box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Women’s Health

New centre for women’s health in Eastern Ontario

OTTAWA – The Shirley E. Greenberg Woman’s Health Centre (SEGWHC) has officially opened at the Riverside Campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

About 200 guests, including leaders in women’s issues, community leaders and other VIPs were recently on hand to celebrate the opening of Eastern Ontario’s foremost centre specializing in the health needs of women throughout their reproductive, menopausal and postmenopausal years.

On-site services at the Centre are focused on three key areas: mature women’s health, cancer screening and benign (non-cancerous) gynecology.

To diagnose and treat disease and illness, the new centre will feature state-of-the-art technology and equipment, such as: digital colposcopes, electric examination tables, 4-dimensional ultrasound machines and leading edge uro-dynamic technology.

Furthermore, each patient exam room is equipped with a computer for secure, easy access to electronic health records, test results and to assist with patient teaching.

Dr. Elaine Jolly (pictured at left), the Centre’s Medical Director, spearheaded the idea for a women’s health centre in Ottawa. “We wanted a place that could improve the health of women by enhancing knowledge of, and responsiveness to women’s health issues, be they physical, psychological or social,” said Dr. Jolly.

Subsequently, she rallied a group of women leaders in the community to form the Ottawa Women’s Health Council (OWHC). This influential Council would raise awareness about women’s health issues, champion the need for a woman’s health centre, and raise funds to support it. “I would like to salute the men and women across Eastern Ontario who supported this project, and in particular the Ottawa Women’s Health Council and our benefactor Shirley Greenberg, who helped make our vision become a reality,” added Dr. Jolly.

“As a part of a teaching hospital, our Centre also recognizes the importance of education and research,” said Dr. Jolly. “We have direct links to the University of Ottawa to help train and develop healthcare professionals, and to the Ottawa Health Research Institute to advance our understanding of women’s health issues through research.”

Patients will also benefit from this commitment to education and research. The Women’s Health Centre will have increased capacity for participation in clinical trials. This means that more women will have access to the newest treatments under development.

A Patient Education Library also figures prominently in the Centre. Staffed with a part-time librarian and volunteers, this resource will help guide women through the wealth of information and decision-aids available on-line and from other sources. This will enable them to participate more fully in personal healthcare decisions and further the goal of promoting health and preventing disease.

A multi-disciplinary team of specialists in women’s health will staff the SEGWHC. When a patient is referred to the Centre, she will be assigned to a primary care nurse. This “nurse navigator” will help guide the patient through the system, coordinating appointments and follow-ups with specialists in all disciplines, liaising with their family physician, enrolling them in clinical trials, and arranging for education and other services as required.

The primary care nurse will also co-ordinate off-site services on the patient’s behalf, as the reach of the SEGWHC extends far beyond its walls at the Riverside Campus. It has built-in links to the hospital’s fertility centre, the Regional Women’s Breast Health Centre, the Heart Institute, and to CHEO. This will ensure women receive the best integrated healthcare.

The Centre also has a community and regional outreach component to bring services closer to its clients. A satellite program already exists at the Victoria General Hospital in Renfrew, and a teaching partnership has been setup in Cornwall with the Victorian Order of Nurses. Community linkages have been established with the Montfort Hospital and Queensway-Carleton Hospital. As the Women’s Health Centre flourishes more partnerships should follow.

The Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre is a $5 million investment in the best facilities and equipment for the women of Eastern Ontario. The annual operating costs and part of the set-up costs were covered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

However, the start-up costs, $3 million, were raised by the OWHC. “Thanks to the generous support of our community, the Ottawa Women’s Health Council was proud to be a major force in building and equipping the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre,” said Linda Schumacher, Executive Director of the OWHC. “However our work is not done. The Council will continue to raise awareness about women’s health issues and to influence public policy. We will work to raise another $2 million to achieve our $6 million commitment to the Women’s Health Centre. This will allow us to create an endowment fund that will perpetually support education and research at the Centre. This will be our gift that keeps on giving,” said Schumacher.

“This is truly a momentous occasion for The Ottawa Hospital and for women’s health in Eastern Ontario,” said Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO. “This centre embodies everything that our Hospital stands for; that is working with our partners across the region to create a centre that is nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in patient care, teaching and research.”

The Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre is positioned to become “command central” for women’s health in Eastern Ontario, providing a holistic and integrated program for the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the promotion of health for women of all ages. In its first year, the Centre expects over 30,000 patient visits, and it has room to grow for the anticipated increase in volume that an aging population will bring.

For more information on the Ottawa Women’s Health Council, visit:

Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre by the numbers:

• Square footage: 16,000
• Cost of the Centre: $ 5 million
• Of that cost, percentage invested in state-of-the-art equipment and technology: Over 50 %
• Anticipated patient visits in year one: 30,000
• Number of staff at Centre: 79
• Year concept was developed: 1999
• Year Ministry approval: 2001
• Year Ottawa Women’s Health Council was founded: January 2001
• Number of volunteers on Ottawa Women’s Health Council: 100
• Fundraising goal of OWHC: $6 million
• Raised to date: $ 4 million