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Impact July 2013


This issue:

Published by Women’s College Research Institute, Impact is a quarterly newsletter that shares updates about our scientists’ recent accomplishments, tells their stories, offers a peak into what inspires them and shows how their work improves the world. This issue announces the opening of Women’s College Hospital: Women’s Exchange, a new initiative supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care that grows Ontario’s capacity to do leading, gender-sensitive community research that has a real impact on people’s lives.

Minister of Health announces Women's College Hospital: Women's Exchange
On May 16, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews announced the creation of Women’s Exchange, a new centre based at Women’s College Hospital that will support a more equitable and sustainable health-care system for all Ontarians.

“The research that will be conducted at the Women’s Exchange will help us address the unique priorities of women’s health and will ensure our health providers are delivering the best evidence-based care to the people of this province,” says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Folate taken in pregnancy may boost breast cancer risk: Grant will fund research
Does folate supplementation potentially increase breast cancer risk? Pregnant women are typically counselled to take supplemental folate. Now, an innovative grant will enable Women’s College researchers to learn more about the role of folate.

“The grant will support our study to evaluate whether folate may in fact increase breast cancer risk in BRCA mutation carriers,” says Dr. Joanne Kotsopoulos.

Metformin’s ability to improve breast cancer survival not shown in older patients
As a practicing endocrinologist, Dr. Iliana Lega was eager to build on past research showing that metformin, which regulates blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, can also reduce breast cancer incidence by 30 per cent.

“The results of this study suggest that an older diabetic woman with breast cancer may not benefit from using metformin over another drug to control her blood sugar,” says Lega.

“Because we studied older women, our results cannot be generalized to all women with breast cancer and diabetes,” she says.

Some adult male victims of sex assault seek out medical services: study
Only a small percentage of adult males who are victims of sex assault report the crime.

“Sexual assault is vastly underreported, and in men, adult sex assault is under-researched,” says WCRI’s Dr. Janice Du Mont. “While women generally comprise more than 90 per cent of all reported sex assault cases, it is important to understand the characteristics of male victims and the assaults they experience so that we can be sure we are offering services that meet their full range of needs.”

Now, a new study by Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) and the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (ONSA/DVTCs) sheds light on the characteristics of male victims of sex assault and the services they use. Published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the findings will help health-care providers better tailor current services to the population.

Awards and honours

Dr. Janice Du Mont has been awarded the 2013 Vision Award from the International Association of Forensic Nursing (IAFN).  The presentation will take place at the International Association of Forensic Nurses, International Conference on Forensic Nursing Science and Practice, on October 22 in California.

Dr. Ophira Ginsburg received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the category of health, for her work to improve breast cancer screening and care for underserved South Asian women.

Dr. Gillian Hawker was presented with the Robert Hyland Award for Excellence in Mentorship at the University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine Annual Day 2013.

Dr. Gillian Hawker received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her record of creating positive change in health-care delivery.

Dr. Gillian Hawker also received the Jeff Shiroky Award on May 10 at the Laurentian Conference of Rheumatology in Mont Temblant, QC.

Dr. Noah Ivers received one of three Rising Star Awards from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR) for his article “Audit and feedback: effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes”.

Dr. Joanne Kotsopoulos was presented with the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation’s Champion of Genetics Building the Next Generation Grant at a reception at the Canadian Human & Statistical Genetics Conference in Esterel, Quebec on April 23.

Dr. Iliana Lega successfully defended her MSc thesis on “The Association Between Metformin Therapy and Mortality Following Breast Cancer: A population-Based Study.”

Dr. Steven Narod received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his leadership in the research of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

Dr. Steven Narod was also awarded the O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society on May 23, for research that has had a major impact on cancer control in Canada.

Dr. Bheeshma Ravi was awarded the Gallie-Bateman Award from the University of Toronto for his poster presentation: “Total Joint Arthoplasty Appears Cardioprotective In Patients With Moderate - Severe Osteoarthritis:  A Propensity-Score Matched Analysis”.

Dr. Valerie Taylor received the inaugural TOPS Research Award from the Canadian Obesity Network, recognizing her career contributions to research in the field of obesity. Dr. Taylor’s award marks the first time the award was open to Canadian applicants. This May, as part of the award, Dr. Taylor gave the keynote address at the Canadian Obesity Summit held in Vancouver, presenting for the first time new research examining the links between obesity and dementia.

Click here for past issues of Impact.



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