Stories of HopeGovernment of Alberta Announces Investment in Women’s Health with $10M Legacy Grant to the AWHF

Posted on: May 03, 2024

Today marks a historic day, with the Government of Alberta announcing a total investment of $26M toward supporting women and children’s health—including a $10M legacy grant to the AWHF.

Today marks a historic day in the name of women’s health in Canada. 

In a press conference hosted by the Government of Alberta regarding Budget 2024, Premier Danielle Smith, alongside Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women Tanya Fir, and Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange, shared about important investments being made in women’s and newborn health.  

The announcement centred on the government’s total investment of $26 million toward supporting women and children’s health in Alberta.  

Notably, one of the main investments discussed was the $10 million legacy grant created for the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation, to be distributed over the next two years. 

As Premier Smith stated in her remarks, “Alberta is home to some of the country’s best universities and research institutions which regularly contribute cutting-edge research in a huge range of fields, and that includes medical science. We want to ensure Alberta’s position as a leader in women’s health research and increase our ability to attract distinguished researchers from other parts of Canada and from around the world. That’s why we’re investing $20 M over two years to advance women’s health research in Alberta.”  

Premier Smith announced the $10 M grant for the AWHF will go toward supporting research on many of the most common women’s health conditions.  

Minister LaGrange added how this support will also go toward improving care for conditions like cervical cancer, heart disease, and other conditions that disproportionately affect women, and support the foundation’s efforts to attract top researchers to Alberta to assist in the discovery of medical breakthroughs, foster awareness, prioritize preventative measures, and empower individuals to make informed choices about their health and seek timely care when needed.  

Premier Smith further explained how a matching $10 million grant for the Calgary Health Foundation will go toward funding health projects that will make breakthroughs for possibly thousands of Alberta’s women. 

Exciting news was also shared about the government’s $6M investment that will go toward expanding the Newborn Screening Program, an early detection program which currently screens for 22 treatable conditions and will be expanded to 26, making it one of the most comprehensive programs in the country. 

Foundation leadership Sharlene Rutherford, President and CEO of the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation and Murray Sigler, President and CEO of the Calgary Health Foundation, were each invited to share a few words about the grants, both expressing their gratitude for the government’s support for women’s health and acknowledging the significant impact of said investments.  

As Sharlene stated, “Advances in diagnosis and treatment always begin with research and today, the Government of Alberta stands shoulder to shoulder with our province’s 2.2 million women and girls and their healthy futures. We know that women’s health equates to women’s wealth and serves to bolster economies.

Sharlene continued, “The $10 million dollar legacy grant from the Alberta Government will serve as premium fuel for progress, igniting innovation and refining outcomes for all. Because when we solve for women, we solve for society.”  

Dr. Erin Brennand, Department Head of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Calgary’s Cummings School of Medicine as well as a practicing gynecologist at Foothills Medical Center, also shared some perspective around the importance of this investment, including outlining the many ways that improved women’s health has far-reaching effects, spelling increased prosperity for Alberta’s families, communities, and workforce, and by extension our economy. 

All of the speakers touched on the many unique barriers that women face and the gaps that exist, and how it is finally time for women’s health research to receive the attention and funding it deserves. 

In closing, Minister Fir reiterated the significance of today’s announcement and expressed her appreciation for the AWHF and CHF, for the work both foundations do behind the scenes, their commitment to supporting research and ensuring vital health information remains readily available, and for strengthening family healthcare across the province. 

We invite you to join us in celebrating this phenomenal news for the AWHF, CHF, women’s health, children’s health, and ultimately the health of our communities. Please also join us in expressing our deep gratitude for the Government of Alberta for this momentous decision and commitment to supporting women’s health across Alberta and beyond. 

To learn more about the Government of Alberta’s announcement, please read more here:  
Investing in women’s and children’s health |