What We Do

The AWHF supports women’s health research undertaken by the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI).

Affiliated with Alberta Health Services, the University of Alberta and the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation, WCHRI facilitates research activities, builds capacity, and catalyzes research innovation and excellence, and supports the development of evidence-informed practices, policies, and protocols in women’s healthcare across Alberta.

More than 160 researchers in women’s health are affiliated through WCHRI.  This work is directly supported by the AWHF.

What areas of Alberta does the Alberta Women's Health Foundation fund research?

The Alberta Women's Health Foundation (AWHF) funds research conducted by the Women and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI) located within the University of Alberta. The Institute supports over 160 researchers from across the province of Alberta working together in all areas of women's health.

Partnership in Action

The AWHF has partnered with the University of Calgary in the creation of the Lois Hole Hospital Cross-Provincial Chair in Women's Mental Health Research. Led by Dr. Dawn Kingston, this research is taking place in women's health facilities in Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton and seeks to better understand the impacts of anxiety and depression in pregnant women and their correlation to post-partum depression. The partnership has resulted in the creation of The Hope Digital Mental Health Platform, which offers screening, referral, and e-therapy services to perinatal women. Over 3,500 women across Alberta have utilized the platform thus far.

How does funding by the AWHF supporting WCHRI research affect healthcare delivery from across the province and beyond?

Provincial Impact

Funds raised by the AWHF support the work of WCHRI, which is not limited to the geographic boundaries of the Edmonton area. Research conducted by WCHRI researchers may include strategic research alliances with other universities or other provincial, national, and international research bodies and authorities.

National Impact

In addition to research happening here in Alberta, the AWHF and WCHRI make up the Albertan arm of the Women’s Health Collective Canada (WHCC). The WHCC was founded by the country’s leading women’s health foundations, Alberta’s own AWHF, the BC Women’s Health Foundation, and Ontario’s Women’s College Hospital Foundation to amplify our impact — and break the barriers holding us back from providing women with equitable healthcare. Through intentional collaboration, we’re bringing resources and fundraising together to address the wider gaps in women’s health we can’t tackle on our own.

The WHCC is united in:

  • Funding medical research that addresses the unique needs of women.
  • Raising awareness on the gender health gap, dispelling misconceptions about women’s health, and highlighting how healthy women create a healthier Canada.
  • Dispelling misconceptions about women’s health to help everyone know the facts.
  • Broadening the scope and reach of world-class women’s health programs to reach every woman, everywhere.
  • Creating higher standards of care for every woman.

What processes does the AWHF use to ensure donated dollars are used to create a province-wide impact?

There are many competing priorities and new emerging gaps in women’s health and women’s health research. The AWHF actively seeks out the most urgent issues to be as effective as possible as quickly as possible. Recently the AWHF launched the first in its series of province-wide surveys and subsequent report, Finding the Fractures: The Pandemic, Women's Health Disparities, and the Path to Equity to better understand the highest priority issues citizens are now facing and inform future research priorities and funding designations.

Following a survey conducted in 2022, the AWHF launched its second thought leadership report entitled Surveying the Silence: Exploring the Impact of Taboos in Women's Health.

The organization plans to continue running similar surveys and reports in the future.

How does care provided at Alberta's only dedicated women's hospital affect care for women outside of Edmonton?

OBIX Perinatal Interface System

In May of 2022, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women (LHHW), located in Edmonton, AB, installed the OBIX Perinatal Interface System, a state-of-the-art technology designed to integrate a mother's medical documentation and history with fetal surveillance in real-time. Connected to the LHHW and satellite hospitals, this technology allows care providers from across the province to communicate instantaneously with experts at LHHW, saving precious time for mother and baby. By providing remote access to leading care providers at the LHHW, patients throughout Alberta can have easy access to excellent perinatal care—without the need to leave their home location.

Allard Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic

The Allard Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Clinic at the LHHW is the only clinic of its kind in Alberta. The clinic provides risk assessment and surveillance for women throughout the province of Alberta who are at a high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. Women with genetic mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have an increased risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancers prior to menopause.

Indigenous Cultural Partnership

In collaboration with Indigenous community organizations from across Alberta, the NWT, northern BC, and northern SK, the LHHW is piloting the Indigenous Cultural Partnership program. This program will advocate for and seek to establish equal representation and prioritization of Indigenous health and wellness knowledge systems/practices in sexual and reproductive health alongside the Euro-Canadian approach that is already in place. LHHW will be the first tertiary care hospital in Canada to implement this program. The AWHF, through WCHRI’s research and program evaluation, will ensure that this LHHW initiative will influence sexual and reproductive health practices in other hospitals throughout Alberta and, in fact, Canada, to close gaps and inequities in healthcare for Indigenous patients.


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