Beyond the Binary in BC

Taking a patient-oriented and trauma-informed approach to building partnerships and dialogue to incorporate gender equity into women’s health research

Dedicated women’s health research is a relatively recent milestone. Yet, people across the gender spectrum benefit from research framed as “women’s” health. Available guidance for including trans, non-binary, and intersex people in this work has not acknowledged the social, historical and political contexts that led to centering cisgender women (women whose gender aligns with their gender assigned at birth) in “women’s” health research. 

In 2019, the WHRI began featuring examples of gender-equitable research practice through our Beyond the Binary web stories. These stories showcase experiences of researchers Dr. Michelle Chan and Dr. Lori Brotto in creating inclusive health research environments. In 2020, the WHRI saw a significant increase in requests for language consultations on grants, recruitment materials, and data collection tools. The next step became clear – a larger conversation with health research stakeholders, which led to the application to Michael Smith Health Research BC for the Beyond the Binary project. Beyond the Binary is a multi-stakeholder, participatory project intended to inform guidance for gender-equitable practice within BC’s women’s health research community. Through collaboration with people from trans, non-binary, intersex, Two-Spirit, queer, research, health, ethics, and academic communities, we aim to develop context-specific guidance, resources, and recommendations for researchers and health decision-makers.

With an emergent design theme, the project aims to:

  • Understand the current landscape of gender-equity resources through a literature review and environmental scan.
  • Establish and convene a Community Steering Committee to support patient-oriented and trauma informed approach to co-creation.
  • Engage research stakeholders in three training opportunities: Intro to Gender Diversity, Trans Inclusion 101, and Trauma and Resiliency informed Practice for Researchers and Evaluators, to build champions within the research community.
  • Host knowledge exchange events to facilitate dialogue and recommendations on gender-equitable research practice among diverse stakeholders and communities.

The WHRI, alongside other health research stakeholders, have organizational commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion. These commitments are not attainable without examining institutionalized activities and practices that perpetuate colonial, cissexist, heterocentric, ableist, patriarchal white supremacy. We are excited that Beyond the Binary will contribute to this conversation and be the catalyst for the development of gender-equitable research practices across BC.

Dr. Angela Kaida

Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Canada Research Chair, Tier II in Global Perspectives in HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health

Scientific Advisor, Women’s Health Research Institute

Beverley Pomeroy

Patient Public Engagement Lead

Independent Researcher

Trauma & Resiliency Informed Educator, Fraser Health Authority, Mental Health and Substance Use

Executive Board Member, Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research, and SPOR Evidence Alliance

Julia Santana Parrilla, Project Researcher, Beyond the Binary

Saide Stephenson, Research Assistant, Beyond the Binary

Maya Kevorkova, Research Assistant, Beyond the Binary

Melissa Nelson, Communications Coordinator, WHRI

Nicole Prestley, Primary Contact, Knowledge Translation Manager, WHRI

Dr. Stephanie Skourtes, Interim Knowledge Translation Manager, WHRI

Dr. Lori Brotto, Executive Director, WHRI

Tamara Baldwin, Director, Office of Regional and International Community Engagement, UBC

Dr. Skye Barbic, Research Lead, Foundry

Wendy Bond, Research Ethics Coordinator, Compliance & Outreach, UBC

Lindsay Carpenter, Trainee, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Michelle Chan, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia

Laurel Evans, Director, Research Ethics, UBC

Dr. Liisa Galea, Head of the Women’s Health Research Cluster, UBC

Dr. Lorraine Greaves, Senior Investigator, Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health

Faith Jabs, Trainee, University of British Columbia

AJ Murray, Knowledge Translation Coordinator, Population Health Promotion, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre

Dr. Ann Pederson, Director, Population Health Promotion, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre

Dr. Wendy Robinson, Associate Director, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Caroline Sanders, Associate Professor, University of Northern British Columbia

Dr. Gavin C.E. Stuart, Professor and Interim Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Saraswathi Vedam, Lead Investigator at The Birthplace Lab

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The Beyond the Binary project is funded by a Michael Smith Health Research BC Convening and Collaborating award.