Is someone close to you in a nursing home or long-term care facility? Please consider filling out this survey!

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From the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, York University

We are a group of researchers with the national working group, Women and Health Protection, based at York University. We have a longstanding interest in the uses of prescription medications and in this project want to learn about the experiences of  people who have family members* in long-term care facilities who may be taking prescription drugs.  Family members often have the most direct knowledge about these issues and have much to contribute to a discussion about medication use. We hope to find out more about these experiences from responses to this survey, and plan to use this (anonymously-provided) information to develop a series of recommendations that may make things better for seniors in care.

If you are involved with the care of someone in a nursing home or long term care facility, we invite you to fill out the survey found at the following link:

The survey will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. All information you provide will be anonymous; no one is required to provide a name. More information about our research is provided in the introduction to the survey   The closing date for completing this survey is Monday, 21 March 2011.

We thank you in advance for helping us out.   And please pass this invitation to others you know who may have a family member* in long term care so we can hear from as diverse a group as possible.  We have also attached a pdf of the survey if individuals would prefer to fill it in manually and return to us by mail.

Anne Rochon Ford, Co-Director
National Network on Environments and Women’s Health

International Women’s Day 2011 - Celebrating a Century

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International Women’s Day was first celebrated a century ago in Europe, as women rallied for the right to vote and to end discrimination. Here in North America, the day was first observed to honour the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against their working conditions.

This year, honouring that original inspiration for IWD, the United Nations’ theme for the March 8 celebration is Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

At CWHN we welcome March 8 as a time to celebrate those women who, collaboratively and with great perseverance, have built the women’s health movement over the past century. We also see it as an opportunity to applaud those who continue striving to improve the health of women and girls in Canada and throughout the world.

Here are just some of the IWD 2011 events that are happening this year across Canada:



Webcast - Reflections on Women’s Health and Women’s Status: National and Global Perspectives

International Women's Day 2011: A Call for Dignity in Retirement for Women – Canadian Labour Congress

Status of Women Canada – Girls Rights Matter



Newfoundland - International Women’s Day Exhibition

Halifax - International Women’s Day

Motivational Interviewing Webinar Now Available

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CWHN & NEDIC webinar - Motivational Interviewing: how does this innovative therapy help some women with Binge Eating Disorder?

Click here to view the webinar (1 hour long, recorded February 8, 2011)

Presented by the Canadian Women’s Health Network in collaboration with National Eating Disorder Information Centre during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Motivational interviewing is a non-confrontational psychotherapy approach designed to work with feelings of ambivalence that people might have about making behavioural changes. The therapist expresses empathy and supports the client’s self-determination. Dr. Stephanie Cassin presents the findings of her research on the efficacy of Motivational Interviewing with people who have Binge Eating Disorder. 

Click below to download the PowerPoint

For other info, check out:

Academy for Eating Disorders

Look at the Forest Hill Centre for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to find out about Dr. Cassin's therapeutic approach and contact info

Join NEDIC and leading-edge practitioners, educators and activists at a conference May 2-3, 2011

Sex, Lies & Pharmaceuticals: How drug companies plan to profit from “female sexual dysfunction”

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Webinar with Dr. Barbara Mintzes, co-author of the new book by the same name

Click here to view the webinar (1 hour long, recorded December 14, 2010)

The Canadian Women’s Health Network welcomes drug assessment specialist Dr. Barbara Mintzes to discuss the medicalization of women’s sexuality by pharmaceutical  companies. Mintzes will look at the ways women’s sexual difficulties are being repackaged as symptoms of a disorder called “female sexual dysfunction” in order to feed a marketing machine that promises to “cure” it. Mintzes will use examples from her research for  Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals to demonstrate how global drug companies are exploiting the exploration of women’s sexual dissatisfaction in an attempt to create the next billion dollar disease.

Mintzes is an Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, part of the UBC Centre for Health Services & Policy Research, and a Steering Committee member of Women and Health Protection.

Production of this event has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

Gender-bending Pollution & Environmental Justice: The Way We Talk About Endocrine Disruption

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The event may be over, but you can still hear Dayna Scott's compelling presentation! A complete audio recording and powerpoint are available for download below.

Dayna Nadine Scott, co-director of the National Network on Environments and Women's Health, will discuss the environmental health effects of long-term, low-dose exposure to pollutants, with a focus on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserve near Sarnia, Ontario. This community, in the midst of Canada's largest petro-chemical complex, has seen a drastic decline in male newborns in recent years.

Scott is cross-appointed between York University’s law school and the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her current research examines the way we talk about “endocrine disruption” from critical perspective. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McGill’s Faculty of Law, and a Fulbright Fellowship at NYU Law School.

Production of this event has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

Should we think before we pink?

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Most of us are aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is virtually impossible to NOT see pink these days. Interestingly, the pink campaign is far removed from its origins in the early 1990’s, when Charlotte Haley used a peach-coloured ribbon to protest the glaring lack of research into cancer prevention. The cosmetics conglomerate Estée Lauder saw a marketing opportunity, and tried to buy the rights to use Haley’s ribbon, but she refused, having created the ribbon to inspire women to become politically active, not to sell products. The peach turned pink, and now we have thousands of pink products to choose from, including breath mints, footballs, perfume, vodka, and KFC. One night recently Estée Lauder bathed Parliament Hill in pink light as part of their Global Illuminations Initiative to raise money for breast cancer research, and Laureen Harper, our Prime Minister’s wife, was the company’s Pink Ribbon Ambassador.

On the face of it, purchasing pink might seem like a noble way to support a good cause. But growing numbers of people – including cancer prevention groups – are alarmed at this pink tidal wave of merchandise and they question whether buying pink actually works. They are saying, as Breast Cancer Action Montreal (BCAM) stated when launching their Alternatives to Pink campaign:  “It's time to move past pink-ribbon shopping to prevent breast cancer.”

Decriminalizing Prostitution: Good for women’s health?

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October 2010

Will decriminalizing prostitution do more good than harm to Canada’s sex workers, most of whom are women?

This is the public debate being waged since Ontario Superior Court Judge Susan Himel made her landmark ruling decriminalizing prostitution on September 28, 2010. Ruling in favour of plaintiffs Amy Lebovitch, Terri-Jean Bedford, and Valerie Scott, Himel stated that the laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and living on the avails violated the women’s Charter rights to freedom of expression and security of the person. The ruling, which opens the way for similar judgments in other provinces, will not take effect in Ontario until the end of October. The federal government has announced that it is appealing the decision.

Important to this debate is how this ruling will affect the health of sex workers, most of whom are women.

Many maintain that decriminalizing prostitution will improve the health status of sex workers. Recently the Canadian Medical Association Journal decried “the hypocrisy of Canada’s prostitution legislation”, arguing that women sex workers on the street or “street-involved-women” experience “some of the worst health outcomes in our society, including drug-related harms, trauma, and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Standardized mortality rates among female street-based sex workers are higher than any other population of women in North America, with homicide being the most common cause of death.”

Overheard......from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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As world leaders meet in New York September 20-22, 2010 to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reflects on “Gender Inequality and the MDGs: What are the Missing Dimensions?

How is women’s physical security linked to maternal mortality?

Countries where social institutions are highly discriminatory towards women tend to score poorly against the human development targets used to track progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)… .

Women’s physical security, inside and outside their homes, is compromised by various forms of harmful traditional practices and violence against women throughout the world. Not only does this have physical and psychological consequences for women and girls, but it can also reduce their access to health services, and can limit their ability to negotiate safe motherhood. Where women are victims of violence or are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), they are at a much greater risk of experiencing complications or death during pregnancy and delivery.

Maternal mortality is on average higher in countries where women are more discriminated against with regards to their physical integrity. In the ten countries where women’s physical integrity is least protected (Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Guinea), maternal mortality ratios are on average twice as high as elsewhere. However, the two key measures of women’s physical integrity – violence against women and female genital mutilation (FGM) – are overlooked in MDG 5, despite clearly playing a role in the rate of maternal mortality… .

Maternal health - Brush up on the evidence before the summits

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Read ten reasons you should care about maternal health and the G8 in Best Health magazine with information from Susan White, CWHN's Executive Director

With the start of the G8/G20 summits in Ontario just around the corner, the topic of maternal and child health and Canada’s most recent commitments to furthering these goals have received widespread coverage in the media. Before the summits begin, CWHN has compiled some key facts and readings to consider.

In the year 2000, the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were endorsed by all 192 member states of the United Nations. These international development goals are aimed at improving the conditions of the world’s poorest nations in measurable ways by the year 2015.

But ten years after the original MDGs were set, goals 4 and 5 – improving maternal health and reducing child mortality - are considered by many to be the furthest behind. Read what progress has been made in the just released report Countdown to 2015: taking stock of maternal, newborn & child survival


Why does maternal and child health need to be a priority?

Maternal Health Internationally - What's Really Needed?

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Click here to view the webinar (1 hour long, recorded June 16, 2010)

Download the presentation PowerPoint here (courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute)

The Canadian Women’s Health Network welcomes Katherine McDonald, Executive Director of Action Canada for Population and Development, to discuss what the evidence shows about maternal health internationally and how this relates to gender equality and human rights.

McDonald will discuss sexual and reproductive health in the developing world and offer historical context to the current political discussion. She will talk about women's health and reproductive rights in international law and discuss the disparities between the Global South and North.

Before joining ACPD in 1997, McDonald practiced law for ten years, and was the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Public Legal Education Society, and President of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She is a Past President of Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada, and a past member of the governing bodies of International Planned Parenthood Federation. She holds a law degree from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Laws from the University of Ottawa.

Production of this event has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

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