Supervisor: Sue Ross
Project: Assessing menopause knowledge to help improve quality of life for women going through menopause
Fort McMurray, AB
Doctor of Medicine
Why did you choose the degree program you are in?
I had a variety of experiences with physicians and the healthcare system early in life, which initially sparked my interest in the field of medicine. I chose it because it provides learners with an opportunity to learn about the intricacies of the human body while also allowing them to apply that knowledge in the real world. As I progress through the program I hope to stay involved in research to help advance the field of medicine while learning more and playing a role in addressing patient needs at a community and systemic level.
What do you get to work on throughout your studentship?
During the first part of my studentship, I spent most of my time reviewing literature and designing and disseminating the menopause knowledge questionnaire. In the latter portion, I performed data analysis and worked with subject matter experts to design interventions and resources that address the knowledge gaps found.
What's been the best part of your experience so far?
Within my previous undergraduate degree, I had participated only in basic science or wet-lab research. With this project, it has been really interesting to learn and partake in public health research and to collaborate with community members and subject-matter experts. This experience has also provided me with a new perspective on the various types of medical research and I have come to appreciate how research and discovery is a continuous cycle, with one result inspiring another.
What impact do you hope this project makes once completed? How will this contribute to improving the health of women?
Using the data from our questionnaire we plan to design educational resources and interventions that address the knowledge gaps found, which will serve as a cost-friendly method to educate and build healthier communities. We hope these resources will help women to be more prepared for their own menopause transition, for men to better understand their female partners once they undergo menopause, and for both groups to show compassion and support for female relatives and friends undergoing this change.
What has the support from WCHRI and the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation meant to you?
I am honoured to have received the support of organizations that value, fund, and advocate for women and children's health, especially mature women's health which is often an under-funded and under-research area. It has given me an opportunity to dedicate my summer to participate in research to help improve wellness and to develop skills and knowledge to grow both as a researcher and as a medical student.
Menopause is a transition period characterized by profound hormonal changes. Due to its largely invisible nature, it is an unmentioned topic in wider society, resulting in women dealing with menopause symptoms primarily on their own. Studies indicate that women undergoing this transition are psychologically more vulnerable and are at high risk for developing depression and mood disorders. This can be attributed to a number of factors, one, in particular, being inadequate social support. Social support and education have a positive impact on menopausal experiences and result in women experiencing a higher quality of life during menopause.
This project aims to assess the level of knowledge of undergraduate and graduate students on menopause and its symptoms through an electronic survey. The survey will be designed using literature, validated menopause questionnaires and concerns raised by women participating in focus groups through the Menopause Outpatient Clinic.
The data will be stratified based on demographics and analyzed by descriptive statistics. We hypothesize the student cohorts to be largely uninformed about menopause, but we hope to address their knowledge gaps by designing specific educational resources that serve as a cost-friendly method to educate and build healthier communities. These resources will help women to be prepared for their own transition, for men to better understand their female partners once they undergo menopause, and for both groups to show compassion and support for female relatives and friends undergoing this change.