JHF & WHAMglobal head to Canada for women’s health study tour

Kate Dickerson, Beverly Morrow, Roberta Pike, Kelly Dobbins, Christine Hunter, Laurie Zephyrin, Fleur Sack, Sharon London Liss, and Mara Leff at the Toronto Birth Centre.

The Women's Health Study Tour coincided with the International Women's Forum World Leadership Conference in Toronto, an invitation-only gathering of more than 7,000 women from 33 nations across six continents. In the two days leading up to the conference, JHF organized a women's health study tour, bringing together eight women leaders from across the country.

Canada has long been a country with health outcomes superior to the United States, particularly in rates of maternal and infant mortality and overall life expectancy. With its National Health Insurance policies, Canada also spends far less of its GDP on health care than the United States – 11.6% compared to nearly 18%.

To learn about the Canadian system's innovative care models, WHAMglobal Chair Debra Caplan, JHF's CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, Women's Health Specialist Kate Dickerson, and Director of Innovation Mara Leff led a tour to examine successful models for women's care across the lifespan from pregnancy to seniority. Other study tour attendees included:

Simon Frank, Beverly Morrow, Fleur Sack, Christine Hunter, Susie Shipley, Mara Leff, Kate Dickerson, Rosanne Aleong, and Mel Barsky at Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation.

Christine Hunter, MD, Rear Admiral in the US Navy Medical Corps (ret); Beverly A. Morrow, Owner of TLM Management (ret.); Fleur Sack, MD, FACOG, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas; Simon Frank, MD, Anesthesiologist (ret.); Susie Shipley, President of Huntington Bank's Pennsylvania & Ohio Valley Region; Laurie Zephyrin, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice President of Health Care Delivery System Reform at The Commonwealth Fund.

Expertly planned by CPO Nancy Zionts, the tour commenced with a group visit to the Toronto Birth Centre, a state-of-the-art, federally funded birthing facility as part of Canada's extensive midwifery maternal care system. Participants met the director of the Ontario Midwives Association to learn about credentialing and regulation of this well-integrated women's health specialty.

The group then met with national experts in issues that affect women, such as cardiovascular disease and menopause. First the group met globally recognized expert Dr. Wendy Wolfman, the Director of the Menopause Clinic and The Premature Ovarian Failure Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital. The Premature Ovarian Failure Clinic is the first and only one of its kind in the world, and runs one of the most sought after training programs for physicians focused on mature women's health.

Following the meeting with Dr. Wolfman, the group met Dr. Susanna Mak, Mount Sinai's Department Division Director for Cardiology. Dr. Mak studies the gendered differences in cardiac physiology by implanting catheters in men and women over an unprecedented period of their lives.

The study tour concluded with a tour of Baycrest and the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI). Founded in 1918 as the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, Baycrest is now a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare research and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. CABHI accelerates innovation in the aging and brain health sector and represents one of the largest investments of its kind in the world.

After the study tour, JHF staff hosted the third gathering of the IWF Women in Health Care Special Interest Group, breaking records with more than 140 women in attendance.

Debra Caplan, Karen Feinstein, Jennifer Pearlman, Aradhna Oliphant, and Susie Shipley at the IWF Conference.

The first formal program of the IWF's Women in Health Care Special Interest Group — initiated by JHF President Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, and WHAMglobal Chair Debra Caplan, MPA, attracted a global potpourri of 130 women in Barcelona, Spain. The group brings together women leaders in the fields of health care and beyond to discuss innovative ways to improve women's health and health care in general.

The breakfast program featured keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Pearlman, an internationally recognized medical expert in women's health, hormone therapy, and cosmetic medicine. "When I think about my goals for patients, I think about their health span which speaks to quality, their life span which speaks to longevity, and their brain span which speaks to satisfaction," asserted Dr. Pearlman.

IWF Pittsburgh President Debra Caplan closed the breakfast with encouraging words about the group's potential impact and future plans to gather in London at the next global IWF conference.

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