March 8, 2021

The Alberta Women’s Health Foundation launches to #RefocusTheResearch for women’s health

The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation launched a new provincial healthcare charity for women’s health on International Women’s Day, this March 8th.

“We are playing catch-up when it comes to women’s health research,” says Sandra Davidge.

Each year, about 300 Albertan women are sent home from the emergency department and later readmitted with a heart attack. Because signs of a heart attack present differently in women than in men, these women are victims of an information gap. On International Women’s Day, the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation (AWHF)—an initiative of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation—was launched to tackle these urgent gaps in women’s health research.

See here for the official press release 

“There is still so much to learn about ovarian cancer, heart disease, mental health issues and numerous chronic issues that impact women,” continued Davidge. “The support of Albertans will advance our studies and prepare the next generation of researchers to tackle the health challenges ahead.”

According to Sharlene Rutherford, President and CEO of the AWHF, less than eight per cent of national funding supports women’s health research, yet women represent nearly half of our province’s population. This gap has led to many problems such as misdiagnoses because, in the medical system, women are often treated as “smaller men.” The AWHF is raising funding to directly support the work of over 140 WCHRI researchers.

Supported by our launch partner, Alberta Blue Cross, we are able to stand before you today to begin our journey to amplify the need to close these gaps in women’s health, said Rutherford. Today, we commit to supporting research that will directly target Albertan women’s health.

“Recent research projects include the finding that women have a higher percentage of immature red blood cells, which could affect their response to vaccines; the discovery of a gene that may contribute to urinary tract infections; and the determination that COVID-19 has increased depression and anxiety in pregnant and postpartum mothers,” said Davidge.

Image supplied by the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation.

The launch of the AWHF includes a #RefocusTheResearch awareness and fundraising campaign that challenges Albertans to shift their attention, money, and energy from women’s appearances to women’s health. Throughout this campaign, the AWHF will bring research from the lab to healthcare settings across the province. The research will benefit urban and rural Albertan women of all ages and include numerous projects dedicated to BIPOC community members.

Please help us celebrate the launch of Alberta Women’s Health Foundation by joining the conversation online using #RefocusTheResearch and supporting the work of the foundation at

You may also make a donation.

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