A new Centre for Mature Women’s Health at Sinai Health in Toronto, Ont., will act as a “one-stop-shop” to address the spectrum of health challenges that women face as they age. The new centre, located at Mount Sinai Hospital, will double the number of patients that specialists at Mount Sinai Hospital can see every year.
The Sinai Health Foundation has launched a campaign to raise $50-million to expand the hospital’s internationally recognized program in mature women’s health and bring together all clinical specialties in a single space to improve access to care and break down silos, says Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, co-chair of the Sinai Health Foundation Board.
Currently the hospital’s Mature Women’s Health Program provides care to more than 2,500 women a year from across Ontario and is a national referral centre for some specialized areas of care such as women experiencing premature menopause.
“We provide excellent care, but some of the clinics have wait lists of more than a year,” says Ms. Granovsky Gluskin.
“Our unprecedented focus to raise funds for a new Centre for Mature Women’s Health is a direct response to the urgent need to expand and accelerate our efforts on all fronts, including clinical capacity, research, education and advocacy for women as they age,” says Ms. Granovsky Gluskin.
“Not only will this ensure that we are providing the best evidence-based care possible, but through research, education and advocacy, we hope to drive advancements in how care is provided beyond our centre, both provincially and nationally. And by educating the next generation of physicians via our fellowship and elective programs, we can extend our reach internationally,” says Louis de Melo, CEO, Sinai Health Foundation.
Dr. Wendy Wolfman, director of the Menopause and Premature Ovarian Insufficiency Clinics and holder of the Carol Mitchell Chair in Menopause at Mount Sinai Hospital, says there are glaring inequities and misconceptions around women’s health issues as they age.
“From perimenopause through menopause and post-menopause, mature women’s health issues are under-represented in care and research,” she says. “We are only beginning to have open and honest conversations about the health challenges that many women encounter as they get older. It is critical that we send the message that help is available for women with symptoms, but we must also build capacity and expertise in the health-care system.”
Dr. Wolfman adds that a myriad of health symptoms brought on by menopause affect up to half of Canada’s population at the worst possible time in their lives – when they’re at the peak of their careers and often caring for other family members including parents and children.
The vision for the centre will be realized over three phases. Phase one will raise $15-million to address the most urgent needs including securing leadership for the centre, increasing immediate capacity for clinical care, advancing fellowship training, and leading advocacy and public education.
Phase two will focus on investing in state-of-the-art equipment, mobilizing research efforts, adapting medical education and cultivating future leaders, while phase three will support core research operations, lay the foundation for long-term collaboration and establishing first-of-their-kind Chairs in emerging fields related to mature women’s health.
Implementation of phase one priorities will begin when the foundation has secured the necessary philanthropic commitments.
“The first priorities will be appointing a director for the centre, sustaining a fellowship program to expand clinical capacity and train clinicians, and developing a public education program,” says Mr. Louis de Melo, adding that during this time fundraising will continue for the subsequent phases.
To learn more about the new Centre for Mature Women’s Health: maturewomenshealth.ca
A recent Nanos Research survey commissioned by Sinai Health Foundation of more than 1,200 women across Canada, 40 years of age or older, found:
- Sixty per cent of respondents reported having experienced at least one symptom of perimenopause or menopause, yet half said they have not consulted a health-care practitioner about symptoms of perimenopause, menopause or pelvic floor disorders. This is largely because they believe what they are experiencing is normal or don’t know what normal is.
- Concerningly, nearly half of respondents have not heard of pelvic floor disorders, yet 50 per cent of women over the age of 50 will suffer from one.
- Approximately 50 per cent of respondents reported experiencing symptoms like night sweats, sleep problems, weight gain and fatigue; however, just under one in 10 associated each of those symptoms with perimenopause.
- About 90 per cent of respondents said they are comfortable talking about their perimenopause symptoms with a doctor, yet less than half have actually spoken with a physician about their symptoms.
- More than a third of respondents were not aware that treatment options exist for menopause and perimenopause. Only half of the respondents who had consulted their doctor about menopause, perimenopause and pelvic floor disorders were prescribed treatment.
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