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WCRI Provides Home to Graduate Program in Women’s Health Research

from the November 30, 2009 issue of Connect

WCRI Provides Home to Graduate Program in Women’s Health Research

Since the development and inception of the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health three years ago, Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) has co-ordinated and provided support services to this unique program. The program fosters interdisciplinary training in women’s health research to University of Toronto graduate students from faculties such as medicine, arts and science, nursing, dentistry, information studies and social work. Student enrollment in the program has doubled since it started and includes WCRI scientist trainees.

The students come from diverse disciplines including anthropology, English, immunology, nutrition and rehabilitation sciences. But all of them have a common interest – women’s health. The program, which grants a certificate in women’s health, consists of monthly seminars and a core course, Gender and Health.

At the monthly seminars, students have the opportunity to share their research and receive cross-disciplinary feedback from a faculty member working on the same research but from a different discipline.

“Through the seminars we’re able to connect with other graduate students and researchers who have similar interests in women’s health,” says Danielle Rolfe, a fourth year PhD student enrolled in the Collaborative Graduate Program who has worked in the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program at Women’s College. “And the added benefit is that everyone in the program comes from diverse backgrounds so they often have different perspectives on the research.”

In the Gender and Health course, different women’s health researchers speak about their research and how it applies to understanding sex and gender. And this course is currently being taught by Robin Mason and Janice Du Mont, both WCRI scientists.

“Consistent with the mission of Women’s College Hospital and WCRI, the Collaborative Program brings together the biological and psychological – sex and gender – so students can develop a shared understanding of the complex interactions that affect women’s health,” adds Gillian Einstein, director of the Collaborative Graduate Program. “The University of Toronto is very grateful to Women’s College Research Institute for supporting and nurturing this program.”

The Collaborative Graduate Program is one of a number of WCRI initiatives that support research trainees. To learn more about the opportunities at WCRI, research trainees from WCH are invited to attend monthly trainee breakfasts on the second Wednesday of every month from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at the Women’s College Research Institute (790 Bay Street, 7th floor). The next trainee breakfast will be held Dec. 9 with speaker Kelly Metcalfe. For more information contact Lisa Hall at 416-351-3732 ext. 2331 or lisa.hall@wchospital.ca

For more information on the Collaborative Graduate Research Program, click here. http://www.womensresearch.ca/graduate/index.html

The Collaborative Research Graduate Program
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