Colleen Norris Cavarzan Chair in Mature Women’s Health Research

Colleen Norris is shining a spotlight on mature women’s health research and examining the health of women in the context of a multitude of factors that influence health. 

Norris, a registered nurse and professor in the Faculty of Nursing, is particularly interested in women’s health research that includes the context of her entire life cycle. She wants to start blending the life cycle of a woman — whether that is perimenopause, menopause or post-menopause — with all her other health concerns. For too long, researchers and clinicians have ignored that connection.

Currently she is working on developing a sex and gender questionnaire that will be given to women coming to the Lois Hole Hospital for Women for any health concerns. The questionnaire, being developed with the help of a cohort of women in one of Norris’s research projects, asks about a range of sex and gender factors that could affect women’s health — everything from menstruation to pregnancy experiences, babies’ birth weight, child-rearing responsibilities, and stress levels at work and home.

In her role as the Cavarzan Chair in Mature Women’s Health Research, Norris works closely with Alberta Health Services, the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the WCHRI team at the Dale Sheard Centre for Solutions in Women’s Health to promote interdisciplinary and collaborative women’s health research; provide mentorship that promotes the development of junior faculty in women’s research; develops collaborations in mature women’s health research locally, nationally and internationally; and acts as an ambassador and champion to actively link research with practice for the benefit of women and the communities in which they live.

This endowed chair is supported by a generous gift from the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation.