Turning $231,000 into $4.2 million is no easy task. It requires a consortium of dedicated funders and a national non-profit organization, Genome Canada, to believe in the vision sufficiently enough to match the combined funding.
BC Women’s Hospital Foundation is proud to announce that is exactly what happened when it contributed $231,000 alongside its funding partners from the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Provincial Health Services Authority, Genome BC, and Genome Quebec in jointly securing $2.1 million – and which was matched by national funding agency, Genome Canada – to optimize genetic counselling access and implementation across Canada. In the end, the combined investment totaled $4.2 million, making the “GenCOUNSEL” proposal the largest known genetic counselling grant ever recorded.
Genetic counsellors are specialist healthcare providers who represent the front line of genetics. Genome-wide sequencing (GWS) is a genetic test that analyzes a person’s entire genetic makeup to diagnose the cause of genetic disorders. GWS can also diagnose disorders or increased disease risk that are unrelated to the original reason for testing as well as generate results that are difficult to interpret. By providing education and emotional support to patients and families considering GWS, genetic counsellors help to inform decision-making in genetic testing and can assist in preventing decisions that can have devastating health consequences. GWS is not routinely available in Canada yet, but Dr. Alison Elliott, Board certified genetic counsellor, Clinical Associate Professor, UBC and BC Women’s Hospital Project Lead believes that GWS will soon be clinically available and that this type of new investment has the opportunity to change everything.
“The type of equity and access this investment provides will allow for thousands of Canadians every year to benefit from genomic medicine, regardless of geographic location, or socio-economic status,” says Dr. Elliott.
Alongside her Project Co-Leads, Dr. Jehannine Austin (UBC), Dr. Larry Lynd (UBC), and Dr. Bartha Knoppers (McGill), Dr. Elliott believes this type of homegrown investment; “provides Canada an opportunity to be the global leader in genetic counselling.”
Genesa Greening believes in a collaborative work environment. She values open participation from individuals with different ideas and perspectives. “I describe my leadership style as transparent, communicative and engaging.”
Before becoming CEO at the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre Foundation in October 2016, Greening served as executive director of First United Church Community Ministry Society. Over the years, she made a name for herself raising money for non-profit organizations.
Her biggest ally was the late Virginia Greene, one of B.C.’s most successful business and community leaders. Greene was responsible for marketing Expo 86, and was deputy minister with the Province of British Columbia and a successful business entrepreneur. Early on in her career, Greening says Greene took her under her wing, introducing her to some of the city’s most influential women. “Virginia was everything I wanted to be … authentic, transparent and true to who she was,” Greening says. “She was also opinionated, strong-willed, gifted and yet graceful, passionate and wholly female.”
Greening’s other mentor was Krista Thompson, executive director at Covenant House. “From Krista, I learned about the complexities of a political environment,” Greening says. “I owe a lot to both as they taught me to believe in myself, trust in my decisions and be unapologetic about leading others.”
From former bosses, Greening understood early on that the old-school ways of micromanaging don’t work in today’s workplace. Today, Greening has a team of 26 “exceptionally dedicated people” working for her.“I’m not afraid to hire gifted women who are braver, smarter and more capable than me, because then the organization can only thrive.”
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For millions of people worldwide, the correlation between "cancer" and "death" remains an inescapable terror. So when a word like "eradication" enters the cancer lexicon as an outcome, it rightly gains a great deal of attention.
Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Senior Advisor and Assistant Director of the Women's Health Research Institute at BC Women's Hospital, and Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV-related Disease at UBC is on a mission to eradicate cervical cancer in her lifetime – and with her partners across BC, their work is quickly closing the gap in doing so. Her research team focuses on how to use human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and the HPV vaccine to eliminate cervical cancer.
HPV-testing and HPV vaccination are ground-breaking advancements in preventing cervical cancer, and Dr. Ogilvie’s research, which focuses on how to best implement these tools, has placed her at the forefront as a world leader in the global fight to end cervical cancer.
As a result of her team’s work, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted her recommended two-dose vaccination protocol to prevent HPV infection (previously three doses), and Dr. Ogilvie is determined to examine if we can get it down to one, which would have global impacts on the lives of millions of women. Every year, more than 270,000 women worldwide, most of them in the prime of their lives with babies and young families, die from cervical cancer. Without immediate action, by 2030, that number is projected to rise to 500,000. “At last,' says Ogilvie, 'we have the possibility to head down the road to eradication. There’s no question that HPV-testing is the biggest breakthrough in preventing cervical cancer since the Pap smear.”
While Dr. Ogilvie's research is internationally recognized, she is also honoured to be chosen as 2018's Sexual Health Champion by Options for Sexual Health, Canada's largest non-profit provider of sexual health services. “Dr. Ogilvie’s work offers an opportunity to see a future where HPV related cancers don’t exist in Canada.,’ says Options for Sexual Health Executive Director, Michelle Fortin, ‘Having a local expert conduct this work on such a global scale inspires us all to do better.”
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For most people, entering the family business usually means assuming a place in some well-oiled company. For Genesa Greening, president and CEO of BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, following in her parents’ footsteps meant embarking on a life steeped in philanthropy.
"My parents were both in social service; they were both ordained ministers in the Salvation Army," Greening said. "I always knew l wanted to change the world even though I probably couldn't articulate how big that world was when I was small."
A desire for change carried her away from traditional schooling and helped her tenaciously achieve her goals without the benefit of post-secondary education.
Greening's fundraising success spans over two decades. She has cultivated growth and innovation at a wide array of hospital foundations, nonprofits and social justice organizations worldwide.
Her expertise garnered her a role as an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology for fundraising and not-for-profit management programs.
Today, Greening leads a team of 22 at BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre Foundation. In just a year at the foundation, she has achieved 100% growth and a 250% rise in revenue projections. “I’ve always been able to find somewhere where there is a gap and I've been able to utilize either my natural skill set or my ability to bring amazing people together," she said.
Now, she is using those skills to improve the health of all women across the province. "I hold the idea that we can really change the tide on women’s health and that we have an opportunity to really work and see all women possess the best possible health care no matter what their socio-economic position or background.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver city council named Greening to the Mayor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Addictions as well as the Women’s Advisory Committee, where she served as the chair of the social inclusion and security subcommittee.
Cheryl Davies, Chief Operating Officer at BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre; and Genesa Greening, President + CEO of BC Women's Hospital Foundation
Birthplace: St. John’s, Newfoundland
Where you live now: New Westminster
Highest level of education: High school diploma
Currently reading: Rereading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Currently listening to: All things Nigerian music with my son
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: International justice lawyer
Profession you would most like to try: UN ambassador
Toughest business or personal decision: Becoming a single mother
Advice you would give your younger self: What you value in yourself will become what others value so don’t hold back or compare. And never apologize for being capable
What’s left to do: Fight for equality for all
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On Wednesday, November 15, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) announced a $500,000 investment in Kangaroo Mother Care in BC. This special skin-to-skin attachment program has proven long-term benefits to families by reducing anxiety, stress and the risk of depression in both mother and child.
The funds cover the cost of launching the program throughout BC, including development of training and educational materials for nurses and parents. It will also help to provide wraps that support skin-to-skin contact, known as kangaroo mother baby wraps.
This shift in the model of care – to including parents as partners – is what has proven BC Women’s NICU to be a world leader. And Michelle Peltier experienced this first-hand, when her daughter Olive was born premature and stayed at BC Women’s NICU.
Photo credit: the Province of British Columbia.
When Michelle spoke at the announcement, she shared how learning how to safely practice skin-to-skin was what helped her cope and build confidence to care for her tiny newborn.
“Skin-to-skin took my pain away. It changed everything. It taught me watch my baby, rather than the monitors” – Michelle Peltier, former patient mother at BC Women’s NICU.
Michelle’s family is just one example of so many that will benefit from Kangaroo Care with this new investment. BC Women’s is incredibly excited to see this model of care extended across the province– a move that will empower families beyond hospital walls and ensure all babies in BC get the very best start in life.
Pictured here (L-R): Michelle Peltier, patient family; Maryam Kiarash, Perinatal Clinical Educator; Megan Bolton,
Senior Practice Leader; Cheryl Davies, Chief Operating Officer, BC Women’s; Susan Wannamaker, President, BC Children’s and Women’s Health; Genesa Greening, President + CEO, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Care Centre Foundation; Hon. Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development; Gina Chung and son Forrest; Carl Roy, President & CEO, PHSA; Dr. Horacio Osiovich, Head, Neonatology and member of BC Women’s Medical Leadership; Dr. Tamil Kendall, Interim Provincial Executive Director, Perinatal Services BC; Dr. Lori Brotto, Executive Director, Women’s Health Research Institute.
Please make a donation to women, families and newborns across British Columbia.
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This week saw hundreds of avid golfers and supporters land at the University Golf Course to take part in the annual Air Canada Birdies for Babies charity golf tournament, in support of BC Women’s Hospital Foundation.
2017 marks the 5th year in partnership with Air Canada and in addition to the great news of yet another sell out, BC Women’s Hospital Foundation is also honoured to announce Air Canada has renewed its title sponsorship through until 2019.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Air Canada as we feel there is such a natural synergy between our organizations,’ Genesa Greening, President + CEO of BC Women’s Hospital Foundation said. ‘With a commitment to safety, technology and world-class service, we share a passion that impacts our approach to everything we do and it’s exciting to have a partner that embraces those principles.”
Together with Air Canada representatives from coast-to-coast and a field of golfers which included business leaders, Vancouver Canucks alumni and homegrown superstar, Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres, a record $403,000 was raised in support of the lifesaving work that occurs each and every day inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at BC Women’s Hospital.
“Air Canada and its employees are proud to be associated with Birdies for Babies. We share with BC Women’s Hospital Foundation a desire to help our communities, especially newborns,’ Kevin C. Howlett, Air Canada’s Vancouver-based Senior Vice President, Regional Markets and Government Relations said. ‘On behalf of Air Canada’s employees, I thank everyone who took time to attend, generously support and tirelessly give their time at this year’s Birdies for Babies Charity Golf Tournament. We are all particularly proud of the record amount raised this year which will help BC Women’s Hospital continue their important work giving vulnerable newborns the best possible medical care, and their families the best possible experience.”
With help from emcee and CTV Vancouver news anchor, Mike Killeen, alongside keynote speaker, NICU dad and TSN Radio Vancouver broadcaster, Tom Mayenknecht, and an astonishing assortment of luxury auction items including Air Canada business travel and accommodations in London, Cabo San Lucas and Montreal, the record amount raised will help ensure a continued investment in the best possible physicians, equipment and research on behalf of the 1500 high risk newborns which begin their fragile lives far too early in the NICU at BC Women’s Hospital.
- Awards + Accomplishments
Genesa most recently served as the Executive Director of First United Church Community Ministry Society, an inner-city ministry committed to the struggle for social justice, offering advocacy, hospitality, housing and other programs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Prior to that, she served as Acting Chief Operating Officer of Dream Corps Unlimited and Deputy Director of Green for All, both in Oakland, California; and as the Director, Community Strategies and Resource Development at Union Gospel Mission. Genesa also held senior roles with Ketchum Canada Inc. (Canada’s largest fundraising consultancy firm), working extensively with VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and other fundraising organizations.
Genesa is an experienced, proven and strategic leader and team-builder. She is “beyond excited” to be joining the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation team.
We are, of course, sorry to see Laurie retire from the CEO role after six truly outstanding years of service, but we feel we have found a very worthy successor and are excited about what Genesa will bring to the organization as we look to the opportunities ahead for BC Women’s Hospital.
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Dr. Brotto has a PhD in Psychology from UBC. She also trained at the University of Washington where she completed a one-year internship in the Department of Psychiatry followed by a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Reproductive and Sexual Medicine. She is a Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was the inaugural Division Head of Gynecologic Specialties until the start of this appointment. She teaches sexual health interviewing for medical students and obstetric/gynecology residents, and is a supervisor for psychology residents and practicum students. She is a Registered Psychologist with the BC College of Psychologists.
Dr. Brotto holds a Canada Research Chair in Women’s Sexual Health. She conducts research on women’s sexual health, with specific lines of focus on the development and testing of mindfulness-based and psychological treatments for women. She is a member of the International Academy of Sex Research, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, the Canadian Sex Research Forum, and the Canadian Psychological Association. She has published over 150 articles and book chapters, has given 200 invited presentations, and is frequently contacted by the media as a guest expert on the topic of sexuality. She was a member of the DSM-5 workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders published in May 2013. She is a health expert writer for the Globe and Mail where she writes a monthly column focused on sexual health and well-being.
The mandate of the Executive Director, WHRI will include setting the health research agenda for WHRI in conjunction with senior leadership at BC Women’s. Dr. Brotto will work with an Advisory Council and will collaborate with research leadership at UBC and other health authority research institutes to define and facilitate a women’s health research strategy for BC. She will play a pivotal role in the team effort towards integrating and coordinating the women’s health research effort within BC Women’s, PHSA, UBC and other partner universities. Her responsibilities will include planning, organizing, staffing, directing and managing outcomes of the WHRI and working effectively with government and community partners to enable the integrated research vision.
Dr. Brotto’s office will be located in the WHRI on the 3rd Floor of the Women’s Health Centre at BCW where she will be onsite Wednesdays and Thursdays. She will maintain an office and laboratory at the Diamond Health Care Centre the rest of the week.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Brotto on her appointment, and in welcoming her to her new role in the Women’s Health Research Institute!
- Awards + Accomplishments
- Women's Health Research
Currently, genetic disorders like neurological problems, acute metabolic collapse, and malformations make up a large percentage of the patients in B.C. neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The genome sequencing under RAPIDOMICS could significantly speed up the time to get an accurate and rapid diagnosis for patients with these types of disorders.
For more information about the projects at Genome BC, please visit: www.genomebc.ca
To read the press release click here.
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SEATTLE (April 29, 2015)—Nordstrom, Inc., a leading fashion retailer based in the U.S., announced today that it will celebrate the opening of its Pacific Centre flagship store in Vancouver with a gala on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. The event will benefit BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation, Covenant House Vancouver and Vancouver Art Gallery. Nordstrom Pacific Centre officially opens on Friday, September 18, 2015 at 10 a.m.
Gala attendees will be among the first to preview the new 230,000 square-foot store, while enjoying cocktails, dinner, desserts, live entertainment, fashion presentations and the opportunity to shop. Nordstrom will underwrite the event and 100 percent of tickets sales will directly benefit the selected organizations and their important community programs. Tickets for the gala will go on sale on June 24, 2015.
“Vancouver is fortunate to have such an exceptionally supportive community. We’re proud to be partnering with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, Covenant House Vancouver and the Vancouver Art Gallery on our signature opening event,” said Chris Wanlass, Nordstrom Pacific Centre store manager. “We invite everyone to join us for our opening party and together we can support the community and celebrate fashion all in one evening.”
BC Children’s Hospital is the province’s only full-service acute-care hospital dedicated to serving close to one million children living in BC and the Yukon. All children who are seriously ill or injured are referred to Children’s Hospital and are either treated at the hospital in Vancouver or, in consultation with Children’s specialists, in their home community. Last year, more than 84,000 children were treated at Children’s Hospital, making close to 230,000 visits. Only BC Children’s Hospital has the critical mass of expertise in pediatric subspecialties in clinical care and research required to treat young patients with complex medical conditions and serious injuries.
“With the opening of Nordstrom Pacific Centre, and as a beneficiary of the opening gala, BC Children’s Hospital will be better able to serve seriously ill or injured children and their families. This is great for our children, our communities and our province,” said Teri Nicholas, president & CEO, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre is the only facility in BC dedicated to meeting the provincial health care needs of women, newborn babies and their families. Averaging 7,000 births and 68,000 patients annually, BC Women’s is one of Canada’s biggest and busiest obstetrical centres. As the provincial experts in maternity care, BC Women’s specialists diagnose and care for the riskiest pregnancies and the ‘sickest of the sick’ newborn and premature babies. 1,400 of the sickest and smallest babies from around the province receive life saving care at BC Women’s Newborn ICU.
“BC Women’s Hospital is thrilled to partner with Nordstrom and the other organizations who are benefitting from the gala in celebrating the opening of their new flagship store in Vancouver. This unique partnership opportunity demonstrates Nordstrom’s commitment to bringing their culture of service to Vancouver by acknowledging the important role each participating charity plays in the community,” said Laurie Clarke, CEO, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation.
Covenant House Vancouver offers a 24-hour crisis program, a supportive transitional living program, street outreach, and a daily drop-in for homeless, runaway and street involved youth aged 16-25. Covenant House supports young people by providing a continuum of care that meets them where they are at, understanding that no two young people have the same needs.
“Covenant House is honoured to be partnering with Nordstrom for their Gala Opening in Vancouver and we are so thrilled to have been chosen as one of four organizations to be highlighted for this extra special occasion,” said Krista Thompson, executive director, Covenant House Vancouver.
Founded in 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery is recognized as one of the most respected and innovative visual arts institutions in Canada and is committed to strengthening ties between artists and diverse communities throughout the city, province and beyond. As the largest public art museum in Western Canada, the Gallery features the work of ground-breaking contemporary artists from around the world and presents historical art of international significance, is committed to exploring the art of Asia, and provides a global platform for British Columbia's dynamic artistic community, including the work of First Nations artists. Its growing collection represents the most comprehensive resource for art in British Columbia and is the principal repository for visual art produced in the region, as well as related works by other notable Canadian and international artists.
“The Vancouver Art Gallery is extremely grateful to be one of the beneficiaries of Nordstrom’s extraordinary opening gala. The proceeds will support and expand the dynamic range of educational programs for visitors at the Gallery, from exhibition tours led by experts, inspirational artist talks and lectures to cutting-edge performance and hands-on art-making workshops. Our programs create a place of conversation, learning and exchange inspired by the most compelling art of our times, and Nordstrom’s support will help the Vancouver Art Gallery to foster the development and growth of creative passions in our city,” said Vancouver Art Gallery Director Kathleen Bartels.
Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer based in the U.S. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 303 stores in 38 states and Canada. Customers are served at 116 Nordstrom stores in the U.S. and two in Canada; 177 Nordstrom Rack stores; two Jeffrey boutiques; and one clearance store. Additionally, customers are served online through Nordstrom.com, Nordstromrack.com and HauteLook. The company also owns Trunk Club, a personalized clothing service serving customers online at TrunkClub.com and its five clubhouses. Nordstrom, Inc.'s common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.
- Awards + Accomplishments
Now, Dr. Young and his colleagues have the opportunity to change how we treat endometriosis and deep dyspareunia through their study, the “Etiology of Dyspareunia in Endometriosis”. Over the next 3 years Dr. Yong’s interdisciplinary team of researchers, including geneticists, psychologists, epidemiologists and other obstetrical-gynaecological pathologists, will conduct a holistic research program to understand how different risk factors interact with endometriosis to cause deep dyspareunia.
For the many women who suffer silently from this difficult condition the treatment options that arise from this research could be life-changing. Rather than undergoing surgery after surgery, a woman may be able to find relief through psychological counseling for depression or prevent it entirely through genetic testing. We are thrilled that BC Women’s Dr. Yong and his team are at the forefront of this exciting new research!
Dr. Yong directs the Research Program at the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain & Endometriosis. His clinical research interests are in endometriosis and pelvic pain, and his translational research interests include bio-banking of endometriosis, gene sequencing in endometriosis, and investigating nerve formation in the pelvis as a cause of pain. Dr. Yong is also involved in teaching and is Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Division of Gynaecologic Specialties.
Please make a donation to help women regain control over pain and their lives.
- Awards + Accomplishments
- Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis
Dr. Ogilvie has been influential in setting and directing health policy on reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, HPV screening and the HPV vaccine, both in Canada and globally. She provides advice and consultation to national and international institutions, including the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Ministries of Health on STI, HIV and HPV vaccine policy and programming.
‘I’m truly delighted that our team was able to secure this highly competitive funding. It’s a tremendous honour, and an indication of the exceptional innovative and relevant research that is going on at BC Women’s and PHSA agencies. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement that here in BC, we are indeed leaders in the global effort to eliminate cervical cancer.’
As principal investigator, her research has attracted over $13 million in grants, receiving funding from PHAC, CIHR, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and private foundations, among others. Dr. Ogilvie has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and speaks widely at international and national research and education conferences.
- Awards + Accomplishments
- Cervical Cancer
Every three years, Accreditation Canada, the national body that evaluates hospitals, sends in a team of three senior health administrators to survey the quality of each hospital’s delivery of care.
During the week of the accreditation team’s visit, BC Women’s was evaluated in hundreds of areas, including operational efficiency, infection control, ethical standards, safety and quality, medication management, and surgical and acute-care processes, to name a few. Within each of these areas are what are called Required Operational Practices. Remarkably, BC Women’s scored 100% in every category – the first-ever Canadian hospital to do so.
“I have never been to an organization where quality and safety were so embedded in the DNA of staff. I have never seen so much commitment, teamwork, passion and innovation. BC Women’s is truly a leader when it comes to women’s, newborn and family care.” - Accreditation Canada Lead Surveyor
“I think this result reflects our focus on clinical excellence and patient-centred care,” says Christilaw. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that we deliver the very best care we possibly can.”
In her report on BC Women’s, the lead surveyor said, “I have never been to an organization where quality and safety were so embedded in the DNA of staff. I have never seen so much commitment, teamwork, passion and innovation. BC Women’s is truly a leader when it comes to women’s, newborn and family care.”
Christilaw is justifiably proud of her staff’s accomplishment: “The most important thing about accreditation is that it tells the public that we are a hospital where they can expect to get excellent care, and that we are constantly striving to improve it even further. It also gives validation that we are on the right path and that we are doing all the right things to assure that we continue to improve.”
Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of Women's Magazine. Free subscription here.
Written by Ann Collette - Photography by Ian Durning
- Awards + Accomplishments