Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH) is a Community Health Center based in Toronto, Canada and a strong advocate for health and gender equity. We are the only health centre in Canada with an exclusive mandate to meet the unique and intersecting needs of racialized women.
We are committed to providing primary healthcare to racialized women from the African, Black, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities in Toronto and surrounding municipalities. We work from an inclusive feminist, pro-choice, anti-racist, anti-oppression, and multilingual participatory framework in addressing the issue of access to healthcare for our mandated priority populations encompassing gender, gender identity, race, class, violence, sexual orientation, religion, culture, language, disability, immigration status and socio-economic circumstances.
WHIWHs has a long-standing practice of creating services and programs that are informed by the voices of the women we serve. Our research program is focused on this critical goal; to generate knowledge that improves the lives and health of racialized women. We also aim to:
Generate knowledge and fill gaps in evidence related to the health of racialized women
Inform our programs, services and strategic vision with evidence
Influence policy and practice
Foster learning relationships between researchers, policy makers, service providers, service users and our communities
2017 marks 15 years of research for WHIWHs. Our first official research initiative was in 2002 to develop the first research study on African and Caribbean Women and HIV/AIDS in Canada titled “Silent Voices of the AIDS Epidemic: African and Caribbean Women”. Since then we have developed a full-fledged research program to ensure that the services we provide women are informed by good data and remain evidenced based.
Our research work is well aligned with our current strategic plan that prioritizes evidence-based care and practice. Generating data and knowledge about what works or does not work for our communities allows us to craft better programs.
The studies we lead also fills gaps in current research relating to racialized women and uses knowledge to advocate for health and gender equity. In accordance with our strategic plan, populations of women are also prioritized, namely women who identify as seniors, young women, newcomers, immigrants and refugee women and women experiencing multiple health conditions or co-morbidities.
Please visit WHIWHs 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to know more
As a center led and operated by racialized women for racialized women, we understand the necessity for critical anti-oppression practice in research. We recognize how multiple intersecting systems of oppression including race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of difference can impact the health of racialized women and their ability to access and effectively navigate systems or care. The studies we are involved in are women-centered and use frameworks that acknowledge intersectional realities.
Community peers and advisory committees play an active and meaningful role in our work and we routinely offer opportunities for additional capacity building in the community through internships, paid work or peer researcher honoraria.
HOW WE WORK
We incorporate the determinants of health relevant to racialized women
We are grounded in community based, participatory action and leadership
We foster autonomy and self-determination
We link knowledge generation to policy and practice as a continuum
We use feminist and critical race frameworks that emphasize justice, fairness and links research to action.
We adopt GIPA/MIPA/GIPA 2.0 values that allow for the greater involvement and meaningful engagement of people living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk, an approach that is grounded in human rights and recognizes the importance of inclusion.
We recognize the transnational locations of racialized women and the impact of these international “ "spaces” on the local day-to-day realities of women’s lives