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Highlighting Canadian Women in Healthcare

08/26/2013 12:05 EDT | Updated 10/26/2013 05:12 EDT

South of our borders an important celebration is nearing an end. The week of August 19 - 25, 2013 was "Women in Health Week" [#XXinHealthweek], with events and celebrations in Chicago, Boston, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Washington DC.

Founded by Rock Health, XXinHealthweek was initiated to recognize female visionaries driving change in health care. While women make up approximately 73% of medical and health services managers, only 4 per cent are C-level leaders. Why?

XX in Health week shines a light on female transformers who are leaders in their own right.

Whilst the US is clearly creating a buzz around their female health care transformers, the question is: "What is happening in Canada?"

Although, the buzz is not as evident in Canada, there is a Canadian contribution to XX in Health week. Zal Press, Founder of Patient Commando Productions, unveiled and acknowledged the first annual list of "Canadian Women Changing Healthcare". The list is creating a Canadian buzz south of the border as part of XX in Health week.

Over 20 Canadian women were featured as making a difference in the Canadian health care system. They included:

  1. Gail Attara, the co-founder and CEO of the Gastrointestinal Society.
  2. Holly Bridges, who is driving the importance of patient choice in the field of hysterectomy.
  3. Anna Brundage, an award winning diabetes nurse educator and co-founder of T1 Think Tank.
  4. Anne Marie Cerato, founder of "These Are My Scars", is a young adult and a 4-year, stage 4, lung cancer survivor.
  5. Dee Christensen, a former street junkie, turned entrepreneur and founder of Canada's leading addiction magazine.
  6. Guida Clozza, an advocate for special needs children and a 20-year ambassador for Epilepsy.
  7. Lee Durdon, a patient and founder of the Sjogren's society, a condition that affects more than 400,000 Canadians.
  8. Sara Fin, the cartoonist of the web-comic series, Aylum Squad, is also breaking down the stereotypes of schizophrenia.
  9. Christine Janus, the Executive Director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance.
  10. Christine Jonas-Simpson, opens the doors on grief and how to manage severe loss.
  11. Kathy Kastner, an advocate for the use of simple language in health care and is the pioneer behind a hospital-based TV network.
  12. Sylvia Langlois, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, prepares future, medical professional minds to deliver service in a patient/client centered model.
  13. Mandy Maresky, the founder of Aaron's Apple ~ an organization that helps families cope with overwhelming medical costs.
  14. Soania Mathur, a physician, patient, keynote speaker on Parkinson's disease and founder of Designing A Cure Inc.
  15. Annette McKinnon, a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, serves as health mentor to students in health.
  16. After being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17, today Megan Oates is a prominent advocate in her community.
  17. Joan Park, the driver of the development of case management in Canada.
  18. Wendy Preskow, the driving force behind the national initiative for eating disorders (NIED).
  19. Michelle Sorenson, a diabetic patient who now counsels patients with diabetes.
  20. Chloe Vance, also a diabetic patient, inspires others to take wild adventures such as her guided canoe expedition to the Artic Ocean. and
  21. Colleen Young, the recipient of the 2012 Journal of Medical Internet Research [JMIR] award and founder of the successful community, Health Care Social Media Canada [#hcsmca].

How can you not be inspired and stand up among these ladies? I know I was inspired and honoured to have been included in the list.

In a recent HuffingtonPost blog, Julie Foucher spoke about the need for " Ladies to aim for the top of the podium". I think this line up models that goal. They may not have prestigious titles, or walk the red carpet of health care, they are leaving their mark on how we live. Thank you Patient Commando for shining a spotlight.