UHN Women's Health Program researchers are engaged in a range of work focused on addressing sex- and gender-based disparities in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and in the structures and processes of healthcare. Examples of current activities include:

Understanding how longstanding sex and gender disparities across diagnoses and specialties can be addressed at their root causes in ways that will help women across the health continuum:
Scientists at the Wilson Centre, including Drs. Whitehead, Ginsburg, Soklaridis, and Kuper, are leading ground-breaking research addressing equity and social justice in health professionals' education, as well as the effect of sex and gender on teaching, mentorship, and leadership.

Focus on bone health:
Osteoporosis is characterized by bone weakness that can lead to fractures, disability, and impaired quality of life. Over 80% of people with osteoporosis are women. Drs. Angela Cheung and Lianne Tile are studying cutting-edge treatments to improve the care of people with osteoporosis and are leading the development of practice guidelines to ensure that the best care is delivered to all.

Tackling inequities in cardiovascular disease:
Women with heart disease and stroke are underdiagnosed and undertreated compared to men, often with significant consequences for health. They are also under-represented in research studies, and this is particularly true of groups that have been historically marginalized based on race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, and where the burden of disease is highest. Drs. Husam Abdel-Qadir, Tracey Colella, Sherry Grace, Moira Kapral, Amy Kirkham, Susan Marzolini, Aleksandra Pikula, Holly Wykes, and Jay Udell are conducting research aimed at identifying, understanding, and addressing cardiovascular disease inequities based on sex, gender, and other factors.

Optimizing person-centred care for women:
Dr. Anna Gagliardi's work focuses on optimizing organizational, patient and family engagement to optimize person-centred care for diverse women across the lifespan. Dr. Valeria Rac's research focuses on innovative technologies related to chronic disease management, including devices, services, complex interventions and programs, designed to empower women, deliver best outcomes, and create high-performing, cost-effective healthcare systems. Dr. Donna Stewart (inaugural director of the Women's Health Program) is a global leader in women's mental health research. Dr. Alisa Grigorovich leads work related to the role of stigma and other structural factors driving health inequity across rehabilitation and community care settings. Dr. Miki Peer performs interdisciplinary research on brain/mind-body interactions applied to women's mental health, particularly during reproductive transitions. Ms. Dalia Al-Mouaswas brings principles of equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility to her work on artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Improving care for gynecological and breast cancers: Dr. Amit Oza is an international leader in Gynecologic Oncology and leads key clinical trials leading to the development of new therapies. Dr. Genevieve Bouchard-Fortier's< research focuses on improving the quality of care of gynecology oncology patients as well as developing quality metrics to measure outcomes. She leads a perioperative care program for minimally invasive gynecologic oncology surgical patients to shorten length of stay, reduce opioid use, improve patient experience and reduce costs. Dr. Swati Garg works on international trials in gynecologic oncology and advocates for equitable access to genetic testing for women's cancers. Dr. Marcus Bernardini is leading pan-Canadian studies to identify the best ways of treating ovarian and endometrial cancers. Dr. Sarah Ferguson's research focuses on improving surgical techniques and patient outcomes, survivorship and supportive care for gynecological cancers. Drs. Tulin Cil and Michelle Nadler are leading studies designed to identify new treatment options for breast cancer.

Understanding the impact of sex and gender on kidney disease, lung disease, critical care, epilepsy, and other medical conditions:
Drs. Charmaine Lok, Ana Konvalinka<, and Kathryn Tinckam are leading research and clinical projects focused on understanding and improving outcomes from chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, and kidney transplants in women. Dr. Azadeh Yadollahi is leading studies on the optimal management of sleep apnea and asthma in women. Dr. Margaret Herridge is leading national and international studies on critical care and recovery after critical illness and COVID-19 in women. Dr. Esther Bui is leading research and clinical programs focused on the management of epilepsy in women.

Improving care in pregnancy:
Drs. Candice Silversides, Shital Gandhi, Lena Serghides, Nadine Shehata, Sara Thorne and Rachel Wald are leading research designed to optimize the care of pregnant people with cardiac disease, blood disorders, HIV, and other medical conditions.​

The UHN Research IDEA website has many helpful resources for researchers seeking to integrate sex and gender into their research design and grant applications, as well as best practices for peer review and student supervision.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Gender and Health has additional resources related to incorporating sex, gender, and intersectional analyses in research:

Back to Top