When Janet MacInnis was first asked to serve on the board of Women’s College Hospital in 1985, she wasn’t sure what to say. After all, her father and brother were both doctors at another hospital, and she’d had her four children there. “I came to Women’s College to have a look,” says MacInnis, “and I was immediately struck by the history, the people, the intimacy, and the ethos. I was deeply moved.”
So moved that she’s been a volunteer with the Hospital ever since.
MacInnis, a mother of four, started her volunteer career with Deer Park United Church and the Junior League. She learned to lead through her involvement with United Way Toronto, where she chaired a capital campaign, and served as Chair of the Board and Chair of the Multiculturalism Committee. At Women’s College she chaired the Special Delivery Campaign in the late 80s, and then went on to serve on many Board and Foundation committees. Today she serves on the Major Gifts Committee of the Foundation’s Campaign for Women’s College Hospital and as an honourary member of the Hospital board.
She has been a generous donor, too, and is a member of the Spirit of Life Society, which honours those who have made a planned gift to the Hospital. Her daughter Heather is a member of newchapter,
the Women’s College Hospital Foundation’s young leaders group. Chances are, at least one of her 14 grandchildren will also follow in her footsteps.
“I’ve always seen Women’s College as a little gem,” she says. “It’s a feisty little place too, which is why I’ve stuck with it.” She developed enormous respect for the women physicians who led the hospital in the early days, and remembers with special fondness Dr. Bette Stephenson, long-time Chief of Family Medicine. She delights in quoting Stephenson, who once told her, “Women’s health is a lot more than just south of the navel and north of the knees!”
Today, research is bearing out what Stephenson knew from experience – that men and women are biologically different and need different care and treatment. MacInnis strongly supports the Hospital’s renewed commitment to women’s health. “Women are the gateway to healthcare for their children, their spouses, their elderly parents,” she says. “When women are well cared for, the rest of the family is well cared for.”
She is also excited by the future of Women’s College as the first and only ambulatory care centre dedicated to women’s health in North America. “So much can be done by the day now,” she says. “This is the healthcare and the hospital of the future.”