Media Advisory - Women's Health Leadership Program

TORONTO, July 7 /CNW/ - The Ontario Women's Health Network (OWHN) is launching the Women's Health Leadership Program to build and strengthen the ability of women and communities in Ontario to act on their health issues. The program, funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, will seek to amplify women's voices to ensure they are included in the development of health policy, research and services.

The Women's Health Leadership Program will bring women together from across Ontario through training retreats that will: i) help build a greater understanding of the ways sex and gender affect health and health care; and ii) offer women the leadership tools and skills to work towards improving the quality of women's health and health care in their communities. This program builds upon proven models that have demonstrated success in leadership training.

"The Leadership Program stems directly from Echo's goal of fostering leadership and meaningful participation in women's health throughout Ontario," said Pat Campbell, CEO of Echo. "We are thrilled to work with OWHN on this project. 25 retreats that include three graduated training levels will be held over three years with over 200 women." Training will include such areas as sex and gender-based analysis, self-identification of women's personal strengths, development of core leadership skills, building community capacity, public speaking and facilitation skills and community engagement.

In consultations with hundreds of women across Ontario, OWHN has heard about the health and health care issues that women face, including health and social services that are often inaccessible and that do not fit women's needs. Women's experiences highlight a broad range of health determinants, such as gender, culture and income security. The Leadership Program is a critical step in helping women address these inequities by enhancing their leadership skills and offering the support and networks needed to make a difference in their communities.

"Over the years, the women who have spoken with OWHN have made it clear that they are leaders of health in their families and their communities. They have strong ideas about ways to improve health and address health care barriers," said Julie Maher, OWHN Provincial Director. "With this program, we are strengthening their ability to create change."

OWHN will soon be reaching out to Ontario communities across the province to invite women who are interested in health issues and want to make a difference in their communities to apply.

About OWHN - Formed in 1997, OWHN works with women, health and social service providers, community organizations and others to support equitable, accessible and effective health services for all women in Ontario. Our mission is to link women to health information and resources and to address the health and health care barriers faced by women in Ontario, particularly women who are marginalized, through our community-based research, community engagement and advocacy work. Visit OWHN online at www.owhn.on.ca.

For information about OWHN and the Women's Health Leadership Program:

Julie Maher, Provincial Director

Ontario Women's Health Network

416-408-4840

owhn@owhn.on.ca

About Echo - Echo is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Echo's mandate is to be the focal point and catalyst for women's health at the provincial level. Echo promotes equity and improved health for women by working in collaborative partnerships with the health system, communities, researchers and policy-makers. Learn more about Echo at www.echo-ontario.ca

SOURCE ONTARIO WOMEN'S HEALTH NETWORK

For further information: For further information: Julie McFayden, Public Affairs and Community Engagement Officer, (416) 597-9687 ext. 232, jmcfayden@echo-ontario.ca

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ONTARIO WOMEN'S HEALTH NETWORK

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