DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Women's Health Institute Project
Bulletin 1 Winter 2006

February 21, 2006

 


Below is the first Bulletin from the Women's Health Institute Project, reprinted with permission.

This information is for wide distribution.
Please post & circulate widely.

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sera.weiss@moh.gov.on.ca

 

 

Background

In August 2005 the Honourable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long Term Care announced the creation of a provincial Women's Health Institute (WHI). Working closely with partners, the mandate of this new institute will be to promote women's health throughout Ontario and grow to become a national leader on women's health issues. It is anticipated that the new WHI will be in place for April 2007 and, as part of its mandate, integrate the Ontario Women's Health Council and its important work into its operations. With respect to patient care, the Minister also announced the re-emergence of Women's College Hospital as a separate organization from Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre. As an academic health sciences centre, Women's College Hospital will provide state of the art ambulatory care services to women and their families in Toronto.

In order to achieve the goal set out by the Minister, the Women's Health Institute Project has been established to provide a vehicle for broad consultation and input on the vision, strategic role and governance model, for the new provincial WHI.

It has been agreed that the WHI will include the following elements:

  • Linkages with various organizations across the province
  • Office to be located at the Grenville site of Women's College Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre in Toronto
  • Separate board governance and organization from Women's College Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre
  • Embrace a broad definition of women's health
  • Inclusive of diversity of all women
  • Reflective of interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches

Leadership

The Minister has appointed Dr. Diana Majury, a professor of law from Carleton University, as the 'Vision Lead' for the Women's Health Institute Project. Along with a small team, Diana is leading a broad consultation process that will serve to provide a wide range of input into her final recommendations. In addition to the consultation process, Dr. Majury will review other models of research and policy centres as well as the current literature on women's health-related issues.

Dr. Majury will be making recommendations to Minister Smitherman in a phased process leading up to a final report in the spring 2007.

Consultation Process

The aim of the consultation process is to effectively reach out to a broad range of stakeholders to hear input and advice on a number of key issues regarding the vision, role and governance of the new WHI. Working from this broad base of ideas, the consultation process will provide a mechanism for setting priorities and focusing the work of the WHI.

With advice from a range stakeholders, the consultation plan has now been formalized and will include opportunities for input from a sample of Ontario citizens, local community groups, women's organizations, disease-based organizations, research and policy institutes, policy makers, the research community and hospital leaders.

In order to ensure broad stakeholder engagement is achieved, the consultation process will include a variety of communication approaches. They are: individual interviews, focus groups, input sessions with existing committees, regional consultations and the use of an electronic questionnaire.

While the communication approach may vary with each stakeholder(s), the content of the interaction will be structured and guided by the need for advice on the following theme areas:

  • Strategic Role
  • Research Continuum
  • Research Priorities (Topics of Research)
  • Partnerships/Affiliations
  • Governance and Organizational Leadership

In terms of timing, the consultations will continue to take place during February, March and April, leading up to an invitation-based consensus workshop in early May 2006.

The regional consultations will be an important mechanism for ensuring both regional and local input. The WHI project is working to finalize the location and timing of these sessions.

The Women's Health Institute Project is committed to ensuring positive communication with all stakeholders. Future Bulletins will aim to keep you informed of our ongoing progress.

For more information on the Women's Health Institute Project or to provide input into this process, please contact Barbara Wiktorowicz , Senior Consultant at 416-326-6510 or email Barbara.Wiktorowicz@moh.gov.on.ca


Women's Health Institute Questions & Answers

1. What is the Women's Health Institute?

In August 2005 the Honourable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long Term Care announced the creation of a provincial Women's Health Institute (WHI). The mandate of the newly created WHI will be to promote women's health throughout Ontario and grow to become a national leader in women's health issues.

The Women's Health Institute Project has been established to provide a vehicle for broad consultation and to provide advice to the Minister on the vision, strategic role and governance model, for the new provincial WHI.

2. Why do we need a Women's Health Institute in Ontario?

Women have unique needs and experiences that historically, have not been adequately reflected or addressed in the full range of research, teaching and patient service that is provided by our health system. In addition, the important differences among women have not been addressed. The creation of a WHI is an opportunity to link together many women's focused organizations, combining strengths and creating the ability to better promote women's health provincially.

3. What will the WHI do?

The vision and strategic role of the WHI are the subject of a consultation process and will ultimately inform the Women's Health Institute Project's recommendations to the Minister. The process will include input on the role of the WHI in the following theme areas: strategic approach, research continuum, research priorities, partnerships and affiliations as well as governance and organizational leadership.

4. How is the WHI consulting with stakeholders?

In order to inform her recommendations to the Minister, Dr. Diana Majury, Vision Lead on the project, has initiated a broad consultation process. The aim of the process is to effectively reach out to a broad range of stakeholders across the province to hear input and advice on a number of key issues regarding the vision, role and governance of the new WHI.

The consultation plan includes opportunities for input from a sample of Ontario citizens, local community groups, women's organizations, disease-based organizations, research and policy institutes, policy makers, the research community and hospital leaders.

5. How will the WHI funded?

Core funding for the WHI will be provided by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. The amount of funding required to achieve the WHI mandate has not yet been determined. One of the recommendations to the Minister will include resources required for the WHI to fulfill its mandate.

6. How will the Women's Health Council fit with the WHI?

As part of some broad system changes in women's health, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care determined that the WHI will integrate the Ontario Women's Health Council and its important work into its operations.

7. What will the relationship be between the WHI and Women's College Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre?

The WHI will be a separate organization and have separate board governance from Women's College Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre. However, it has been decided that the office of the WHI will be located at the Grenville site of Women's College Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre.

8. Who is on the Board of the WHI?

Currently, no Board structure is in place for the new WHI. Taking into consideration the results of the consultation, recommendations will be made to the Minister on governance models and process to recruit and select board members.

9. When will the WHI be up and running?

It is anticipated that the new WHI will be in place for April 2007.

10. Who is leading the process to develop the WHI?

The Minister has appointed Dr. Diana Majury, a professor of law from Carleton University, as the 'Vision Lead' for the Women's Health Institute Project. Along with a small team, Diana is leading a broad consultation process that will serve to provide a wide range of input into her final recommendations.


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