Stories of HopeLois Hole Hospital for Women brings health research to the point of care

Posted on: May 29, 2018

A new chapter in women’s health excellence begins today as the Lois Hole Hospital for Women marks the opening of dedicated research space under its roof.

The Lois Hole Hospital Women’s Research Centre is Alberta’s newest research space, dedicated to improving the lives of women through the powerful and collaborative efforts of clinicians and researchers working together alongside a large and diverse patient population.Research space 2

The research centre is the result of a strong and committed partnership that includes the Women and Children’s Research Institute (WCHRI), Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation (RAHF), the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (FoMD) and Alberta Health Services (AHS).

Community support through donor dollars was instrumental in the creation of the space.

“To be a leading women’s hospital, our donors understand that outstanding clinical care is shaped by ongoing research,” says Andrew Otway, President and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. “Having embedded research in the Lois Hole Hospital for Women will mean improved clinical outcomes for the women this hospital serves.”

Waiting as shelled space for eight years, construction of the new clinical research centre is now complete. Located adjacently to the specialized clinics offered by the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, the smartly-planned research space includes interview rooms, study areas equipped with ultrasound and other necessary equipment, and telehealth and conference rooms.

The Lois Hole Hospital Women’s Research Centre was made possible with a $1-million donation from supporters of the Lois Hole Hospital for Women through the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry matched these donated funds with an additional $1 million and further support was provided from Alberta Health Services and WCHRI. 

Immediate areas of research include high-risk pregnancy and reproductive health, mental health, urogynecology, mature women’s health, ovarian and gynecologic cancer research. 

As interdisciplinary research teams begin to utilize the space immediately, it is expected that usage will increase over time.

“There are few women’s hospitals in Canada so strongly conducive to the integration of research in clinical care,” says Sandy Davidge, Executive Director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI), U of A Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology, and Tier I Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health. “Women are often underrepresented in research. This centre will contribute, in a significant way, to the correction of this imbalance.”  

Research space 3Research topics across a broad spectrum of health issues that impact women of all ages and stages of women’s lives will be studied here. The space is a conducive environment in which patients can easily participate in research without impacting the daily clinical requirements of the hospital.

“This clinical research space is going to help new collaborations come together by acting as a catalyst and bringing researchers and clinicians from different disciplines together,” says Sue Ross, Cavarzan Chair in Mature Women’s Health Research at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. “We can be a driving force in women’s health research and this is going to help us do it.”

“The integration of clinical care research and education help ensure our staff and physicians at our site are able to provide the best possible patient outcomes,” explains Janie Clink, Executive Director, Lois Hole Hospital for Women. “Thanks to the support of our educational and philanthropic partners, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women will remain at the forefront of research which will help advance women’s health and improve outcomes for women across Alberta."