Women’s College Research Institute

To learn more about Women’s College Research Institute is leading innovative, high impact research for a healthier, more equitable world, click here.

Gender in healthcare: Closing the research gap for women
Women make up the vast majority of Canada’s older population – yet their unique healthcare needs are under-researched and often overlooked. In fact, older women are often spoken of as the “invisible majority”. Dr. Paula Rochon, Vice President, Research at Women’s College Hospital shares how her work is helping to close the research gap for women. Click here to watch the video. 
A history of groundbreaking research discoveries
For generations, Women’s College Hospital has been at the leading-edge of health research that strives to improve the health of women. Here are just a few milestones in Women’s College Hospital’s history of achievement for women’s health research.
Women’s College Hospital opens Ontario’s first cancer detection clinic, pioneering the practice of screening healthy women for early signs of cancer.
Women’s College Hospital researchers develop the simplified Pap test as we know it today, making it possible for the procedure to be completed in a physician’s office rather than a specialized research setting.

Dr. Jessie Gray, Women’s College Hospital’s surgeon-in-chief from 1945-1965, becomes the first woman appointed to the Science Council of Canada (known today as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research).

Bay Centre for Birth Control opens at Women’s College Hospital, becoming a leading site for clinical trials of contraceptives, including the earliest low-dose birth control pills.

Dr. Marion Powell, director of the Bay Centre and known as “the mother of birth control in Canada,” finds that the estrogen/progesterone balance in a birth control pill is an important factor in determining its impact on cholesterol – changes that could put a woman at greater risk of heart disease.

Dr. Steven Narod, director of the hereditary cancers research team, co-discovers the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are shown to dramatically increase a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Research by Dr. Janice DuMont showing widespread inconsistencies in collection of forensic evidence in post-sexual assault care leads to standardization of evidence collection procedures in communities across Canada.   
WCRI researchers find that women and men are often treated differently by physicians in clinical practice, revealing systemic gender bias that could carry negative implications for the health of women. The study was the first of its kind.

Dr. Mohammad R. Akbari discovers that the RECQL gene increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. 

Women’s College Research Institute is named a Top 40 research hospital in Canada for the sixth year in a row.