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VIU researchers granted more than $500,000 to pursue women’s health study

Whitney Wood and her team examining pelvic health conditions
VIU researcher Whitney Wood is leading a pelvic health and public health project with hopes of improving pelvic health care through exploring the history of pelvic health conditions and the activism that surrounds these issues. (Photo submitted)

A VIU research team received a grant of more than half a million dollars to support a study of pelvic health and inequities in health care.

The $577,575 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will support a study called pelvic health and public health, led by Whitney Wood, VIU’s Canada Research Chair in the historical dimensions of women’s health.

Wood believes studies on women’s health tend to focus on reproduction, and this has led to gaps and inequities in care, so the team is investigating the history of pelvic conditions, including endometriosis, as well as feminist activism and health care surrounding these issues from the 1960s to the 2000s.

“The fact that many of the pelvic health conditions we study include experiences of pain that are often invisible, chronic, feminized and dismissed in a range of health settings, means that telling these stories is important,” said Wood in a news release.

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The team will look through a range of sources to tell these stories, from medical journals, popular magazines and oral history interviews with those who have lived experience of pelvic pain.

“Understanding the historical roots of gaps in care that continue to disproportionately affect women, non-binary, gender diverse individuals, and those with reproductive organs historically classified as female, is an important first step to ongoing efforts to improve pelvic health care in 21st-century Canada,” said Wood .

The project will digitize new archival materials, which will be publicly available on the Rise Up Feminist Digital Archive.

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