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Let’s Focus on a Scientist – Dr. Sheila Dunn

A coloured photo of a smiling woman.

Dr. Sheila Dunn.

Dr. Sheila Dunn is a scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI). Her main area of research is women’s reproductive health.

Dr. Dunn graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She began her career as a family doctor and later joined the staff at Women’s College Hospital (WCH). In 1993, she became the Medical Director of the Bay Centre for Birth Control. In her new role, she wanted to understand everything she could about family planning options in Canada. She soon realized that her search for answers was leading her to develop her own research questions.

A coloured collage of historic birth control samples.

Birth control samples and educational material belonging to Dr. Marion Powell.

At the Bay Centre, she met Dr. Marion Powell. Dr. Powell was a long-time doctor, researcher, and leader in the field of women’s health. She was well-known for her research in family planning in Canada. She conducted many clinical trials on new birth control methods at WCH. Dr. Powell became a mentor to Dr. Dunn.

Audio clip with transcript: Dr. Sheila Dunn gives advice to the next generation of women researchers.

In 1997, Dr. Powell died suddenly. With no one to complete her ongoing clinical trials, Dr. Dunn took over her research work. She even returned to school to learn more about research methods.

A woman holding a trophy, smiling.

Dr. Marion Powell with her YWCA Award.

Dr. Dunn is now a scientist researching women’s reproductive health at the WCRI. She studies ways to ensure that women and girls have equal access to reproductive health services throughout Canada. Her research aims to reduce barriers to women. Many of her studies focus on supporting women in marginalized communities.

Dr. Dunn’s research has helped to guide women’s health policy in Canada. It has also been used to improve access to health information for women. It enables women to make informed choices about their reproductive health.

Dr. Dunn believes women play an important role in medical research – especially in women’s reproductive health research.

Audio clip with transcript: Dr. Sheila Dunn talks about the importance of women scientists in reproductive health research.