Women and Children's Health Research Institute

13 October 2017

The University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is the proud home of the Women and Children's Health Research Institute―the only research institute in Canada to focus on both women's and children's health, including perinatal health.

Built on partnership

WCHRI is a partnership between the U of A and Alberta Health Services, with core funding from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation. More than 350 Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researchers are members in WCHRI, and the work of the institute extends across the U of A with a total of approximately 500 researchers participating.

Bolstered by philanthropy

On June 22, 2016, the WCHRI received $14.5 million from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation―the largest gift ever given by the latter-and, from the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation, a $40-million commitment over 10 years-the largest gift ever received by the U of A.

WCHRI director Sandra Davidge answers three questions about how gifts like these transform many lives.

By Breanne Fisher and Salena Kitteringham

Q: Why is WCHRI's research important?

Children and women continue to be under-represented in research.

Until recently, research used adult male models as the standard of care. But women are not smaller men. And children are not tiny adults.

Children react differently to medicines at different stages of their development. Some medicines that work for men can be ineffective or even detrimental for women's health.

Q: What do these gifts from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation allow WCHRI to do?

These gifts allow WCHRI's work to continue for at least another 10 years. We will continue to attract world-renowned researchers to the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and to the U of A and contribute to the development of Edmonton as a "Health City."

Q: Who benefits from a donation like this?

The benefits go beyond treating the needs of women and children. Healthier pregnancies mean healthier children, moms, families and communities. We often talk about the crucial first 2,000 days of life. This is the time that sets children up to become healthy adults. It has far-reaching implications for population health and reducing the burden of chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Evidence shows when you embed research into health care, the patients have better health outcomes. Albertans can be proud that their donations are being put to use right here at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and the Stollery Children's Hospital.

Answers were curated and condensed from a series of interviews leading up to the gift announcement, as well as speeches and comments on June 22, 2016.