With great partnerships come great opportunities. It is with that spirit of partnership that the Women and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI), the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services opened the Lois Hole Hospital Women's Research Centre.
This important research space provides the WCHRI team the ability to facilitate research in women's health without impacting the daily clinical care requirements of the hospital. It allows clinicians to easily participate and further their clinical research programs which contribute to improving patient care and enhancing the knowledge of all care providers.
Research in this facility will impact women at all stages of their lives. Current studies span reproductive health, mental and stress disorders, ovarian/ gynecologic cancer and mature women's health.
In a research-oriented hospital, like the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, the highest level of care is a reality. Clinicians work hand-in-hand with researchers on the leading-edge medicines and procedures to provide the best possible patient outcomes.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, in partnership with the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services and Stollery Children's Foundation, has supported WCHRI since 2006. Our donors have supported over 500 researchers and support four Research Chairs who provide leadership, mentorship and groundbreaking research in mature women's health, ovarian cancer, obstetrics and gynecology, and in perinatal mental health.
In its first year, it is estimated that forty research groups will actively used this clinical research space. Demand for the space is expected to increase each year as additional research groups and clinicians become aware of the space.
We have included some of the spectacular research that has happened in the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and that will be facilitated by this research space below.
Dr. Sue Ross
As the Cavarzan Chair for Mature Women’s Health Research, Dr. Sue Ross has embarked on a mission to bring awareness to mature women’s health research. Working in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team, she leads a Canada-wide research mandate in the management of menopausal symptoms, pelvic floor disorders and pelvic organ prolapse. With the increase of an aging population in Canada’s near future, there is a growing demand for translational solutions for this demographic.
Dr. Ross’s focus is on improving the patient experience, and seeks to ensure the safety and efficacy of treatments available to mature women. By increasing the type and quality of treatment options available to mature women, Dr. Ross hopes to empower women to select treatments best suited to their particular physical, emotional and psychological needs. Although writing and research are at the fore for this Chair, Dr. Ross cites her everyday interactions with patients and clinicians at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women as being an instrumental to her research success.
Dr. Rhonda Bell
A team of WCHRI researchers have investigated the causes and consequences of women eating more sugary treats during pregnancy, with the goal of understanding why pregnant women consumed more sugar and how that affected the health of the mother and child. Together the team, led by Dr. Rhonda Bell, with co-leaders Drs. Denise Hemmings, Donna Manca, Arya Sharma, Maria Mayan and Venu Jain, received a partnership grant from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and WCHRI. They called themselves “Sweet Moms” and endeavoured to uncover the not-so-sweet effects of sugar during pregnancy and after.
Dr. David Olson
The Fort McMurray fire in 2016 is the costliest disaster in Canadian history but the stress of the fire and evacuation could have had an extra adverse outcome for women experiencing pregnancy during the fire and evacuation.
Dr. David Olson's work on studying various genetic, physiological and environmental factors that contribute to both term and preterm labour allowed him to administer an intervention and to analyze expressive writing therapy techniques to see how they coincide with stress reduction, pregnancy outcomes and newborn development in victims of natural disaster
Dr. Lynne Postovit
As the Sawin-Baldwin Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research, Dr. Lynne Postovit’s goal is to identify better biomarkers for ovarian cancer and try improve our understanding of how advanced ovarian cancers are able to resist therapy or treatment. She has developed a team from a variety of fields, including surgery, pathology and biochemistry, to assist in this objective.
Motivated by her desire to make a difference in the lives of her patients, Dr. Postovit brings passion and immediacy to this cause. By detecting cancer as early as possible, patients can move swiftly towards treatment and healing.
Dr. Vera Caine and Roxanne Tootoosis
Dr. Vera Caine and research assistant, Roxanne Tootoosis examined the experience of Indigenous women who have faced perinatal loss. Dr. Caine, sought to address how health care practices, bereavement programs and policies can be improved for Indigenous women that have experienced this tragedy. To do this, they decided to speak to the women themselves and hear their stories.
The findings of this research have been implemented into Alberta Health Care policies and practices for enhancing service to Indigenous women in the bereavement program at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.