Research is at the heart of what we do at Women’s College Hospital. Women’s College Research Institute is one of the only research institutes worldwide that focuses on the health of women.
Most of our scientists are women and many are also clinicians. Treating patients helps our scientists understand the issues that need further study to design the best possible care.
Up to half of those who identify as transgender experience sexualized violence in their lifetime.1 It is critical to seek care as soon as possible after sexual assault, but more than a fifth of transgender people in Ontario say they have avoided the hospital emergency department because of past experience of discrimination or the fear they would face discrimination.2
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Dr. Janice Du Mont, EdD, in collaboration with the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, and an expert advisory group, is working to ensure that transgender survivors of violence receive care that meets their needs. Dr. Du Mont surveyed Network forensic nurses about their knowledge and skills caring for trans clients who have been sexually assaulted as part of a project funded by the Women’s Xchange, a women’s health knowledge translation and exchange centre based at Women’s College Hospital. Of the nurses surveyed, 95 per cent said they could benefit from more training. Next, the team will seek funding to develop training and roll it out across the Network.
This research builds on a long legacy of leadership in sexual assault treatment, research and prevention at Women’s College Hospital. The province’s first hospital-based sexual assault centre opened here in 1984 and the Network has since grown to 35 centres across Ontario – delivering evidenced-based care based on leading research from our scientists.
1 (Office for Victims of Crime, June 2014)
2 (Bauer et al., 2014)
Mental illness is one of the most common complications of childbirth but as few as one in five women receive effective treatment. The reasons vary from stigma to barriers accessing care and a lack of comprehensive services that meet the needs of busy mothers.SHOW MORE +
Dr. Simone Vigod, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, a psychiatrist, and the lead of the Reproductive Life Stages Program at Women’s College Hospital, is studying treatment methods and health system solutions to help women access mental health support when and where they need it. She uses her findings to develop better programs, like Mother Matters, an online support group for women with mood or adjustment challenges after the birth of their baby.
Dr. Vigod has developed an online patient decision aid to help women make difficult decisions about taking medications for depression or anxiety during pregnancy. She has also made these decisions easier with new evidence about the safety of antidepressants during pregnancy.
Her latest studies will continue to inform new treatments. For example, she is studying the genetics of postpartum depression through the Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment (PPD ACT™) study, which she launched in Canada in 2017.SHOW LESS -
Women are one of the fastest growing populations at risk for HIV infection and they have worse clinical outcomes than men do. Dr. Mona Loutfy, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, is developing HIV care designed especially for women’s needs to close the health gaps they experience.SHOW MORE +
Dr. Loutfy leads the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS), a national study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The study’s goal is to help women with HIV be as healthy as they can be in every way. For example, study findings have shown that women in Canada receive good treatment for their HIV but their overall women’s health needs — including pregnancy planning, Pap testing and mammograms — are often overlooked. To find and address these gaps, Dr. Loutfy engages women with HIV and their communities to ensure their concerns drive her research questions.
In addition to her research in Canada, Dr. Loutfy has an impact worldwide. She was part of the team that developed the World Health Organization Guideline on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Women Living with HIV.
At the core of her research and practice is a powerful goal: to end HIV stigma.SHOW LESS -
This year, scientists at Women’s College Research Institute have continued to receive prestigious awards and accolades in recognition of their work and excellent scientific impact. The selection of awards below demonstrates the impact our scientists are having, closing health gaps by transforming clinical care and uncovering health system solutions.SHOW MORE +
We often think of science as deeply complex, but it possesses a simple truth: science changes lives.
That truth has never been more sharply in focus than through the work of the Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) team of scientists and researchers, whose dedication to transforming healthcare for women is creating extraordinary global impact.
For our donor community, the vision and potential of WCRI’s work is inspiring generosity, engagement and commitment as never before. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Foundation saw a record-breaking wave of support that included investments in research from every corner of our community. From Peter Gilgan's Tour de Bleu cycling fundraiser, which raised $3 million for breast and ovarian cancer research, to an anonymous investment of $1 million in research that seeks to advance equitable care for older adults by closing the sex and gender data gap, every dollar invested in research was a heartfelt wish for a better, brighter future for the health of women and everyone.SHOW MORE +
I speak on behalf of the entire Foundation team when I say it is a privilege to work alongside WCRI and our powerful donor community to change lives together. As we continue along this journey of growing impact for women around the world, we extend our enduring gratitude to the WCRI team, to the donors who help make this work possible and to the entire Women’s College Hospital community – a community of passionate, dedicated individuals who are changing lives, and the world.
President & CEO
Women’s College Hospital Foundation