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Honouring Women in Science at Providence Research
February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an opportunity to celebrate the important contributions from women to science. We asked two Providence Research scientists to share their stories, and the encouragement they have for women and girls interested in entering the field.
Dr. Jasmine Grewal, director of the Cardiac Obstetrics Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital and recently appointed head of UBC’s Division of Cardiology entered medicine because of her drive to help people. She went into research to be part of discovering answers to important questions. Seeing other women cardiologists who were prolific researchers motivated her to move forward.
Her work is multifaceted, and she gets to work with an amazing group of talented cardiologists and allied health team members.
“I would say that all of that put together makes my job very exciting and interesting,” she says.
She encourages women and girls who are thinking about going into the field. “If you’re enjoying the work, whether it’s in science or medicine, and you want to be challenged, absolutely go for it.”
Dr. Alana Flexman is an anesthesiologist at St. Paul’s Hospital and scientist with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. When she was eleven, she had an illness that no one could figure out for a long time. Curiosity around that inspired her to pursue medicine.
“My eleven-year-old self was the person who actually created the vision of what I am now,” she says.
It can be challenging, particularly for women, to balance a clinical career, an academic career, and a family. It helped her to have strong mentors who’d navigated this before. Now she’s further in her career, she tries to be that mentor for others.
To women and girls thinking of pursuing science, she would say it’s an amazing way to have a rewarding, interesting career.
“It’s hard to imagine that you could be in that world sometimes, but you have every right to be there. In fact, you can make amazing contributions in this field,” she says. However, there are challenges to being in a field where you haven’t traditionally been included, which is why it’s important to have mentors to help you push forward.
“Sometimes I feel that, when I hit these road blocks, even though they might slow me down, I’m going to make it easier for the next person to come through,” she says.
Dr. Grewal and Dr. Flexman are just two of the women scientists doing innovative work at Providence Research. You can learn more about our work or get involved by visiting out website, or learn more about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science here.