Join us as we celebrate the upcoming International Day of Women and Girls in Science on ThursdayFebruary 6, 2025. Become part of the conversation by following #WomenInScience on Instagram!

In 2015, UNESCO and UN Women established an annual day to honour the important role women and girls play in science and technology. Together they are making a global call to "smash stereotypes, defy gender biases and defeat discrimination that hold women and girls back in STEM fields." 

At BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre, we are proud to support our inspiring female leaders who are making groundbreaking discoveries and innovations in research. At this unique evening event, we will be showcasing the important contributions of seven of these women.

Our Women in Science evening strives to empower the community and promote an equitable and inclusive learning environment. People of all genders are welcome and encouraged to participate. At BCCHR, we understand that an intersectional lens is needed when discussing women’s experiences in science as ‘woman’ is not a universal experience that transcends other components of identity. It is a broad experience that includes those socialized as women who identify as women, those socialized as women who do not identify as women, and those who were not socialized as women but identify as women. Additionally, that experience is further made unique depending on race and/or ethnicity, class, religion, sexual and/or romantic identity, disability, etc.  

Presented by BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Women's Health Research Institute and BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services Research Institute

Curriculum | ThursdayFebruary 6, 2025

  • 6:00 pm: Participant registration
  • 6:30 – 8:00 pm: Hear from six women who are paving the way for research in health sciences. Learn more about our presenters including what inspired them to pursue a career in science and what stereotypes or other gender-based barriers they faced. This will be an open conversation so be prepared to ask questions! 
  • 8:00 - 8:30 pm: For those participating in-person, join us after the panel for a reception for your chance to engage in conversation with our panelists and BCCHR researchers
Learn more about the 2024 Women in Science Faculty!

Najah AdreakDr. Najah Adreak, Clinical Researcher, CAPSNet Data Registry Coordinator,
Ped​iatric Surgery, BC Children’s Hospital

Dr. Najah Adreak is an aspiring heart surgeon and clinical researcher with a Master of Science in Surgery from UBC. Her medical journey began at Tripoli University, where she completed her medical schooling and specialized as a Cardiac Surgery resident in Libya. Seeking advanced education and training, she transitioned to Canada, driven by an unwavering commitment to excellence. She currently works as the CAPSNet National data registry coordinator in pediatric surgery at BC Children's Hospital, a role where she utilizes national data registry to improve perinatal surgical health care delivery in Canada.

As the Trainee Representative for the Canadian Women's Heart Health Alliance and the co-lead of the Western Committee for the 2020-2023 Wear Red Canada campaign, Dr. Adreak has consistently advocated for cardiovascular health. Her expertise as a TEDx speaker, coupled with her global health equity knowledge, bolsters her advocacy for underserved communities, particularly women, striving to ensure equitable access to cardiovascular treatment. 

Recognized as a beacon of inspiration and leadership, Najah has been honoured with prestigious accolades, including the 'Canada's Top 100 Black Women to Watch' and the 'Woman of the Year' awards. These acknowledgments underscore her impactful contributions and dedication to breaking barriers in the medical field and beyond.

Melissa CrumpMelissa Crump, Executive Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Provincial Health Services Authority

Melissa Crump is the Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Provincial Health Services Authority. She is a registered nurse, consultant, facilitator, executive coach, leader, change agent and innovator with over 20 years of experience within the healthcare field. With a passion for people, change and continuous improvement, Melissa brings organization development and quality improvement (QI) together to create sustainable change within the health system. As a Positive Deviance (PD) and Liberating Structures (LS) practitioner, Melissa creates platforms for creative problem-solving while simultaneously amplifying voices within the system. Melissa’s journey to connect people and ideas has continued in her current role in cultivating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion within the health authority using OD (PD/LS) and QI methodologies to engage people in systemic change. 

Angela KaidaDr. Angela Kaida, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Gender and Health; Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU

Dr. Angela Kaida is a global health epidemiologist and community-based researcher at Simon Fraser University, where she is an SFU Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the former Canada Research Chair in Global Perspectives on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health. She leads a global research program focused on factors and environments that increase vulnerability or protect sexual and reproductive health in the context of HIV. Dr. Kaida works closely with community leaders and decision makers to integrate research evidence into health policy and programming attending to social and gender equity. In 2022, she was elected as a Member of the Royal Society College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. As of January 2023, Dr. Kaida is the Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health. 

Abisola KehindeAbisola Kehinde, Doctoral Student, Parker Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, UBC

Abisola Kehinde is a Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Seth Parker's lab at BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and the University of British Columbia. She received her BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and her MSc in Biochemistry from UBC, Canada. She is interested in how nutrients and/or their transporters can be used to mitigate or treat metabolic disease(s). Her current research is aimed at tracking the metabolism of highly demanded nutrients (such as amino acids) in cancer cells and tumors | Read Her Story

Heather PalisDr. Heather Palis, Senior Scientist, BC Centre for Disease Control; Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Dr. Heather Palis is a Senior Scientist at the BC Centre for Disease Control and Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health. She was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC and with Harm Reduction and Substance Use Services at the BC Centre for Disease Control, where her research has been supported by a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship, Health Research BC Trainee Award, and Marshall Fellowship from the UBC Institute of Mental Health. She holds a PhD in Population and Public Health from the UBC School of Population and Public Health. Her research uses linked administrative health data to study the implementation of harm reduction and substance use treatment interventions to inform the overdose public health emergency response in BC.

Caron StrahlendorfDr. Caron Strahlendorf, Investigator, BC Children's Hospital; Clinical Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, UBC

Dr. Caron Strahlendorf is Head of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT at BC Children’s Hospital and Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia. She has been Deputy Head of Pediatrics since 2019. She graduated from medical school at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and completed an internship at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, followed by a pediatric residency at the University of the Witwatersrand and went on to subspecialize in Pediatric Hematology /Oncology/BMT. Prior to joining the faculty at UBC, she completed a three-year fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and returned to Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital to become Division Head for 2 years.

Dr. Strahlendorf treats patients with a wide range of oncological conditions, focusing on solid tumours and retinoblastoma, and also leads the apheresis unit. Her research interests include clinical and research bioethics, both cooperative clinical trials and investigator driven quantitative and qualitative clinical research. Additionally, she co-chairs the Children’s and Women’s Research Ethics Board.

Dr. Strahlendorf strives to enable individuals to achieve their personal goals, mentoring medical students, residents, fellows, nurses and colleagues, and she fosters a strong team culture.

Wendy RobinsonSession Moderator: Dr. Wendy Robinson, Associate Director & Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute; Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, UBC - BCCHR

Dr. Wendy Robinson earned a PhD in Genetics at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in population genetics and genetic epidemiology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Medical Genetics at the University of Zurich, Switzerland focused on molecular cytogenetics. She is currently a full professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a senior investigator at the affiliated BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHR), where she is also the associate director. She previously served as the Assistant Dean for Graduate & Postdoctoral Education in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Her research focuses on genomics and epigenomics of the placenta in normal pregnancy and in pregnancy complications such as fetal growth restriction, maternal preeclampsia and congenital defects. Dr. Robinson’s research is funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and National Institutes of Health Research (NIH). She has published over 200 manuscripts and book chapters. In 2020, she was named an inaugural CIHR Chair in Sex and Gender Science to study the effects of biological sex on the genome, and also awarded a UBC Killam Research Prize in 2021. She has meanwhile raised two fine sons and enjoys connecting with nature in the forests and mountains and has had a lifelong passion for running.

Interested in Participating?

Registration for Women in Science is open to high school students, university students and members of the general public. People of all genders are welcome. 

We have two ways to participate in this event:

  • In Person: Engage with our inspiring leaders in person at BC Children's Hospital. In-person participants will be invited to join us for a networking reception before the event for the opportunity to interact with panelists. Light refreshments will be provided. 
  • Virtually Live: Engage with our inspiring leaders online in real-time. 

Do you have additional questions? Check out our FAQs or contact  

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