Social Responsibility Award in Global Women’s Health and Vulnerable Populations
As a colleague of Dr. Rich, I have had the privilege to witness her passion for women’s health especially in rural and vulnerable populations, an avenue that she intends to pursue following her graduation. Dr. Rich first explored her interest in northern and rural populations in 2006 as a volunteer with the Frontiers foundation. During her residency in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, she went to the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife to complete her master’s degree from IHPME in Clinical Epidemiology focusing on Indigenous women’s health and maternity care in rural and remote regions. She received the Clinician-Investigator Program Ministry of Health funding, the Canadian Foundation of Women’s Health Dawn Walker grant for support of health policy training, a CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) patient engagement grant, and support from the CIHR Circumpolar Health Systems Innovation Team.
Her work, entitled “Health system performance in a circumpolar context: Developing indicators for maternity care” is published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health and has been presented at national and international conferences. It focuses on how performance measurement can help to improve the responsiveness of the maternity care system and allow it to meet the needs of Indigenous women in Northern Canada and other Arctic regions. She is also an active member on the SOGC Indigenous Health Initiatives committee collaborating to raise awareness of SOGC members and health care professionals to foster a sociocultural understanding of Aboriginal peoples and to provide the tools needed to deliver culturally safe care.
Upon her return to Toronto, she collaborated with fellow resident Dr. Leonardi to organize inSpeculum to raise awareness regarding the importance of cervical cancer screening. For this, they were awarded the GOC/APOG innovation award. Additionally, Dr. Rich was awarded the Dr. Andrée Gruslin Award Best of Best in Resident Research Presentation for her circumpolar work. Finally, she has recently co-founded the advocacy group CARR (Canadian Allies for Reproductive Rights) that has started a letter writing campaign with plans to build their network and goals at the SOGC ASCM in June, 2017.
Following graduation, she has arranged locums to continue providing care in rural northern communities and hopes to make this her future career. She consistently goes above and beyond for the patients she cares for acting as their advocate in every sense.