Faculty of Health Sciences Women's Symposium 2022

Building Alliances for the Future

Thursday, March 31st, 2022, from 12:10-5:00 pm EDT
Delivered Virtually

Women remain underrepresented as leaders in academia and healthcare settings. To close this gap, cultural change and contributions from all involved in these spheres will be important - whether that is existing women in leadership or those seeking to be allies for women aspiring to hold positive experiences. The 2022 Women’s Symposium will be a venue where we can bring together individuals (both women and their allies) to consider how we might close the persistent gender gap within our work environments. This is the 2nd annual symposium, after a successful inaugural event in 2021. All faculty members who identify as women and allies of women within the Faculty of Health Sciences (and beyond) are invited to join us.

Participants can claim up to 3.5 Mainpro+ credits or 3.5 MOC Section 1 hours.

For our American colleagues, please scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the AMA equivalency for the CME credits.

Overall Learning Objectives

By the end of the event, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate key issues facing women in academia, leadership, healthcare, and society.

  • Add new skills to their toolkit for approaching key barriers that women face in academia, leadership, healthcare, and society.

  • Navigate the intersectionalities of gender and other identity constructs to form meaningful collaborations and allyships.

  • Empower allies across McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences and in surrounding healthcare communities to take action to advance women’s roles in health and healthcare.

12:10-12:28 pm

Signing of the Hamilton Charter for Promoting Gender Equity in Healthcare

Dr. Paul O'Byrne, Sharon Pierson, & Melissa Farrell

12:28-12:40pm

Land Acknowledgement

Dr. Bernice Downey

12:40-12:45pm

Welcome from Senior Leadership

Dr. Susan Denburg & Melissa Farrell

12:45-1:00pm

This event is proudly co-developed by the Ontario Medical Association’s OMA Women Committee.

Welcome from OMA Women

Dr. Sharon Bal & Dr. Clover Hemans


1:00-1:25 pm

Self-Agency: Critical to Opportunities for Women in Leadership

Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor

President of London Health Sciences Centre
  • Gain an enhanced understanding of the difficulties women face in positions of leadership.

  • Identify the leadership archetypes that can create barriers to advancement of women to leadership positions.

  • Identify how individual career trajectory self-agency can enable opportunities for leadership.

1:25-1:50 pm

Reflections on Leadership During the Pandemic: Handling Uncertainty

Dr. Anita Palepu

Head, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Identify strategies to manage uncertainty when dealing with complex systems and people.

1:50-2:15 pm

Being an Ally as a Leader: What Does it Mean for Women & Equity-Seeking Groups in Health Care

Dr. Kevin Smith

President & CEO, University Health Network
  • Describe University Health Network’s work in promoting opportunities for women and equity-seeking groups to lead and achieve professional fulfillment at Canada’s largest health network, as well as the work that still needs to be done.

  • Identify strategies that other organizations may adopt to achieve similar goals.

2:15-2:40 pm

Panel Session: Q+A

Host: Melissa Farrell
Drs. Jackie Schleifer Taylor + Anita Palepu + Kevin Smith

2:40-2:45 pm

Break & Decide Breakout Session

Please ensure that you choose one workshop to attend, rather than moving between them.

Introduction of Workshop Speakers

Dr. Teresa Chan

2:45-3:40 pm

Breakout Session

The breakout session will be followed by a ten minute break.

Broken Bones & Broken Lives



Dr. Mohit Bhandari

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify clinical manifestations of intimate partner violence.

  • Create processes to identify and support victims of intimate partner violence.

  • Participate in the EDUCATE program - to increase awareness and action in the clinic environment.

What We Can Do to Help Women Get to “Yes!”


Drs. Renate Kahlke & Sandra Monteiro

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the evidence for a gender gap between women and men’s advancement in academic medicine.

  • Describe the barriers to women’s advancement in academic medicine.

  • Discuss strategies allies can use to support women’s advancement.

Networking & Growing Your Band of Allies


Drs. Teresa Chan & Michael Colapinto

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify two strategies to grow their network and expand their band of allies.

  • Commit to emailing one new person that they would like to contact or meet with online.

  • Articulate one strategy to overcome a barrier they have encountered.

3:40-3:45 pm

Introduction of Afternoon Plenaries

Hosts: Drs. Sonia Anand & Teresa Chan

3:45-4:10 pm

Leadership & Fostering Community Partnerships

Brenda Flaherty

Former Executive VP of Clinical Operations & COO, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Creating and fostering trusting relationships with community partners and how these partnerships can mutually benefit organizations and community health.

  • Building alliances and connections with community partners as an approach to leadership.

4:10-4:35 pm

Breaking Bias & Barriers for Women in Medicine to Thrive in a Pandemic World

Dr. Vineet Arora

Dean for Medical Education, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Review how the pandemic has hampered progress for women in medicine.

  • Outline immediate steps to salvage careers for women in medicine, especially in academia.

  • Showcase models for women in medicine to succeed in academia.

4:35-4:50 pm

Panel Session: Q+A

Hosts: Drs. Sonia Anand & Teresa Chan


Brenda Flaherty + Dr. Vineet Arora

4:50-5:00 pm

Closing Remarks

Hosts: Drs. Sonia Anand & Teresa Chan

5:00 pm

Virtual Reception via SoWork

Please see your email for the link to join. Make sure to use the CHROME browser when joining, and enter as "Guest".

Planning Committee

Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University, and a Senior Scientist at the Population Health Research Institute. She is also a vascular medicine specialist at Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. Dr. Anand is the Association Chair of Equity & Diversity in the McMaster Department of Medicine. Dr. Anand holds the Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Population Health Research. Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease.

Sharon Bal

Dr. Sharon Bal (@SharonBalMD) is an Assistant Clinical Professor affiliated with the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University. She is the Pre-Clerkship Coordinator at the Waterloo Regional Campus and Primary Care Lead for Cambridge - North Dumfries (Ontario Health). She is Lead Physician of the Delta Coronation FHO where she practices general family medicine and does system design as part the CND OHT Steering Committee.

Teresa Chan

Dr. Teresa Chan (@TChanMD) is an associate professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She is the associate dean for McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Continuing Professional Development (@MacPFD, @mcmasterchse, @MacLtl). She is an avid scholar in health professions education and works with the MERIT group (@MERIT_McMaster), and conducts research and scholarship within this area. She has written almost exclusively using collaborative platforms for the past 5 years.

Michael Colapinto

Dr. Michael Colapinto is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Radiology at McMaster University and a staff radiologist at the Hamilton General Hospital where he is the Radiologist Lead for Ultrasound and the Radiologist Scheduling Chair. He is also a staff radiologist at Wentworth-Halton X-Ray & Ultrasound and a member of their Board of Directors.

Smita Halder

Dr. Smita Halder is an Associate Professor and Gastroenterologist at McMaster University. Smita obtained her medical degrees from Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. After completing GIM training and GI residency in the UK, she pursued a 4 year PhD in Epidemiology, incorporating a year at the Mayo Clinic. In 2008 she moved to Toronto for a fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital; in 2010 was appointed to the Division of Gastroenterology at McMaster. Smita is the Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at HHS. Recently qualified as a Master Certified Physician Development Coach, her goal is to establish a coaching faculty across HHS and McMaster.

Clare Mitchell

Accreditation Statement

McMaster University, Continuing Professional Development Program (CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide CFPC Mainpro+ and RCPSC Maintenance of Certification (MOC) study credits for Continuing Medical Education. This one-credit-per-hour Group-Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by the McMaster University Continuing Professional Development Program for up to 3.5 Mainpro+ credits.

This activity is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by McMaster University Continuing Professional Development Program. You may claim a maximum of 3.5 MOC Section 1 hours (credits are automatically calculated).

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Medical Association, physicians may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at www.ama assn.org/go/internationalcme.

Each attendee should only claim the hours they attended.

Conflicts of Interest

The following Planning Committee Members and Speakers did not declare a relationship with a FOR-PROFIT and/or NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization over the previous two years: Sharon Bal, Michael Colapinto, and Clare Mitchell.
The following Planning Committee Members and Speakers have or had a relationship with a FOR-PROFIT and/or NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization over the previous two years:
  • Sonia Anand: Bayer AG, Janssen
  • Teresa Chan: McMaster University, IAMSE, NOSM, UBC, Harvard University, North York General Hospital, Academic Medicine (Association of American Colleges of Medicine), PSI Foundation, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Smita Halder: Takeda, Abbvie, Janssen, Pfizer