PRESS RELEASEJune 14, 2016

The Voices of A Thousand Women Will Shape the Future of Healthcare

  • June 14, 2016

June 21, 2016  |  Download Release


TORONTO, ON – June 21, 2016 – Today, Women's College Hospital (WCH) released the results of a follow-­‐up study to the inaugural 2010 A Thousand Voices for Women's Health report that explored what women want from hospitals and healthcare services. In the 2016 study, WCH set out to learn what has changed since 2010 and how women's healthcare needs are being met today. More than 1,000 women from across Ontario, with diverse backgrounds, shared their personal stories, insights and experiences. They identified what was working, what can be improved and highlighted where the biggest gaps in the health of women occur. The results will help to shape future programs and services offered at the hospital and are also being shared by WCH with stakeholders and partners across the healthcare system.

"Our original study influenced the construction and design of our new hospital building. The voices of the women from that study are reflected in the look and feel of our light-­‐filled atrium, our wide and bright hallways and our common spaces that offer a place for thoughtful reflection," said Marilyn Emery, President & CEO, Women's College Hospital. "But we know there is still work to be done when it comes to advocating for, and advancing, the health of women. With our second study, we wanted to dig even deeper with women who represent the many diverse community of patients we serve so that we can continue to narrow the health gaps women experience, not just at our hospital but around the province and throughout the country."

The study findings are divided into three distinct sections:

  • Collective Voices – pulls together the main themes that surfaced and reflects on what has changed and what issues continue to be at the forefront.
  • Seldom Heard Voices – is a deep-­‐dive into some marginalized and disadvantaged communities that face specific issues accessing healthcare. It features the voices of women who are often overlooked when it comes to how the health system can best serve patients. The section features insights from young women aged 16 and 17, those who are new to Canada, Indigenous women, senior women with chronic illness and women from the LGBTQ community as well as women with physical disabilities, those who act as caregivers and women from low-­‐income communities.
  • How Women's College is Closing the Gap – Is the third section of the report. It provides an overview on how the hospital is addressing many of the issues raised.

What Women Told WCH
Women want:

    • Respectful, compassionate care
    • Personalized healthcare
    • Integrated care
    • Care that is accessible and seamless
    • Their healthcare organization to be a place of wellness, not illness
  • 95 per cent said it is important that their healthcare organization provides respectful, non-­‐ judgmental care; yet, only 75 per cent feel that their healthcare organization is successful at doing so
  • 94 per cent say it is important that their healthcare organization recognizes and respects patients' unique and individual needs; yet, only 61 per cent feel their healthcare organizations are successful at doing so
  • 62 per cent felt that they experience barriers to accessing healthcare for themselves and/or their families
  • 47 per cent are often disappointed by the healthcare they receive

"The women who participated in our study, told us very clearly what they want and need from our healthcare system – integrated, accessible care that is free from judgment," said Emery. "Equity is one of Women's College Hospital's core values and it is my personal commitment that it will continue to be at the forefront of everything we do. These women shared their personal, and often difficult, stories and together, with our healthcare partners, we are going to ensure that their voices are heard."

About the Study Methodology
The study was fielded between August 2015 and February 2016 by Leger and Strategic Navigator using an iterative, mixed methodology approach to capture both depth and breadth of insights. First, a quantitative study was conducted among 1,260 Ontario women and girls from diverse cultural and socio-­‐economic backgrounds examining how healthcare was being delivered throughout the province and identifying where improvements need to be made. Qualitative research was then conducted which included both online and face-­‐to-­‐face community forums focusing on communities where the quantitative study indicated women were falling through the gaps with respect to healthcare.

Full results of the 2016 A Thousand Voices for Women's Health report can be found at



About Women’s College Hospital 

For more than 100 years Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been developing revolutionary advances in healthcare. Today, WCH is a world leader in the health of women and Canada’s leading, academic ambulatory hospital. A champion of health equity, WCH advocates for the health of all women from diverse cultures and backgrounds and ensures their needs are reflected in the care they receive. It focuses on delivering innovative solutions that address Canada’s most pressing issues related to population health, patient experience and system costs. The WCH Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV) is developing new, scalable models of care that deliver improved outcomes for patients and sustainable solutions for the health system as a whole. 

For more information about how WCH is transforming patient care and leading health system solutions, visit

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