Women in IBD

Historically, the field of gastroenterology has attracted women in far fewer numbers than men. Of the practising gastroenterologists in Canada, approximately 30% are women. Therefore, it is not surprising that women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the field of IBD.

To address this underrepresentation, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada created Women in IBD, an initiative to support women specializing in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at various stages in their career to achieve leadership positions reflective of their expertise and qualifications. 


  • Identify areas where highly qualified female experts are underrepresented 
  • Define strategies for addressing gaps in female leadership roles 
  • Provide education, mentorship, and skills development opportunities 
  • Create spaces for networking and sharing ideas 

Get Involved

If you are interested in supporting or being involved in this initiative, here are ways in which you can participate:


The annual Women in IBD interactive meetings take place during Meeting of the Minds, hosted in Toronto, Ontario. These meetings are designed to further build the leadership skills of female gastroenterologists.

Upcoming Event: 

November 2021: Stay tuned for further details

Past Events:

December 2020: Thriving while Surviving: Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic and Avoiding Burnout; and Navigating the Politics of Career Advancement led by Dr. Mamta Gautam, MD, MBA, FRCP, CPDC, CCPE, CPE, PEAK MD

November 2019: Mindful Leadership Workshop led by Christina Reimer, PhD, Achieve Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance

November 2018: Elevate your Impact: Interactive Professional Development Workshop led by Sandra Corelli, Corporate Classic Inc

February 2018: Balancing a Demanding Career and a Rich Personal Life by Laura Reinholz, MBA, CCXP, BMO for Women and How to Overcome Gender Barriers to Leadership by Dr. Robin McLeod, MD, FRCSC, University of Toronto

woman winning a leader in IBD award


Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and Pfizer Canada’s annual Women in IBD Awards celebrate women who are making outstanding contributions to the field of IBD research across two categories: 

The Women in IBD: Outstanding Researcher Award recognizes an exceptional female IBD basic or clinical researcher who has been an inspirational leader and role model in the field of IBD research, and contributed significantly to advancing Crohn's and Colitis Canada's mission. The recipient will receive $25,000 to support their IBD research program.

The Women in IBD: Emerging Researcher Award acknowledges the basic or clinical research accomplishments of a junior/newly emerging female IBD researcher, within 5 years of their first faculty appointment, who has shown creativity, initiative and commitment to advancing IBD research and quality of patient care in Canada. The recipient will receive $15,000 to support their IBD research program. 

Steering Committee Members

A steering committee was established to guide the overall strategy of the initiative. The following Canadian female gastroenterologists and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada employees comprise the steering committee:

Dr. Smita Halder
Hamilton Health Sciences
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Dr. Lara Hart
Humber River Hospital
Toronto, ON

Dr. Jennifer Jones
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

Dr. Yvette Leung
Foothills Medical Centre
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Dr. Kerri Novak
Foothills Medical Centre
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Dr. Laura Targownik
Mount Sinai Hospital
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Dr. Talia Zenlea
Women’s College Hospital
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Lori Radke
President and CEO
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Toronto, ON

Kate Lee
VP Research and Patient Programs
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Toronto, ON


Thank you to our sponsors

Current Sponsors:


Past Sponsors:



  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

Other Areas of Interest