Women's Health Resources

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The Helper is the title of a video produced by Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women's Association of Canada on traditional midwifery. The video tells how traditional midwifery in isolated or rural communities can be a healthy alternative to forcing women to leave their communities to give birth. Cost $30. Contact:
The Inuit Women's Association of Canada
192 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 1W8
Phone (613) 238-3977  Fax (613) 238-1787

Unshielded: The Human Cost of the Dalkon Shield, by Mary F Hawkins, published by University of Toronto Press. This new book is a recounting of the Dalkon Shield, widely used as a contraceptive IUD for millions of women in the early 1970s. Despite questionable research conducted by its manufacturer, A.H. Robins, and painful side effects, it was over 15 years before its damaging effects were formally made public. While over 300,000 victims brought charges against the manufacturer, destroyed medical reports, inadequate legal representation and other bungles resulted in some claimants receiving as little as $100. Says Hawkins, the author of Unshielded, "the lessons from this tragic incident have not been learned."

Women's Health and Safety is the title of a group of videos available from the National Film Board of Canada on women's health issues, including: Not Yet Diagnosed, a video about how women are treated by the medical establishment; The Sterilization of Leilani Muir, about the forced sterilization of Muir and her search for justice; and Under Wraps, a proactive and frank look at the lengths to which society has gone to conceal menstruation. Cost $39.94 each. Contact:
The National Film Board of Canada Sales and Customer Services,
D-10 PO Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville
Montreal QC H3C 3H5
Tel 1-800-267-7710   Fax (514) 283-7564

The Health needs of Somali Women in the Lower Mainland
There are 70,000 Somalians in Canada and this publication provides helpful information for health care providers on this new and growing immigrant and refugee community. The report provides health care practitioners with a framework for addressing Somali women's health needs, many of whom have particular health problems due to circumcision (also called female genital mutilation). Addresses childbirth concerns, mental health and birth control and other issues. Available from:
B.C. Women's Office of Health Promotion
4500 Oak Street
Vancouver BC V6H 3N1
Tel (604) 875-2268  Fax (604) 875-3136

Le guide Fertilité et milieux de travail
This guide summarizes fertility factors. It describes workplace conditions that can have an adverse effect on fertility as well as individual factors influencing fertility. This publication also reviews studies examining infertility factors of the workplace. The Fertility and the Workplace Guide is available in French only for $7.00 from:
4428 Saint Laurent Blvd. Suite 302, Montreal (QC) H2W 1Z5
Tel: (514) 844-3721

The ABCs of Finding Information on Breast Cancer, a package of resource material that teaches health consumers how to assess research, studies and think critically. Lots of web sites, books and organizations. Kit published by:
Breast Cancer Info Link, Prairies/NWT
c/o Alberta Cancer Board,
1331-29 Street NW, Calgary AB  T2N 4N2
Tel toll-free 1-800-555-8698

Federation of Medical Women of Canada Newsletter. Published quarterly for the Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) by the Canadian Medical Association, this newsletter is sent to FMWC members. The latest issue reports that a majority of FMWC members ranked reproductive health (69%) as the most common women's health issue seen in women physicians' practices, followed by mental health (43%) and mature women's health (40%). Other features include a new columnist on lesbian health issues. [Available in French and English].
Membership rates vary from $125 (active) to $20 (intern/resident). Forward membership inquiries to:
815 Alta Vista Dr. Ste 107, Ottawa, ON K1G 3Y6
Tel (613) 731-1026  Fax (613) 731-8748
E-mail: secal60@ibm.net

Stop the Tears is an information package on violence against women designed for medical practitioners. This practical kit contains data on violence against women, identifies injury patterns and psychological indicators and provides practitioners with questions and tips on documentation for clients who may be victims of violence. Produced by Searle, in cooperation with the Patient Education Committee of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the kit contains a friendly button that says, "Domestic Violence: You Can Talk to Me" and provides a list of community resources in communities across Canada. [Available in English and French].
Contact: Karen Cranwill
Searle Canada
114 Laval Drive, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2X7
Tel (204) 275-0774

Prescrire International
A journal that publishes independent information on drugs and other therapeutic interventions. Its purpose is to increase information on drugs to health professionals.
Subscriptions $60 US funds from Prescrire International
PO Box 459 75527 Paris-Cedex II
France or for sample issue send e-mail to international@prescrire.org

Good Health On Line: A Wellness Guide for Every Canadian, written by Jim Carrol and Rick Broadhead. While not women-focussed, this little book, published by Prentice Hall Canada (1997), contains relevant chapters on Searching the Internet for Health Information and 10 Risks in Using the Internet for Your Own Health Care.

Monitoring Family Planning and Reproductive Rights: A Manual for Empowerment
A new methodology to evaluate the quality of care given by family planning programs in diverse cultural settings. Published by The Women's Health Action Foundation in Amsterdam, the publication was developed by health researchers Anita Hardon and Elly Englekes. Tested in eight countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Western Europe. To order, send your request to:
PO Box 94263
1009 A G Amsterdam
The Netherlands
E-mail: 101526.250@compuserve.com (You will be invoiced).

On-Line Info Centre for Women
The U.S. Public Health Services Office on Women's Health invites you to its new National Women's Health Information Center. Through a toll-free phone number and the Internet, the NWHIC has organized a vast array of health information for consumers and health practitioners through a single point of entry.

If you have a question about women's health in general or about a specific program, concern, or disease, you can call 1800-994-WOMAN. You can also access their website at http://www.4woman.org.

Inclusive Social Policy Development: Ideas for Practitioners Published by the Canadian Council on Social Development. A booklet, designed for practitioners, administrators and researchers in the social policy field to provide:

  • ways to help make organizations more inclusive of diversity considerations;
  • tools for building diversity-affirming communities;
  • examples of inclusive projects and activities

[Available in French and English]
Copies are available from:
Canadian Council on Social Development Publications
441 MacLarren, 4th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H3
Tel (613) 236-8977  Fax (613) 236-2750
E-mail: council@ccsd.ca

Sweet Secrets: Stories of Menstruation by Kathleen O'Grady and Paula Wansbrough. Published by Second Story Press (1997). Unlike the standard "just the facts" approach, this collection of stories provides the young reader with her very own confidantes, others who share a common experience. Sweet Secrets is ideal for initiating discussion between parents and their daughters about sexuality and growing up. Available at women's bookstores.

Pillaged Lives: Third World debt & Global Institutions
A CD-ROM produced by the Social Justice committee of Montreal and Concordia University. How did so many Third World countries acquire their huge debts? Cost $25. Available from:
Social Justice Committee
1857 DeMaisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H3H 1I9
Tel (514) 933-6797   Fax(514) 933-9517
E-mail: sjc@web.net

No Bones About It
If you think bone mineral density testing (BMD) is the best way to locate women at risk of osteoporosis, think again. A new report from the BC Office, of Health Technology Assessment, at the University of British Columbia, says "evidence does not support either whole population or selective bone mineral density testing of well women at or near menopause as a means to predict future fractures associated with osteoporosis."

The study, publicized through the BC Women's Health Bureau in December, says that BMD testing may actually misdirect treatment efforts "away from the majority of women who will ultimately suffer fractures, by focusing attention on the minority with low bone density." The report suggests that women who are told they have a low bone mineral density may inadvertently be put at greater risk since those women would be inclined to limit their physical activity to 'protect' their brittle bones, even though exercise is one of the best preventives for fractures and for rebuilding bone mass.

The report goes on to say that only 40% of women who eventually have hip fractures have low BMD - 60% have normal BMD; compounded risk factors appear to be the best indicator of who is at risk of osteoporosis.

For your copy, contact:
BC Office of Health Technology Assessment Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
S-184-Koerner Pavilion, 2211 Wesbrook Mall
The University of British Columbia, BC  V6T 1Z3
phone (604) 822-7049  fax (604) 822-7975