WHRI partners with Vancouver Island Health Authority and University of Victoria to run womens health symposium


The symposium brought together faculty members, staff, patient partners, community groups, and trainees from across Vancouver Island to hear about new research in women’s health. The day started with a trainee breakfast led by Dr. Karen Urbanoski, who shared personal experiences and insights about charting an academic career in women’s health.

Following breakfast, we then were treated by a panel presentation, where the theme for the panel was “Supporting vulnerable women: A focus on stigma and safety”. Leading the panel was Lisa Ridgway, a patient partner and lawyer who discussed the role of advocacy among vulnerable women, and how that is important for health research. Dr. Karen Urbanoski, who holds a Canada Research Chair in substance use, addictions, and health services research, focused on the unique social determinants that impact women who are using substances during pregnancy. Dr. Patti Janssen, a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health discussed an innovative project focused on women with a recent history of incarceration, and focused on understanding their health goals. Dr. Elizabeth Borycki, a Professor in the school of Health Information Science at UVic and MSFHR Scholar talked about the opportunities and challenges associated with e-Health apps and patient portals to support vulnerable women. Finally, Dr. Nichole Fairbrother, an Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Psychiatry and Island Medical Program, enlightened listeners about the common yet rarely recognized condition of post-partum obsessive compulsive disorder.

Following the panel discussion, we had an interactive moderated question & answer period. The audience left inspired at what we had learned and how these scientists and patient partners are changing the landscape of health for vulnerable women.

Networking, conversation, and collaboration were woven throughout the morning focused on women’s health. In alignment with the WHRI’s mission focused on collaboration, new relationships were formed and discussions were rich. The WHRI is excited to expand its network of membership to all researchers, stakeholders, and community persons across Vancouver Island (and across BC) who share an interest in women’s health research.

For more from the event check out @womensresearch, @VIHealthRes, and #5DIM on Twitter, or check out the recording here.