The mandate of the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health is to provide funding for research, education, and international work in all aspects of women’s health, thereby saving lives and improving the health of women. Along with the Executive Director, the Board of Directors is responsible for putting the mandate of the Foundation into action. The Board establishes the Foundation’s goals and policy, ensures adequate financial support for Foundation operations, develops and plans long-range initiatives, hires the Executive Director, and promotes the Foundation both privately and publicly. Our Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
- Unjali Malhotra, MD (Interim Chair)
- Christine Berry
- Philippe Sauthier, MD
- Marla Shapiro, MD
- Heather Miller, MD
- Margaret Burnett, MD
- Jennifer Blake, MD
Program Director of a Women’s Health Residency training program at UBC.
Dr. Unjali Malhotra (CCFP Women’s Health NCMP) is a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner through the internationally accredited organization, The North American Menopause Society. Dr. Malhotra is a Family Physician with extensive training and expertise in Women’s Health and University program development and improvement in Canada. She is the former Medical Director of Options for Sexual Health (Planned Parenthood). She is the creator and Program Director of a Women’s Health Residency training program for family practice residents at UBC and is the founder of the provincial HPV program through Options for Sexual Health as well as numerous educational initiatives provincially and nationally.
President – Berry Technologies Inc.
Christine Berry, president of Berry Technologies Inc., is very clear on why her company exists. “We afford women choice,” says Berry. “We give them more avenues to meet their health goals.” Berry, whose background includes a B.Sc., post-grad work in infectious and respiratory diseases, and stints at drug uber-corporation Bayer and biotech company Serono, masterminded a novel approach to pharmaceutical promotion eights years ago. Concerned that women’s products were given little support and consequently failed, she offered to team up with manufacturers and take over the marketing for individual drugs. It seems like a simple idea, but it was considered revolutionary at the time, when the industry was dominated by risk-averse behemoths. Berry actually dealt with outright ridicule during her initial contact with drug manufacturers. Still, she hung in there and has boosted several products, from infertility treatments to pre-natal Down’s syndrome tests. The company has grown steadily, making over $10 million in sales last year.
Naysayers had also fingered her reluctance to leave Calgary as a potential pitfall. “Everyone told me I had to move east when I started. All the big companies were in the east,” she says, “but I’m from the west, and I wanted to do this here. Good ideas can fly anywhere.” In fact, Berry maintains that being Calgary-based has helped her success. “Western Canada – especially Calgary – is very progressive. We are willing to push the envelope. Doctors here want to support a company that is from here.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Berry’s company has moved into women’s well-ness with a line that features probiotics, vitamins, and supplements.
“It fits with our corporate philosophy,” explains Berry. “Women’s health solutions don’t always have to be conventional medical choices.”
Their new star product is Fermalac vaginal, a probiotic – “good” bacteria – that counteracts the nasty bugs that cause recurrent vaginal infections, a problem that can be notoriously hard to treat. Berry predicts you’ll be hearing a lot about probiotics in the future, as they gain acceptance in research and consumer circles.
Dr. Philippe Sauthier, MD
Dr. Philippe Sauthier obtained his federal diploma of medicine and doctorate from the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland. He completed his training in gynecology and obstetrics at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois de Lausanne (CHUV, Prof. Hans Bossart, Prof. Pierre De Grandi), obtaining his title of specialist in gynecology and obstetrics in 1994. From 1996 to 1998, he studied gynecologic oncology in Quebec, completing his training at the CHUM under the direction of Dr. Pierre Droiun. Upon returning to Switzerland, he worked as a gynecologic oncologist in charge of the colposcopy unit at the CHUV. He also acquired an expertise in the surgical management of breast cancers in addition to operating a private practice in general gynecologic obstetrics. Dr. Sauthier is a founding member of the Groupe Suisse de Colposcopie, and in 2003 he became one of the first Swiss gynecologists to obtain the Swiss Certificat de Formation Approfondie (CFA) (advanced training certificate) in gynecologic oncology. The same year, he obtained a Diplôme Interdisciplinaire Universitaire (DIU) (interdisciplinary university diploma) in palliative care from the CHUV.In 2004, Dr. Sauthier joined the gynecologic oncology team at the CHUM (Dr. Diane Provencher) as an active member and assistant clinical professor. In 2009, he obtained his title of clinical associate professor, his regular permit to practice, his equivalence in gynecologic obstetrics and his Canadian citizenship. In 2009, he created and became director of the Quebec Throphoblastic Disease Registry and the CHUM’s Unité de Recherche et d’Investigations en Colposcopie (Unit for research and investigation in colposcopy). In 2011, he was appointed chief of the gynecologic oncology department at the CHUM, and in February 2013 he was appointed medical assistant at the Centre Intégré de Cancérologie (CHUM).
Dr. Philippe Sauthier collaborated on the FQM’s new profile in onco-massage therapy, notably by validating its content. In 2013, he collaborated on our cancer dossier, and he also took part in the FQM’s Annual General Assembly, where he gave a presentation on the role of massage therapy in Quebec’s health care system. The FQM wishes to thank Dr. Sauthier for his generosity and commitment.
Dr. Marla Shapiro, MD
Dr. Shapiro completed medical school at McGill University and trained at the University of Toronto for her Masters of Health Science in Community Health and Epidemiology. She trained in Family Medicine and is certified by the Canadian College of Family Practice. She concluded her specialty training in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, receiving her Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She holds a Fellowship in Family Medicine and is a North American Menopause Society credentialed menopause specialist.Since 2000, Dr. Shapiro has been the Health and Medical Expert for CANADA AM. In addition to her weekly appearances on CANADA AM, Dr. Shapiro is seen regularly on CTV News Channel and as the medical consultant on CTV National News. In 2012, she hosted CTV News Channel’s DR. MARLA & FRIENDS, a weekly series examining the most current and news-driven medical topics and stories. In addition, Dr. Shapiro has contributes topical, medical investigative documentaries for CTV’s W5, Canada’s most-watched documentary series. In 2003, she began hosting BALANCE: TELEVISION FOR LIVING WELL, a refreshing daily health and lifestyle show seen across North American households.
In 2015, Dr. Shapiro was named a member of the Order of Canada, for contributions as a family physician and trusted source of health information.
Dr. Shapiro has written a regular column for The Globe and Mail. She currently writes her weekly blog on the CTVNews.ca website. Dr. Shapiro is the Founding Editor of ParentsCanada Magazine.
Additionally, Dr. Shapiro is a member of several committees and advisory boards including the Board for the Canadian Foundation for Women and Health, Research Canada and The North American Menopause Society. She was on the original Board of The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer having stepped down after 6 years.
Dr. Shapiro was honoured at the 150th Bayer Anniversary among 22 leading scientists and researchers for her work in Women’s Health and contraception, and she was also named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women by Women of Influence Magazine in Canada. In 2011, The Israeli Cancer Research Fund honoured Dr. Shapiro at their Women of Action Luncheon for her personal and professional dedication to supporting innovative cancer research. She was the recipient of the 2010 Peter R. Newman Humanitarian Award in recognition of an exemplary commitment to the welfare of individuals or the community, at home or abroad. Dr. Shapiro was the recipient of the 2005 Media Award from the North American Menopause Society for her work in expanding the understanding of menopause. She won the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada/Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health Award for Excellence in Women’s Health Journalism in 2006 for her documentary, Run Your Own Race. The documentary was written, presented and co-produced by Dr. Shapiro, and won numerous industry awards including the New York Film Festival and the Columbus International Film and Video award.
Dr. Shapiro received an Award of Excellence from the College of Family Physicians of Canada for her lifelong commitment and dedication to family medicine in 2008. As well she was awarded the Excellence in Creative Professional Activity in 2008 by the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Her national best-selling book, Life in the Balance: My Journey with Breast Cancer, was released in Fall 2006.
Dr. Heather Miller, MD
Dr. Margaret Burnett, MD
Dr. Burnett is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences with a cross-appointment in the Department of Family Medicine. She is the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Residency Program Director and Head of Clinical Gynaecology at the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg. She began her medical career as a family physician, practicing in Winnipeg for seven years before returning to the University of Manitoba to complete a residency in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She joined the Manitoba Clinic and spent eight productive and happy years in private practice. In 2002, she was invited to join the full-time clinical teaching faculty at the University of Manitoba. Since that time she has enjoyed an ever-increasing role in medical education at that institution.
Her current portfolio includes responsibilities for undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional learning. She has a busy clinical practice in general gynaecology with special interests in sexual and reproductive health, vulvar disease and vaginal surgery. Her academic interests include physician assessment, knowledge translation, innovative curriculum development and enhancement of learning through simulation. She holds a Masters Degree in Medical Sociology. Her thesis explored patients’ evaluation of physician role performance. She was an elected councillor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba for 16 years, serving in various capacities including Investigation Chair, Inquiry Chair and President of that organization. This year marks her tenth on the Board of the SOGC.
Dr. Jennifer Blake, MD
Dr. Jennifer Blake has been an active member of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada since 1982.
Dr. Blake earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Waterloo in 1974. She then studied at McMaster University where she acquired her medical degree in 1977, completed a mixed internship in 1978, completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 1982, served as the MRC Fellow in reproductive endocrinology from 1982 to 1984, and earned her Master of Science degree in Health Research Methodology in 2004.
Dr. Blake is an educational leader with a multifaceted understanding of the profession, including the academic, clinical and regulatory perspectives. During her career, she returned to the academic setting assuming a number of appointments. After serving as Assistant Professor for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at McMaster University from 1984 to 1988, she assumed the same position within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto from 1988 to 1991 where she was head of the Division of Pediatric Gynecology. Until she returned to Toronto in 1999 to become Professor and Associate Chair from 2003 to 2012, she assumed a number of leadership and management positions.
Between her academic appointments, Dr. Blake served as Chief of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of Women’s Health at the Sunnybrook and Health Sciences Centre, Chief of Pediatric Gynaecology at the Hospital for Sick Children and Undergraduate Dean of McMaster University’s Medical School. She has assumed a variety of other leadership roles within departments and committees since 1988.
Acknowledged as an outstanding obstetrician-gynaecologist both in Canada and abroad, McMaster University formally acknowledged Dr. Blake as the recipient of the Dr. Carr Teaching Award in 1996 and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership in 1995. The same year, she received the SOGC award for Best Reproductive Endocrinology Research Paper, which followed the SOGC’s first place award for Best Gynaecology Research Paper in 1992. In 1983, she was granted the MOH Scientist Award and the R. T. Weaver Award for Best Resident Paper Presentation in 1980. Accolades for Dr. Blake are not restricted to those within the academic and women’s health sectors. In 2011, Dr. Blake was identified as one of the top 25 women of influence in Canada.
Dr. Blake not only has an impressive research background and an active publication record, she is an experienced leader who has led major organizational change in both the hospital and academic sectors. She brings a national perspective from her work with the SOGC, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), the Association of Professors in Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada (APOG), and the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health (CFWH).
In addition to her membership with the SOGC, Dr. Blake is also an active member of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Toronto, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, the Society of Canadian Colposcopists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, as well as the International and North American Menopause Societies.
As a passionate advocate, respected leader, published author, dynamic lecturer, and trusted spokeswoman on issues relating to women’s health, Dr. Blake has assumed a number of consultancy roles on projects pertaining to general obstetrics and gynaecology, continuing medical education, strategic planning, ethics, public affairs, menopause, human sexuality, oncology, as well as pediatric and adolescent gynaecology. She has also been an active member of advisory committees, board of directors, task forces as well as administrative, medical, and perinatal committees.
Dr. Blake’s philanthropic and community service initiatives have included being a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the Junior League of Toronto (2011 to present), serving as Chair of the Canadian Foundation from Women’s Health (2007 to present), as Vice Chair of the Genesis Research Foundation (2003 to present), and as Chair of the National Health Advisory Committee for the Look Good Feel Better/Lives Affected by Cancer Programme.
Dr. Blake enjoys an active home life. Together with her husband, Dr. Denny DePetrillo, they have three children, four grandchildren and a dog. She is an avid reader and writer, enjoys gardening as well as the great outdoors.