The Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health provides interdisciplinary training in women’s health research and practice for graduate students at the University of Toronto through the following core elements:

  • Course – CHL5109 H: Gender and Health
  • Research Seminars
  • Support and advice to choose elective courses from participating graduate units and to develop a research plan that will assist students in building interdisciplinary research skills in women’s health
  • Mentors

 Core Requirements

Students participating in the Specialization may be pursuing degrees at either the master’s or doctoral level. Students at both levels will meet regularly for a monthly series of research seminars and will be encouraged to build relationships with peers and with specialization faculty that cross disciplinary boundaries. In addition to their home graduate unit supervisor, PhD students will also be required to identify a mentor, a faculty member of the Specialization whose own methodologies represent a different approach than that used by the student’s primary supervisor.

To successfully complete the Specialization, students must also successfully complete the requirements of their home graduate unit. Master’s and doctoral students who successfully complete the specialization will have the following notation added to their transcripts: “Completed the Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health”.

Master’s Level

  • Complete the Course (CHL 5109H: Gender and Health);
  • Participate in at least six of the eight monthly sessions in the Student Seminar Series
  • In instances where home graduate units require a thesis, it is desirable, but not required, that this work be relevant to women’s health.

Doctoral Level

  • Complete the Course (CHL 5109H: Gender and Health). Doctoral students who have satisfactorily completed the course during their master’s specialization are not required to repeat the course during their doctoral specialization;
  • Participate in at least six of the eight monthly sessions in the Student Seminar Series
  • Present completed or in-progress research at one of the monthly Research Seminars.
  • Devise a research plan that builds interdisciplinary research skills in women’s health. The plan is developed with guidance from the student’s graduate supervisor from their home unit and the mentor who both sign the study/research plan; and
  • Complete a dissertation on a topic relevant to women’s health.

Course – CHL 5109H: Gender and Health

Instructors:  Specialization directors, faculty mentors, and others.

Offered once every academic year

pic 1Training in the Specialization considers the impact of biological sex and gender on health, illness, disease, and injury among girls and women. Whether conducting research, providing direct clinical care, or working with populations as a public health practitioner, these considerations support a fulsome understanding of etiology, assessment, management, and prevention of health problems among individuals and communities. Yet how does one operationalize knowledge of sex and gender to promote health? This graduate course explores the divide between theory and practice and grapples with multiple methodologies to add in this exploration.

The course typically begins with an inquiry into the importance of ignorance as well as knowledge and a theoretical framing of gender, sex, and identity drawing on perspectives and methodologies from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The contributions of both sex and gender are critically examined through a close reading of different methodologies and texts. The course aims to foster the development of integrative and innovative approaches to research and scholarship in a supportive, but challenging multidisciplinary, milieu.

 “Being in the program has influenced the way I think about my work by encouraging a more multidisciplinary approach and being more open to qualitative methods

2014 Specialization Internal Quality Review

This course is open to all graduate students at the University of Toronto, but preference is given to students in the Specialization. Graduate students not enrolled in the Specialization may still take this course up to the limit of enrollment and by permission of the instructor. Enrollment is limited to a combined total of 20 doctoral and master’s students.

Elective (Non-Mandatory) Courses from Participating Graduate Units
Many of the Specialization’s participating graduate units have courses and seminars that could be relevant to students with an interest in women’s health, gender, and sex. Examples of courses include:

  • Women and Women’s Health in Countries of Conflict (Dalla Lana School of Public, Health, CHL5706H)
  • Restructuring Work and Care: Family, State and Market in Times of Crisis (Women & Gender Studies, WGS1013H)
  • Sex, Gender, and the Body in Religious Perspective (Religious Studies, RLG 2008H)
  • A Global Perspective on Health of Women and Children (Dalla Lana School of Public Health, CHL5117H)
  • Black Diasporic Feminisms: Modernity, Freedom, Belonging (Women & Gender Studies, WGS1021H S)
  • Women in Medieval Literature: Image and Author (English, ENG 1013H)
seminar session

2017 Seminar Session

Research Seminars
The Research Seminars bring together the students, faculty, and mentors of the Specialization to advance networking, joint mentoring, and supervision. Students at both the master’s and doctoral level as well as specialization faculty and mentors will present at these sessions, which will be an opportunity for presenters to receive constructive feedback on research-in-progress from an attentive, interdisciplinary audience. Each seminar will include a primary speaker and formal comments from at least one scheduled discussant from a different disciplinary background.

Click here for Seminar Series Guidelines

The Research Seminars are open to all.
All seminars are held monthly through the academic fall and winter terms.

Click here for student seminar schedule

 “Every seminar stimulates numerous research ideas. Hearing about the different methodologies that people use has also inspired me to experiment with different methodologies. It has helped me realize the importance of considering women and gender in the research I’m conducting currently, as well as research I hope to do in the future”

 2014 Specialization Internal Quality Review

Mentorship
PhD students (Master’s optional) enrolled in the Specialization are required to identify a mentor, a faculty member or mentor of the Specialization who brings a different approach/methodological perspective to bear on that used in the student’s primary disciplinary home. This faculty member/mentor will work with the student and the student’s primary supervisor from their home graduate unit to develop a study plan (and in the case of PhD students a research plan) that will help the student build interdisciplinary research skills in women’s health. The mentor as well as supervisor should sign the student’s study/research plan.

Click here for list of Mentors

Additional Learning Opportunities

Students enrolled in the Specialization also have the opportunity to participate in several learning series and seminars offered through Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital, including the option to attend or present their work/research at:

1. Research Development Rounds
Past Topics Include:
• Re-conceptualizing Safety for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in Shelter Settings
• Novel Options for Prevention in BRCA Mutation Carriers
• Lessons from Leading US Health Systems on how to Manage Improvement and Innovation
• HIV-related and Other Stigmas Crucial to the Experience of People Living with HIV

Over 90% of students said that being in the Collaborative Specialization in Women’s Health enriched their graduate experience at the University of Toronto.

2014 Specialization Internal Quality Review

2. Summer Student Research Skills Sessions
Topics Include:
• Research ethics
• Publishing papers
• Data interpretation
• Sex and gender
• Community-based research
• Knowledge translation

3. Women’s Xchange Annual Spring Event (May)
Past Topics Include:
• Women, Work and Health: Precarious and Invisible Labour
• Challenging Poverty: Measuring, Experiencing and Moving Beyond
• Achieving Equity for Women: Are We There Yet?
• Women’s Health Research: Reaching the Hard to Reach

Click here for Women’s Xchange Events

There is also the opportunity to participate in activities run by the McMaster University Gender & Health Education Initiative, in particular, the annual May Cohen Conference.