Women's College Research Institute

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July 2012

Talking about trauma-informed care

On June 1 and 2, Dr. Catherine Classen, a Women's College scientist and psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, hosted a meeting of 22 experts in psychological trauma from across North America. It was funded by a planning grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, "Improving Healthcare Delivery by Improving Health Providers' Knowledge of Interpersonal Trauma."

The meeting united the best and brightest in psychological trauma, and tasked the group to develop a self-assessment tool for health-care providers, to help them evaluate their knowledge of psychological trauma and trauma-informed care. The tool will help to identify a provider's gaps in knowledge about trauma, and direct the provider to resources to address those gaps.

The gathering of trauma experts was further leveraged into a knowledge translation event called Trauma Talks: Advancing the dialogue on trauma-informed care. Designed to share the speakers' collective experience and expertise with the broader community, the conference hosted approximately 260 mental health practitioners on June 3. Invited trauma experts presented on various aspects of trauma and trauma-informed care, and finished with a panel that fielded questions from community-based practitioners.

"It speaks to the perceived importance of this topic that every single one of our esteemed invited speakers agreed to present at this unique conference, to further the dialogue on trauma-informed care," says Classen.

"The meeting and conference brought us a step closer to achieving our mission of making trauma-informed health care the norm in health-care delivery."

Members of the research team include Carrie Clark, Christine Courtois, Janice Du Mont, Anne Fourt, Robin Mason, Clare Pain, Carol Stalker and Catherine Classen.

Giving back to the volunteers who fuel breast cancer studies

Patient volunteers have a tremendous impact on scientific research, future discoveries and advancing medical care.

“Finding volunteers for studies is an ongoing goal,” says Women’s College senior scientist Dr. Steven Narod, who is also a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. “The discoveries we’ve made would not have been possible without these people’s contributions.”

On Friday, May 11, Narod and the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unitat Women’s College Research Institute showed their appreciation. The team invited hundreds of volunteers to their biannual symposium, dedicated to informing study participants about the research discoveries that they have been a part of.

With these volunteers, Narod has built the world’s largest database of women with BRCA1/2 genetic mutations. Containing risk factor and clinical information on 12,800 women with mutations from 51 centres in six countries, the database has helped to unite a global community of researchers working toward a common goal of preventing hereditary cancers.

Guests were addressed by world-renowned experts in hereditary cancers from Women’s College Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital. Speakers shared their insights into prophylactic medical therapies, new research into nutritional therapies to prevent cancer, the impact of BRCA mutations in Jewish populations, and the implications of BRCA mutations on men and their families.

The conference was made possible with support from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Uniting graduate students through research

On Monday, May 14, trainees at the master’s, doctoral and post-doctoral level from across the University of Toronto gathered at Women’s College Hospital to showcase their work.

“The presenters at this year’s Graduate Student Research Day were remarkably diverse in their approach, focus and scope,” says Dr. Paula Rochon, Vice-President Research, Women’s College Hospital and professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation.

“But even though the presentations ranged from epidemiological studies to basic sciences, they shared the common theme of women’s health, whether it relates to chronic mental or physical conditions, or social and gender issues.”

Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis, professor of Nursing and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, delivered the keynote address. Dennis is a senior scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research and Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health.

Congratulations to this year’s winners, including Women’s College Research Institute’s Adriana Valentini (Institute of Medical Science) and Georgia Walton (Psychiatry), as well as Hala Kufaishi (Urogynecology) and Felix Leung (Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology).

 Click here for the full issue of Impact

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