Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence

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Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence

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This organization began in 1995 as the Prairie Region Working Group, one of several applicants from across Canada to the Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health Program sponsored by the Women’s Health Contribution Program of Health Canada. The Prairie Region Working Group’s proposal was one of five selected for funding in 1996, and was constituted as the Prairie Women’s Health Centre for Excellence. The Women’s Health Contribution Program remained the primary source of funding for PWHCE as well as the other Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health throughout their operation. When Health Canada cut the funding for the Women’s Health Contribution Program in May 2013, PWHCE was unable to secure further financing and was forced to close indefinitely.

The Prairie Women’s Health Centre for Excellence was constituted from a formal partnership between six organizations, as well as an initial group of thirty cooperating organizations. The foundational partners were la Fédération provincial des fransaskoises; the Prairie Region Health Promotion Research Centre at the University of Saskatchewan; the University of Regina; the University of Manitoba; the University of Winnipeg; and the Women’s Health Clinic of Winnipeg. PWHCE had three program sites housed at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, and the University of Winnipeg with its administrative offices at the latter.

PWHCE was governed by a Board of Directors, representative of and answerable to the six founding organizations. The Board was advised by several committees: the Executive Committee, Research Advisory Committee, Policy Strategy Committee, and Sustainability Committee. PWHCE was also given leadership and national CEWHP representation by a Director, restyled in 2000 as Executive Director. Miriam Baron filled that role from February to November, 1997; then Linda DuBick, March 1998 to July 2000; and finally Margaret Haworth-Brockman, September 2000 until the organization’s dissolution in 2013.

The primary function of the Prairie Women’s Health Centre for Excellence was to sponsor original research related to women’s health through a program deployed in 1997. The research projects were either solicited through a proposal process or commissioned directly by PWHCE from community and health organizations. The research focused on Gender-Based Analysis: viewing health as a gendered issue, and examining the effects of race, poverty, environment, and other categories on women’s health.

In addition to producing research, PWHCE advised and collaborated with the same kinds of community and health organizations whose research it sponsored. It also presented work at scholarly conferences, offered workshops on Gender-Based Analysis and other women’s health topics, and made recommendations about health policy to government health organizations and departments. These advocacy activities occasionally extended beyond Canada, including work in Central America and Southeast Asia on HIV/AIDS.


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