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EMPOW-HER: Exploring methods to improve participation of women in clinical trials to help enhance stroke recovery research

Principal Investigator:
  • Mark Bayley, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Team Members:
  • Janice Eng, University of British Columbia
  • Sandra Black, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Sean Dukelow, University of Calgary
  • Bradley MacIntosh, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Marilyn MacKay-Lyons, Dalhousie University
  • Michelle Ploughman, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Ada Tang, McMaster University
  • Robert Teasell, Parkwood Institute
  • Ruth Barclay, University of Manitoba
  • Farrell Leibovitch, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery
  • Shannon MacDonald, University Health Network – Toronto Rehab
  • Susan Marzolini, University Health Network – Toronto Rehab
  • Jason McCarthy, Eastern Health Authority
  • Courtney Pollock, University of British Columbia
  • Sepideh Pooyania, Riverview Health Centre
  • Brodie Sakakibara, University of British Columbia
  • Amra Saric, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre
  • Jennifer Yao, GF Strong
  • Amy Yu, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Women's Brain Health Initiative

Project Overview

In general, women take part in research less than men. We found women take part in our research less than men too. We are a team of rehabilitation researchers located across Canada that test new treatments like drugs, technologies, and remote therapies on people who have had a stroke that could help improve their lives. So, it would be important for us to have a balanced number of men and women take part in our research. There may be a few reasons why women might not take part in our research. These include their individual traits and social situation, logistics of taking part, how we recruit them, and what the research involves. With this project, we hope to explore these items further and find out why women do not join our research more with the end goal of trying to change that going forward. 

We plan to explore this in a few ways: 

  1. Compare the general stroke population to people who take part in our research to see if they may be different. 
  1. Interview people who do and do not take part in our research to see if they may be different. 
  1. Survey our team to see if we have any opinions or practices that might get in the way of us recruiting more women into our research. 
  1. Train our team on everything we learn from the above. 

By going through the steps above, we can better understand anything getting in the way of more women taking part in our research. We can then use this knowledge to make changes to our future research. This will help ensure that equal numbers of men and women take part in our research so that both men and women can benefit equally from our findings for years to come.