We are always updating our speaker list and adding more presenters to make your conference experience even better! Keep checking back to see who else will be hosting talks at IWCH 2018!


Keynote Speakers

OPENING KEYNOTE: Dr. Beverley Chalmers

K1_Chalmers_HeadshotDr. Beverley Chalmers has over 300 publications and has given over 460 conference presentations globally.  Her book, ‘Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women’s Voices Under Nazi Rule’ achieved 12 book awards. She undertook over 140 perinatal health promotion activities in 25 countries for WHO, UNICEF and other agencies.  She conducted large scale surveys of women’s experiences of perinatal care in Canada, South Africa, Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Lithuania.  She facilitated the PROBIT Trial that impacted global infant feeding standards. She was the Co-Chair of the PHAC Maternity Experiences Study Group and is on the Overview Committee for the revision of the PHAC National Guidelines for Canadian perinatal health. She is the lead author on Chapter 1 that outlines the Principles and Philosophy underlying perinatal care in Canada.  Her book ‘Family-centred Perinatal Care’ (Cambridge University Press, 2017) integrates her lifetime’s contributions to the field of international perinatal health.

Dr. Chalmers will be speak to women’s experiences of giving birth in difficult situations globally and in Canada. She will also touch upon the overmedicalization of birth giving. The title of her talk will be: “Changing Women’s Worlds: A Taste of Multicultural, Interdisciplinary, Global, Perinatal Health Promotion”.

Take a look at one of Dr. Chalmer’s past talks here:

CLOSING KEYNOTE: Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

K2_Bhutta_ HeadshotDr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta is the Robert Harding Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health and the Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, at the Aga Khan University. Dr. Bhutta was a member of the Independent Expert Review Group (iERG) appointed by the UN Secretary General for monitoring global progress in maternal and child health MDGs from 2011-2015. He is Co-Chair of the Global Countdown for 2015 and 2030 Initiatives from 2006-2017, and the co-Chair of the Maternal and Child Health oversight committee of World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO). Dr. Bhutta is one of the most highly cited academics in global health. In particular his work with community health workers and outreach services has influenced integrated maternal and newborn outreach programs for marginalized populations all over the world.

Dr. Bhutta will give the closing remark on the issue of Maternal and Child Health in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on empowerment and gender equity.

Dr. Bhutta on his work at Sick Kids’ Global Health Centre:

Seminar Speakers

Presenter: Dr. Laurie Elit Laurie Elit

Topic:  The Changing Face of Cancer in the Global Context

Affiliated Organization: Juravinski Cancer Centre; Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, McMaster University

Professional Role: Associate Professor, McMaster University Department of Oncology
Professor; McMaster University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Biography: Dr. Laurie Elit is the division head of gynecologic oncology at the Juravinski Cancer Centre and Hospital. She is a full professor in the Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University. She has served as educator, clinician and scientist in numerous low resource settings such as Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, Kenya, Mongolia, Guyana to name a few. She is part of the faculty for MacGobus, on the leadership team for MacGlobal, and a member of the research team for Humanitarian Health Ethics – all McMaster initiatives.

PrChika Oriuwaesenter:  Chika Oriuwa

Topic: Thriving at the Intersections: Being a Black Woman in Medicine

Affiliated Organization: University of Toronto MD Program

Professional Role: Medical Student, University of Toronto

Biography: Chika Stacy Oriuwa is a third-year medical student at the University of Toronto (U of T) completing her MD/MSc with a concentration in System Leadership and Innovation. As a professional spoken word artist, she has worked under the Hamilton Youth Poets and earned her place as a national slam poetry finalist twice. She has a keen interest in healthcare reform pertaining to the intersections of race and gender within medicine. Her resolve has compelled her to remain proactive in the mentorship of youth in minority communities. For these reasons she enjoyed her roles as co-president of the U of T Black Medical Students Association, co-founder of the Black Interprofessional Students Association (BIPSA), and co-director of a non-profit youth leadership organization. She is currently an ambassador for the Black Students Application Program at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine, and sits on the External Implementation Steering Committee to the Minister of Child and Youth Services assisting with the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan. Her seminar will focus on her experiences a black woman in medicine, and how she became empowered through using her narrative of being the only Black medical student in her class to further empower others and push for diversity in medical education.

Presenter: Dr. Suzanne SicchiaSuzanne Sicchia

Topic: Equity and Access to Medical Abortion

Affiliated Organization:  Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society (ICHS); Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), University of Toronto

Professional Role: Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society (ICHS) and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), University of Toronto

Biography: Suzanne Sicchia is an Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health & Society (ICHS) and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), University of Toronto. She completed her doctorate in Medical Science, a Master of Science in social theory and health, and a Master of Health Science in health promotion, at the University of Toronto. Before joining the ICHS and DLSPH, Professor Sicchia worked as a Research Associate in the Global Health and the Violence and Health units of the former Centre for Research in Women’s Health, then a WHO/PAHO Collaborative Centre in Women’s Health. Her research and teaching interests focus on women’s health, critical social theory, public health, and global health governance. Suzanne’s research assistants have played a pivotal role in the current research she will be presenting.

Candace JohnsonPresenter: Dr. Candace Johnson

Topic:  Politics of Reproduction and Maternal Health Rights

Affiliated Organization: Department of Political Science, University of Guelph

Professional Role: Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph

Biography: Candace Johnson is a political theorist with expertise in gender politics, maternal health policy, and reproductive rights. Her book, Maternal Transition: A North-South Politics of Pregnancy and Childbirth (published by Routledge 2014 and 2016), is a comparative examination of maternal health preferences in Canada, the United States, Cuba, and Honduras and the ways in which these preferences reflect global, regional, national, and micro-scalar dynamics (the research for which was supported by a SSHRC Standard Research Grant). She has also published more widely on women and politics, health care policy, social rights, and Latin American politics. Her latest book project is a volume on Human and Environmental Justice in Guatemala, co-edited with Stephen Henighan, forthcoming with University of Toronto Press. In 2017 and 2009 Professor Johnson was awarded the Canadian Political Science Association’s Jill Vickers Prize in recognition of her work on gender and politics, and was nominated for this award on two other occasions (in 2011 and 2015). Her current research includes an examination of the global #MeToo movement and a project (funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant) on Canada’s global maternal health commitments in practice (transnational feminism meets foreign policy and development imperatives).

lydia kapiriri.pngPresenter: Dr. Lydia Kapiriri

Topic: Priority setting: A critical step in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3

Affiliated Organization: Department of Health, Aging, and Society, McMaster University

Professional Role: Associate Professor, Department of Health, Aging, and Society, McMaster University

Biography: Lydia Kapiriri is an associate professor in McMaster’s Department of Health, Aging and Society and a member of CHEPA. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and General Surgery and a diploma in Public Health from Makerere University, Uganda; as well as Masters degrees in Public Health (Royal Tropical Institute) and in Medicine, Public Health (Makerere University). She earned her PhD at the University of Bergen, Norway, Faculty of Medicine, Centre for International Health, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused mainly on health systems and global health research, including priority setting in health care at the different levels of decision making (macro, meso, and micro levels). She is also involved in research related to ethical issues in public health and global health, including international research ethics.

Picture1Presenter: Deborah Mensah

Topic: Improving Women’s Health Outcomes Internationally: Is there more to it than reproductive health interventions?

Affiliated Organization: Save the Mothers

Professional Role: Executive Director, Save the Mothers

Biography: Deborah Mensah is the Executive Director of Save the Mothers. For more than a decade, she has been a committed advocate for women and children throughout the developing world, working to ensure that each has access to the basic services they need to survive and thrive.

In an era when 800 women continue to die preventable deaths around the globe each day—of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth—Deborah is working hard towards a future in which no mother dies while giving life, so that babies and children can grow up with a healthy mother to support them.

She has built a career in the development, management and monitoring of public health projects in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North America. She has worked closely with national governments in Liberia, Ghana, Kenya and Ivory Coast to develop health strategies, policies and programs at national levels. But she has also worked at the local level to implement community-based maternal, newborn and child health programs, in conjunction with local health facilities and directorates.

Experienced in building partnerships with governments, global organizations, international and national NGOs, research and academic institutions and communities, time and again she has worked to successfully influence policy, mobilize resources and support program implementation.

A passionate speaker, Deborah can share compelling stories, statistics and hard-won insights that move hearts and minds to care about the needs of our world’s most vulnerable citizens.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Integrative Biology and Health Studies) from the University of Toronto, and both a Master of Science (Public Health) and a Diploma in Public Health from the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Deborah has three school age children.

Workshop Presenters

Karen BK ChanPresenter: Karen BK Chan

Workshop topic: Real Skills for Consent: Building Rejection Resilience

Affiliated Organization: Fluid Exchange Toronto

Professional Role: Sex & Emotional Literacy Educator

Biography: Karen B. K. Chan is a sex and emotional literacy educator in Toronto, Canada, with 20+ years of experience. BK’s favourite ways to learn and teach are through stories, metaphors, diagrams, and things that make people laugh. Above all, BK is dedicated to having difficult conversations that are real, transformative, and kind. You can find her and her work at FluidExchange.org.

Description: By now, many people can tell you what consent is and what it isn’t. However, knowing and actualizing are different stories. For one, the threat of rejection, humiliation, and failure all hover over every decision to “ask first.” By gender socialization, schooling and professional training, and the ease that technologies promise, most people nowadays are terrible at facing pain and uncertainty. Every time you ask for or seek consent, rejection is a possibility. So, to really support someone to practice sexual consent means to support their tolerance of that possibility. Without resilience in the face of that kind of pain, we inadvertently leave them to their own devices in the hardest moments of consent practice. In this interactive workshop, you will try out some hands-on exercises that can facilitate rejection resilience, and learn a theoretical framework that can help you explain it to someone else or incorporate it into your work.

Picture1Presenter: Crickett Wilder

Workshop topic:  Bystander Intervention

Affiliated Organization: Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton (SACHA)

Professional Role: Public Education Coordinator, SACHA  

Biography: Crickett Wilder is an intersectional feminist who has been working in the gender justice movement for over fifteen years and proudly works at SACHA as their Public Education Coordinator.  She is passionate about experiential education and approaching social change work with both a sense of urgency as well as a sense of humour. As a response to the Jian Ghomeshi verdict, Crickett created the #WeBelieveSurvivors campaign. Crickett brings her experience as a scientist, tall ship sailor, environmental educator, baker, migrant labour advocate, shelter worker, dog sledder, farm hand, and roller derby skater to her work as an educator.

Description: Most people want to take action when they see sketchy behaviour happening, but the number one reason they don’t is because they don’t have the skills yet. Bystander Intervention is like first aid training; we don’t expect to need it but it’s an essential skill. This workshop will use scenario based situations to get participants practicing skills so they feel more confident to interrupt potential situations that can lead to sexual violence.

Robin MasonPresenter: Robin Mason

Workshop topic: The Evolution of Health Research: Tools for Sex & Gender Integration

Affiliated Organization: Women’s Xchange; Women’s College Research Institute; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Professional Role: Scientist, Women’s Xchange; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Biography: Robin Mason is a scientist in the Violence and Health research program at Women’s College Hospital, Women’s College Research Institute and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with a cross-appointment to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is also the Scientific Lead for Women’s Xchange, a research knowledge and exchange centre focused on supporting and disseminating women’s health research across the province of Ontario and ensuring the integration of sex and gender in all health research.

Accompanied by: 

amy clare.pngAmy Clare is a medical anthropologist and project lead for Women’s Xchange, at Women’s College Research Institute. Previously, Amy had been living in Germany where she completed her Master’s degree at Heidelberg University. Her thesis focused on a transnational feminist critique of the international human egg trade. She is passionate about the necessity to explore health more broadly by considering socio-cultural dimensions, especially gender.

Description:During this workshop, we will address the importance of sex and gender integration in health research and health care settings. We will explore considerations of a sex and gender lens through interactive activities to assist participants develop critical thinking skills about these concepts. Women’s Xchange will provide tools to aid with the practical application of sex and gender in health research and key considerations to keep in mind moving forward as health research evolves.