approach endometriosis Using gene-sequencing technology to analyze endometrial tissue, this study discovered mutations in  non-cancerous pelvic lesions of women with endometriosis, which share similar characteristics to cancerous tissue. This new finding opens an avenue for the potential use of experimental cancer drugs  to treat endometriosis, which could significantly increase the treatment options available. This study is not only beneficial for the future of endometriosis treatment, but also marks the first time advanced technology has been used when conducting endometriosis research.

This study was partially supported by a WHRI grant award (the Nelly Auersperg Award for Women’s Health Research) and the study was made possible through the collaborative effort of several partners, including research by scientists from the B.C Cancer Agency, the B.C. Women’s Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

KT Corner

In response to a recent survey and in alignment with our strategic aim to improve Knowledge Translation (KT) activity, the WHRI offered a one-day Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT) with KT Expert, Dr. Melanie Barwick, to members on April 25th. Dr. Barwick provided insight into KT Planning, Strategies, Implementation and Scholarship.  Members finished with a KT Planning Exercise involving the KT Game. In follow-up to the event, organizer and facilitator, Nicole Prestley, has compiled a KT Toolkit which combines SKTT workshop resources and resources frequently used by the WHRI.

WHRI SKKT Attendee Resource Sheet

A KT Toolkit Dropbox Folder has been created in order to provide ongoing and up-to-date information to our members.  If you would like access to the WHRI KT Toolkit Dropbox Folder or information about signing out our KT Game to use with your team please email Nicole.Prestley@cw.bc.ca.

Dr. Lori Brotto Trip: Island Health Authority and University of Victoria

On March 2, 2017, I had the opportunity to visit with women’s health researchers at Island Health Authority and the University of Victoria. After an
interactive and engaging rounds presentation at Victoria General Hospital, I had an opportunity to meet with researchers, clinicians, and hospital operations managers. I learned that the South Island BC Support Unit is thriving and supporting numerous patient-oriented research projects. I also learned that knowledge translation to practice and policy is swifter than other health authorities and jurisdictions. That said, there are also gaps in women’s health research, such as the need for a women’s health database, and more support devoted to women’s mental health.

I then attended a meeting with a dozen women’s health researchers at the University of Victoria. There I learned about the rich diversity of women’s health research across various university departments, with research focused on: adolescent women and media/health literacy; family violence research; rural and remote issues in women’s health; perinatal mental health; issues specific to sexual minority women; issues specific to Indigenous and immigrant women; and gender and medicalization. UVic has particular strengths in studying elderly women, and those from Indigenous backgrounds.

I was impressed by the hub of women’s health researchers in Island Health Authority and UVic, and we will explore the possibility of holding a “mini WHRI Symposium” in Victoria, together with our island colleagues, in the near future.


The Second Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium: Successful Engagement!

The Second Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium that took place on April 26th  at the UBC NEST was a tremendous success, with over 150 attendees. The symposium allowed women’s health researchers to highlight new research findings, and allowed researchers from a wide range of disciplines to connect with one another. Many of the attendees, as well as those who were unable to take part in person,  engaged in the event via twitter using #WHRIsym17, which quickly became a trending hashtag after over 500 posts were generated. The social media  conversation spread on twitter globally, with the hashtag extending outside of North America, reaching countries such as Norway, South Africa, Egypt and Australia. In just one year the Women’s Health Research Symposium was able to double its user engagement on twitter, with almost 150 different accounts tweeting throughout the day. We thank everyone for participating in such a successful event and encourage everyone to continue to engage in the conversation online! We look forward to the Third Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium next Spring!

The Second Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium 2017

On April 26th, the 2nd annual Women’s Health Research Symposium was hosted by the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) at the AMS Nest Building at the University of British Columbia. The conference was attended by over 150 researchers and investigators from a wide range of disciplines who came together to celebrate the current research being conducted surrounding women’s health. The symposiums allowed for provincial leaders in women’s health to come together, share results and generate discussion in order for the collaboration of provincial leaders to advance the health of women in BC. The focus of this year’s symposium included knowledge translation and women’s mental health focussing on intersecting issues such as marginalization and stigma. The format of the symposium allowed for in depth discussions and audience engagement as there were research presentations, facilitated discussion sessions and an expert panel of leaders representing BC Women’s Hospital, the UBC Faculty of Medicine and research at the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The morning on the symposium largely focused on discussions surrounding women, mental health and the stigma of mental illness. Depression does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status or geography, and it is an issue that is showing increasing rates of suffering, predominately in women. Given depression is the leading cause of worldwide disability, it needs to be attributed appropriate attention. Dr. Joti Samra, an innovator in psychological health and wellness, gave the morning’s keynote address and highlighted the broad factors that affect women’s overall mental health if we hope to implement an effective strategy to combat these increasing rates. Presentations that followed focused on postpartum depression, as currently 1/5 women in lower income countries experience postpartum depression, the transgenerational nature of depression, as depression seems to be passed from mother to daughter, along with eating disorders. The morning also included a special presentation meant to highlight an emerging women’s health issue, in which Dr. Annabel Mead, Director of the St. Paul’s Hospital Goldcorp Addiction Medicine Fellowship, talked about how to provide optimal care for women during Vancouver’s opioid crisis.

The latter half of the symposium discussed knowledge translation and methods to bridge the current 17 year gap between research and practice. Erica Ehm, founder of YummMummyClub, spoke about both art and science of knowledge translation, and outlined an example of how researches can partner with social media influencers in order to reach more people as information tends to be lost with the current approach largely focused on scientific findings.

As the symposium was coming to an end, Madame Sophie Trudeau joined the event through a video message. In her video, Madame Trudeau discussed the importance of the symposium and its positive impact on women’s health throughout Canada. Moreover, Madame Trudeau congratulated Dr. Deborah Money on her receipt of the WHRI Career Contribution to Women’s Health Research Award for her outstanding research conducted with respect to women’s health in the province and globally throughout her academic career.

Madame Sophie Trudeau: Special Guest Appearance at the Second Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium!

Madame Sophie Trudeau kindly provided the Women’s Health Research Symposium with a video message thanking the WHRI for organizing such a successful event. Madame Trudeau discussed the positive impact on women’s health the symposium has had, and the importance of discussing intersecting issues such as marginalization and stigma – key topics at this year’s symposium. Moreover, Madame Trudeau congratulated Dr. Deborah Money on her receipt of the Career Contribution to Women’s Health Research Award for her outstanding research conducted with respect to women’s health in the province and globally throughout her academic career.

CIHR Funding Announcement: Delay of next Project Grant Competition

Recently, Stage 2 of the peer review for the current Project Grant Competition was concluded to be unsustainable on multilevels by Roderick McInnes, the Acting President of CIHR. Due to this there will be significant changes made to the process of grant completions. The Project Grant Competition registration that was to close on May 30, 2017 will be delayed until August 15, 2017, with an application deadline of September 15, 2017. To mitigate the impact of this delay on the research community, CIHR will financially extend all existing Open Operating and Project Grants scheduled to expire between September 30, 2017 and March 30, 2018 until March 31, 2018. Subsequent competition dates will be determined through the above-mentioned consultation process.

For original announcement please click here 

Dr. Jerilynn Prior – Recipient of the Knowledge Translation in Women’s Health Research Award

The Women’s Health Research Institute is very pleased to announce that Dr. Jerilynn Prior has been awarded our 2017 Knowledge Translation in Women’s Health Research Award.

The award is an opportunity to recognize excellence in knowledge translation from a women’s or newborn health researcher in British Columbia. Given Dr. Prior’s research conducted at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) focus on public education and the translation of research findings into changed in clinical practice, it is fitting she is receiving this honorable research award.

Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior BA, MD, FRCPC, ABIM, ABEM is a Professor of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia. She has spent her career studying menstrual cycles and the effects of the cycle’s estrogen and progesterone hormones on women’s health. She is the founder (2002) and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR). CeMCOR is actively researching women’s health and has a very accessible, informative website that receives on average between 3500-5000 page views per day (www.cemcor.ca). She is also Director of the BC Centre of the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS) that is studying osteoporosis, fractures and bone density and has followed over 9000 adult women and men across the country for over 16 years, plus about a 1000 youth ages 16-24 for two years.

She graduated with honours from Boston University School of Medicine 1969, is the author of Estrogen’s Storm Season—stories of perimenopause (Finalist in Health section, Independent Publisher’s Book Awards, 2006) and has co-authored The Estrogen Errors—Why Progesterone is better for Women’s Health (2009, Praeger, Conn).

Dr. Prior’s is internationally known for her research demonstrating the importance of progesterone as well as estrogen for women’s bone, heart and breast health and also that perimenopause is hormonally distinct from menopause, entailing higher rather than low or dropping estrogen levels. In randomized controlled trials, Dr. Prior has shown that progesterone is an effective therapy for menopausal hot flushes and has short-term cardiovascular safety.

Dr. Prior is also known for her avid stance against hormones as an ongoing “replacement” for menopause. Despite the advertisement of products or treatments claiming to “fix” menopause, Dr. Prior does not believe menopause is a medical condition that needs to be treated, but instead believes it is a natural stage of a woman’s life.