Announcing our five fear Strategic Plan, advocating for change online, & more ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏
@womensresearch | November 2019
June 2019 (1)

Announcing our new Strategic Plan

Today the Women’s Health Research Institute is excited to announce the launch of a new five-year Strategic Plan.

The 2019–2024 Strategic Plan was informed by an extensive, mixed methods, stakeholder consultation, which took place from April 2018 to January 2019.  The consultation engaged WHRI staff and Members, Patient and Community Partners, as well as key women’s health research stakeholders in BC, such as, academic, funding, and health authority partners.  The process was comprised of focus groups, planning sessions, individual interviews, and a full day facilitated discussion. The process was facilitated by Sam Bradd and the Drawing Change team with Yolanda Liman as the Graphic Illustrator. The outcomes were synthesized and presented to the WHRI scientific advisory group, who, further identified priority actions with the core WHRI executive. Writing was assisted by Karen Gelb and Sarah Robins.  The inclusive and transparent approach to developing our strategic plan reflects our commitment to be an institute shaped by the needs and vision of its members and community and our innate desire to effectively meet their needs.

In addition to the four priorities outlined in our plan, we have developed three new strategic frameworks to guide our work in the areas of: (1) partnership engagement; (2) patient and public engagement; and (3) knowledge translation, over the next five years. Our final strategic framework on trainees and mentorship is forthcoming.

Read the Executive Summary of the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.

2018 Aug - Dr. Paula Gordon

Taking Action for Change: Meet Dr. Paula Gordon

Dr. Paula Gordon is no stranger to advocating for women’s health.

In 2018, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, announced that British Columbia would become the first province to share breast density results with all women and their healthcare providers with their mammography screening. Driving this change was work by a non-profit organization known as Dense Breasts Canada, for which Dr. Gordon is a volunteer advisor. This result is a powerful demonstration of the things that can be accomplished when healthcare providers and researchers join forces with community partners to advocate for change.

Continue reading...

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#Throwback: An evening with Dr. Jen Gunter

On September 23rd the WHRI co-hosted an event with BC Women’s Health Foundation, welcoming Dr. Jen Gunter for a fireside chat with Dr. Lori Brotto.

Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB/GYN who has amassed a large following across the internet. An expert in all things vagina, Dr. Gunter is an excellent example of the importance of Knowledge Translation (KT). 

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BC Women's Health Foundation launches the In Her Words report

On October 9th, 2019 the BC Women’s Health Foundation, in partnership with Pacific Blue Cross, released the In Her Words report, exposing women’s experience with the healthcare system in BC.

The report is informed by a survey of 1000 BC women aged 16 and older, and was designed to assess women’s experience with accessing needed care, and their perceptions of interactions with healthcare providers. There was also an effort to understand the unique needs of Indigenous women.

Continue reading...



On World Menopause Day, we talked to Shirley Weir, Founder of, WHRI community partner, and fierce women’s health advocate.

New research from Dr. Gina Ogilvie’s team and the BC Centre for Disease Control shows that BC’s HPV immunization program has cut pre-cancer rates in half for women.

A new study, co-authored by Giulia Muraca, suggests that episiotomy may be key to reducing vaginal and anal tearing during births assisted by forceps or vacuums.

In honour of World Mental Health Day 2019 we interviewed Dr. Nichole Fairbrother about what fuels her research and how we can make a difference for women in the postpartum period.

A project co-led by Dr. Luis Nacul made lead health story on CBC news this month.




Are you a member of the Fraser Health Authority? Check out awards offered by the BC SUPPORT Unit Fraser Centre.

BCCHR Clinical & Translational Research Seed Grants
Application Deadline: November 25th, 2019

Dr. Robine Donken will be presenting research on the HPV vaccination program on November 15th at BC Women's Hospital Research Rounds.

Dr. Neora Pick will be presenting at UBC Ob/Gyn Grand Rounds on November 28th in honour of World AIDS Day.

Join the UBC Women's Health Research Cluster for their Women's Health Seminar Series

Registration is open for the second Global Health Conference, co-hosted by UBC School of Population and Public Health and the Centre for International Child Health.

CIHR Strategic Plan 2020-2025 – Results for Phase 1 Stakeholder Consultations

CIHR Strategic Plan 2020-2025 – Results for Phase 1 Stakeholder Consultations

In the spring of 2019, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research began a national stakeholder consultation process on the future of health research in Canada, with a view to developing a strategic plan for the next five years.  They have now completed Phase 1 which included a national online survey and roundtable discussions with over 150 stakeholders.

Key findings

Stakeholders identified six key priorities which included: the Health of Indigenous Peoples, Technology, Environment, Chronic Disease Prevention, Health Equity, and Primary Care.

There was also a strong view that Knowledge Users (e.g. patients, citizens, decision-makers, clinicians) should drive research priorities in order to have the greatest impact.

Several key values that should influence funding decision making -- which may have significant implications for Women’s Health Researchers -- also emerged.  They included a commitment to integrating sex & gender into research grants; open access to data; supporting national and international partnerships; developing mechanisms for balancing knowledge creation and knowledge translation; and direct support for trainees.

Specifically, in regards to the project grant competition, stakeholders expressed a strong view to prioritize investigator-initiated research over CIHR priority driven research, and wanted CIHR to strive for a 20% - 25% success rate. 

Stakeholders also expressed strong views regarding the unintended negative consequences of the across the board cut that CIHR imposed on all successful grants, calling for an overhaul of how budgets are submitted and reviewed.

The next step will be to convine a Health Research Summit on December 13th 2019 and develop a draft plan.  Look out for more engagement opportunities coming this winter!

Read the Full Report: Results from Phase 1 of CIHR’s Strategic Planning Engagement


Please join us in welcoming our new staff!

Meet Eric Lussier, our new part-time Research Development Facilitator. His primary office will be in the Research & Technology Development Office at BCCHR, working as part of Dr. Dawn McArthur's team. He’s joining the team (and readjusting to Canadian weather) after living and working in Taiwan for twelve years. Eric’s last position was in the Taiji Clinic, a fetal and child development screening centre, where his role involved biostatistics and developing research capacity in the clinic.

Eric’s passion for health research was sparked by the desire to make a difference.

“One of my professors said that health is something that everybody goes through in their life. I was kind of looking for something that made an impact, not just a job that would make money. When I started studying public health it really solidified my desire to work in health research.”

In his spare time, he likes to stay active through sports like ice hockey or soccer, or getting outdoors to camp, hike, or ride his bike.

Welcome, Eric!

Madison completed a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences at Queens University, and just defended her Master’s thesis in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences through the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia. She will be joining the team as a Research Coordinator for the SUPPORT study, which aims to develop a web-enabled intervention for postpartum depression.

Madison led the first phase of qualitative research for her Master’s project, under the supervision of Dr. Lori Brotto, which makes her a natural fit for the role. The team is now entering the second phase of research, which is developing the intervention based on their preliminary findings. They will also be starting focus groups with Indigenous and immigrant women to inform the intervention. Her project is supported by generous donations stewarded through the BC Women’s Health Foundation.

Madison is drawn to work in reproductive mental health because of its societal impact. When mothers are affected by postpartum depression, she explains, the whole family is affected – it’s not just an individual issue. Further, it’s an area that is often overlooked or ignored. She is also drawn to digital health work because of its potential to create equitable access to care, when it is affordable, especially for people in rural, remote, or underserved communities.

When Madison isn’t working she likes to volunteer with the Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue (where they’ve recently rescued a turtle!), BC Children’s Hospital department of oncology, and Mount Seymour’s ski school.

Welcome to the team, Madison!