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When women provide healthcare


  • Tara Leach 

  • Lisa Middleton

  • Britt Neron

  • Steph Bradford

June 27, 2019

Event Summary

OUR SUMMER PANEL IS HERE! Ask Womxn Anything presents June's panel featuring incredible women from Ottawa in the health care sector.


We are lining up a power-packed panel of women experts from our community for the panel. Our speakers are Steph Bradford & Britt Neron from the Ottawa Abortion Doula Collective, Tara Leach from H.E.A.L.T.H., and Lisa Middleton. Join us at 7pm on June 27th Thursday at Bar Robo (Chinatown), 692 Somerset Street West. Come out for a great hour-long discussion... you can ask our panelists anything!


Come and join us as we highlight these women as they share their journeys, insights, ideals and take our questions over a 60 min period. Enjoy an evening of awesome drinks and snacks from Bar Robo and knowledge sharing with Ottawa's incredible women!


When Women Provide Health Care – the approach is different, the focus is client-centered and the funding can be stagnant. 


These were some of what the BarRobo audience learned from the Ask Women Anything where Shannon MacFarlane, Brittany Neron, Lisa Middleton and Steph Bradford commanded the stage. 


The packed audience nodded as they heard about some of the challenges these women experience in their work (“a doctor will typically refer a pregnant woman to an OB instead of telling them about all the options open to them; women can feel stigmatized when accessing health care; all of the systemic barriers such as race, class, ethnicity, language, and poverty").


When asked what they needed to do their work, panelists mentioned connecting with community, time and funding.


There was a great deal of discussion of meeting women “where they were” and providing the services that clients said they needed instead of deciding what they needed. For Abortion Doulas this meant giving a ride, waiting in a waiting room and many other actions that followed the client's lead. Birth doulas similarly tailor their services to each individual, offering continuous emotional care and physical comfort through pregnancy, labour, delivery, and even postpartum And the approach for Cancer Doulas is not yet clear because Shannon is in the process of setting up this practice (more to come!).


Overall, there was a sense that the health care system as a whole was becoming more client-centered because women were demanding this approach. All panelists agreed that women-centered health care in Ottawa was still very “white” and that while diversity and representation was increasing, it was slow. Panelists acknowledged that doula work, and the sexual health movement at large, inherits a long and fraught history that often centres and prioritizes whiteness, and that we need to make space for doulas and midwives from diverse backgrounds. 


So yeah Ottawa, that’s what we did on June 27th, just chatted deeply with these fierce health-care professionals!


We are so grateful to our panelists for their wisdom and honestly, to Bar Robo for being a rock-solid partner to Ask Women Anything and to all of our volunteers especially Paroma Datta our moderator, for making these events top-quality! 


Have a great summer folks and see you again on September 26th!

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