The Vancouver Women's Health Collective
Year Published:  1978
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX1022

Connexions has published multiple abstracts on The Vancouver Women's Health Collective.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1978:

The Vancouver Women's Health Collective is a non-hierarchically structured feminist organization which provides health education and preventive care to women. The Collective is working for societal and individual change that will enable women to have power over the processes that affect them. It strives to meet its goal of change through consciousness raising and education, and by demonstrating an alternative model for organization and service delivery.

At the Collective there are no designated leaders and there is no formal hierarchy. The group is not structureless but has a different and more flexible structure than does a hierarchical organization. Decisions are made by consensus, and a great deal of emphasis is placed on process; there is a continual struggle to balance this emphasis with an attention to efficiency and productivity.

Daily operations at the Health Collective include the Health Information Phone Line and Drop-in Service, abortion counseling, and diaphragm fitting. In addition the Collective organizes Health Education Groups that meet for four to eight weeks and cover a variety of health-related topics, always including breast and cervical self-examination and the politics of health care.

The Health Collective is involved in several different kinds of community education programs, including teaching breast and cervical self-exam to groups of women and discussing birth control with high school classes. In all presentations they stress personal responsibility for health care. Finally, the Collective operates a Self-Help Clinic one evening per week. All collective services are free; funding has come from local agencies, the federal government and provincial government.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1983:

The fundamental principle by which the VANCOUVER WOMEN'S HEALTH COLLECTIVE operates is that women have a right to control their bodies. "Women who are knowledgeable about their bodies and their care are less easily mystified or intimidated by professionals who attempt to monopolize information and power. "HEALTH COLLECTIVE members organize public discussions on women's health issues and on the health industry. A research group garthers information and facilitates skill-sharing clinics on specific topics. Pregnancy and birth control counselling and abortion referral are provided by collective members.

"A Feminist Approach to Pap Tests" is a twelve page supplement written by the HEALTH COLLECTIVE for inclusion in the February 1983 edition of Kinesis. The authors were concerned about the lack of good information and the abundance of surgical procedures relating to abnormal Pap test results. They wrote the article to share information collected through library research, discussion with health care personnel. and through listening to and reading about other women's experiences.

The article outlines the influence allegedly related to abnormal Pap test results -- hormones, infections, viruses, environment, stress and class. Medical treatments such as cryosurgery and biopsy are described, along with alternative treatments including vitamins, diet, lifestyle changes, and replacing Pill and IUD usage with barrier methods of birth control. Learning of abnormal Pap tests results can cause great stress and vulnerability. The aurthors of this article hope that the information presented will help to relieve some of these stresses by providing information and by arming women with information to make thorougly informed decisions, and proceed in a more powerful and purposeful manner." The article is available from the COLLECTIVE for $.50
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