Q&A with neWCHapter: WCHF’s young professionals committee

This National Volunteer Week, Women’s College Hospital Foundation (WCHF) is celebrating the passionate volunteers in its community who have dedicated their time and energy to advancing the healthcare revolution. One such group is WCHF’s young professionals committee: neWCHapter. 

Through fun and engaging events and championing Women’s College Hospital in the community, neWCHapter is dedicated to raising important funds for the hospital’s greatest priority needs and creating a healthier, more equitable world for everyone. 

WCHF sat down virtually with neWCHapter co-chairs Christine Lee and Ruby Dhatt to hear more about what inspires them to volunteer with the committee, and how they hope to continue creating positive change for women’s health. 

WCHF: What first inspired you to become members of neWCHapter, and to take on your roles as co-chairs? 

Christine: I joined neWCHapter in 2017 and before I joined, I was looking to give back to my community in a meaningful way. I’ve been a patient of Women’s College Hospital and so joining the committee felt like the perfect opportunity to get involved. 

Becoming a co-chair felt like the next step as I wanted to take on a more involved role. It has been a great way to grow personally. Working with the other amazing young professionals on the committee has been so rewarding and my hope is the committee has helped others to grow, too. 

Ruby: I’ve been on the neWCHapter committee since 2016 and originally joined to help raise awareness about women’s health. Our health is so important to our overall well-being so supporting an organization dedicated to advancing healthcare for everyone really aligned with my passion. 

Getting to know the other members has been so much fun and being involved in planning the events is so rewarding. When the co-chair position opened up, I knew I’d be a great fit to help this community grow and create awareness for neWCHapter. 

WCHF: What do you think is so unique about Women’s College Hospital?

Christine: Learning about the health gaps that women face and the gaps in research that are still negatively impacting women’s health really struck a chord with me. I couldn’t believe women weren’t required to be included in health research studies until the 1990s! But it’s true, and the programs at Women’s College Hospital are so unique in their approach to bridging that gender gap and improving health equity for everyone. 

As a new mom, I understand how important it is for everyone to have access to healthcare and the hospital is really forward-thinking in its approach to making that a reality. From helping people heal at home by using virtual care to thinking differently about how healthcare can be delivered as a whole, Women’s College Hospital is on the forefront of healthcare innovation.  

Ruby: I am so inspired by the work Women’s is doing. The hospital is always one step ahead when it comes to innovation and meeting the needs of the communities it serves. Virtual care is a great example of this. Last year, our signature event showcased how virtual innovation at Women’s enabled same-day joint replacement surgery and now, a little over a year later, virtual care is really top of mind for so many people. 

WCHF: neWCHapter hosts fun and engaging networking events throughout the year to inspire the community to support Women’s. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your approach? 

Christine:  After brainstorming as a group, we decided to move to virtual events for this year. It’s been a challenge coming up with ways to connect with people through virtual events, but it also offers such an incredible opportunity to reach more people. We’ve seen how successful virtual events can be and we’re hoping to bring some of that creativity and success to our neWCHapter events, as well. 

For our signature event, Women Paying it Forward event, which is on April 29, 2021, we’re hosting a virtual cocktail/mocktail class with Barebones Bartending and Laura Pus, Administrative Director of Women’s Virtual will be joining us to share a short presentation about how Women’s is using technology to transform the way we deliver healthcare. So, we’ve been able to find a way to still connect our audience to the amazing work being done at Women’s and we hope it will resonate.

Ruby: What’s so great about our events is that we are really having an impact on the hospital through raising awareness around hospital initiatives and fundraising. That hasn’t changed, and I think our committee and community still feel that. 

The pandemic is also proving to be a really challenging time for everyone and I’m hoping that our neWCHapter events can help us all with our mental and emotional health by connecting people to a cause they care about, and still offer a chance to come together as a community – virtually, of course.  

WCHF: What inspires you the most about co-chairing neWCHapter? 

Christine: The best part about co-chairing neWCHapter is having the opportunity to meet our members who all come from different backgrounds and bring unique perspectives. I love hearing their stories and learning about why they decided to get involved. Their passion is really wonderful, and the collaboration of the group really inspires me. 

Ruby: Being a neWCHapter member is a great way to network, make friends and have fun! NeWCHapter is growing and I feel such a sense of accomplishment knowing that I’m playing a part in that. We’re building the foundation for a committee that will be integral to the foundation. Working together, as a committee, to plan events and make a difference is really inspiring. I learn a lot from the hospital and their new initiatives. I am proud to share these initiatives with our neWCHapter community through our events.

WCHF: Do you have any advice for other young women who are looking for ways to make a difference in their communities? 

Christine: Find something that you’re passionate about and that you care about and just reach out to ask how you can get involved! Sometimes just putting your hand up is enough to start something special and is such a great way to give back. It’s really rewarding to find that one thing that really inspires you and to be able to make a difference. 

Ruby: I would say, show up and try! If it works out, that’s great but if not, there are plenty of other opportunities out there. Reaching out is the scariest step but you won’t know how it will turn out until you try. The right fit is out there and it’s something you’re passionate about, you will find it! 

Thank you so much chatting with us, Christine and Ruby! 

neWCHapter is always looking for passionate new members who are interested in getting involved and giving back to Women’s College Hospital. For more information about neWCHapter and how to join, visit their website HERE or email either Christine or Ruby at: 

Christine Lee: christinelee@kpmg.ca

Ruby Dhatt: rd.dhatt.ruby@gmail.com