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Biographies of MWIA Executive members

Dr Shelley Ross

President of the Medical Women’s International Association

Dr Ross graduated from the University of Alberta in Canada in 1974 and received her Certification in Family Medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 1976, following a two-year residency in Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Canada. In 1998, she was made a Fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Dr Ross has been involved with the Federation of Medical Women of Canada since residency and was twice president of the Vancouver Branch. She was President of the national Federation of Medical Women of Canada in 1984, when the MWIA Congress was held in Vancouver.

Dr Ross was Vice-President for North America for MWIA from 1986 to 1992 and President-elect of MWIA from 1998-2001.

In addition to her activities in MWIA, she has been Chief of Staff of her local hospital and is currently the representative for her region to the provincial medical association, where she heads the committee on female participation. Dr Ross has always championed the cause of women’s health and looks forward to working with an excellent team during her presidency to further advance the cause of women’s right to good health.

Dr Gabrielle Casper

President-elect of the Medical Women’s International Association
President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women

Dr Casper is a Sydney gynaecologist who has been a member of the Australian Federation of Medical Women since she graduated from medical school in 1987. She has held executive positions in the state branches of NSW, Victoria and Queensland and at international level since 1994 when she was the Young Forum representative for Australia, following which she was elected as Chair of the Young Forum committee. Dr Casper has been elected as an honorary life member of the Association of Medical Women of India for her work for the Medical Women’s International Association Mission Hospital in Calcutta. This hospital is staffed by female medical volunteers.

Dr Casper was nominated by Australia for the MWIA Ethics and Resolutions Committee for 1995-1998 and the Scientific and Research Committee for 1998-2001. In 1996 Dr Casper attended the Strategic Planning Workshop for MWIA in Bellagio, Italy, as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation team residency. In 1997 she represented MWIA at the WHO Regional Committee in the Western Pacific with the Australian Minister for Health, Dr Michael Wooldridge. In 1998 Dr Casper was one of three delegates for MWIA to the United Nations Round-table Discussions on health, mental health, older women and national machineries for the advancement of women with the Assistant Secretary-General, Angela King in New York.

Her involvement at international level has been invaluable to the Australian organising committee for the 25th international congress taking place in Sydney in April 2001. Dr Casper has been able to prioritise the issues to be covered by the workshops and plenaries. Her knowledge of the serious health problems women experience throughout the world has influenced the choice of workshops on indigenous health, human rights, the influence of gender on women as patients and clinicians, violence and ageing.

Dr Casper has been involved in medical research for the past six years. She is studying the range of factors associated with the progression of endometrial cancer in order to improve therapeutic management and subsequent outcome for patients. This study has the largest cohorts of women to be studied in the world. The results of this research will be presented for a higher degree.

Last year Rosemary Calder, First Assistant Secretary of the Office for the Status of Women conducted a Workshop on Building Organisational Capacity and Advocating for Change to which Dr Casper was an invited delegate. She was also a invited delegate to a Roundtable Discussion in February 2001 hosted by the Shadow Minister for the Status of Women, Dr Carmen Lawrence. Her interests in women’s health and her advocacy for women at a personal and population level will continue to develop in this new role.

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