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PHSA staff nominated for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards

The nominees come from BC Children’s Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, BC Cancer, and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. Congratulations to all on this significant achievement!
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​The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of the community. This year, five women from across PHSA have been included in this year’s list of nominees. PHSA’s nominees span two categories: Health & Wellness and Research, the Sciences & Technology.

These women are recognized for achieving outstanding success in their fields by: 

  • Showing vision and initiative to break new ground or old barriers
  • Demonstrating accomplishments that help her stand out amongst her peers 
  • Being a leader and role model 
  • Participating actively as a volunteer
  • Being recognized by her community for her sustained commitment and contribution within her category
Health & Wellness Category:

Dr. Serena Kassam, BC Children’s Hospital 

Dr. Kassam is a pediatric dentist with BC Children’s Hospital,  associate clinical professor at UBC, adjunct associate clinical professor, and former pre-doctorate director at New York University College of Dentistry.

In 2017, Dr. Kassam became a founding member of the World Cleft Coalition, an alliance of NGOs that work in the area of cleft lip and palate, to encourage international collaboration on best practices for safe and comprehensive cleft care globally. The technique in which she specializes is breaking new ground in treatment for cleft lip and palate and she has expanded global access to cleft care for underserved patients through her leadership role as Dental and Pre- Surgical Director with the Global Smile Foundation (GSF). 

As co-founder of the Global Fellowship in Craniofacial Pediatric Dentistry, in partnership with the GSF, she established a clinic in Ecuador, with yearly follow up and offered advanced training to dental providers from around the world. In addition, there is now a comprehensive cleft center that runs year round. Dr. Kassam was recently appointed on the Education Committee for the America Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and as a board member for the Canadian Society of Disability and Oral Health.

Dr. Charlotte Yong-Hing, BC Cancer

Dr. Yong-Hing is a diagnostic radiologist, medical director of Breast Imaging at BC Cancer and clinical assistant professor of Radiology at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. She is an advocate for inclusivity and diversity in radiology. She founded Canadian Radiology Women, a community of female radiologists and radiologists-in-training, to foster community, mentorship, leadership and diversity to improve patient care. 

Dr. Yong-Hing has worked with provincial and national leaders to formalize a national strategy to encourage and support diversity in radiology. As president-elect of the BC Radiological Society, she has helped create a national community of women radiologists. Her research has brought the radiology gender gap to light and has provided practical strategies for associations and departments to implement in order to improve diversity and, ultimately, improve the lives of patients across the country.

Research, the Sciences & Technology Category: 

Dr. Quynh Doan, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute / BC Children’s Hospital

Dr. Doan is a recognized pediatrician, medical researcher and educator. She is an advocate for child and youth mental health and addictions across BC and Canada. Her health services research has broken new ground on issues of access and overcrowding in Emergency Departments and her innovative research in youth mental health has led to the development of novel screening tools to identify social, behavioural, psychiatric and substance use issues in children and youth. 

Having personally overcome multiple traditional barriers in her field, Quynh is a dedicated role model and mentor for all, particularly women and women of colour, within academic medicine. Through her professional and community advocacy and her leadership roles, Quynh has been a true champion of equity, diversity and inclusion and contributes to the resilience, integrity and wellness of the next generation.

Dr. Lori Brotto, BC Women’s Health Research Institute

Dr. Brotto is executive director at the Women's Health Research Institute (WHRI), a registered psychologist and a professor at UBC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr. Brotto’s foundational research in mindfulness-based interventions at the UBC Sexual Health Research Laboratory has fundamentally changed how centres around the world manage chronic genital pain and sexual dysfunction in women. 

At UBC, she co-created the division of gynecologic specialties for clinician-scientists who did not fall into existing categories, which has fostered unprecedented levels of collaboration with specialists who often work in siloes and has been emulated by research institutions across Canada. Under her leadership, the WHRI has tripled its membership resulting in strong institutional representation across BC and all provincial health authorities. Dr. Brotto is a vocal advocate for women in leadership. She also founded a non-profit fitness society, which provides free public boot camps to help people engage in physical fitness.

Dr. Laura Sly, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute / BC Children’s Hospital 

Dr. Sly is an immunologist and leader in intestinal inflammation research at BC Children’s Hospital. Dr. Sly is also an associate professor, Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Pediatrics at UBC and an associate dean in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC. She has also developed a new graduate program focused on women+ and children’s health at UBC. 

This program offers students a multidisciplinary curriculum and the opportunity to acquire skills like collaboration, leadership, advocacy and professionalism, supporting a new generation of scientists. Laura is also the associate director of BC Children’s Hospital Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies Centre of Excellence and the Lead of the Immunology in Health and Disease research group. Dr. Sly works to enhance opportunities for women and served on the Society for Leukocyte Biology’s Women and Diversity Committee from 2017 – 2020.

The 2021 Women of Distinction Awards takes place on June 7, 2021. Congratulations to all this year’s nominees. 

SOURCE: PHSA staff nominated for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards ( )
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