Skip to main content


First in the world

  • BC Women’s Hospital’s Psychiatric Genetic Counselling Clinic was the first to offer genetic counselling services to patients living with psychiatric illness and their families, providing services to more than 400 families to date (since 2015) and training other clinicians from around the globe.
  • BC researchers find the HPV test superior to Pap smears in the first study of its kind in 2018. It is the first clinical trial to directly compare the effectiveness of the two tests.

First in North America

  • BC Women’s starts a “Golden Hour practice” in 2019 to protect the first hour of life by keeping mom and baby together in the delivery room when life-saving interventions are needed for the baby.

First in Canada

  • BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre was the first large specialized hospital in Canada to be designated a World Health Organization and UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital.
  • The hospital is home to Canada's first milk bank, providing pasteurized milk to infants where formula is not appropriate or if a mother's milk in insufficient or unavailable.
  • BC Women’s Hospital created Canada’s first program to care for substance-using women and their substance-exposed newborns. The Families in Recovery Combined Care Service (FIR) received an Innovative Services Award of Excellence from British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth in 2008.
  • Dr. Brian Fitzsimmons secured a fellowship from the Fellowship in Family Planning, making BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre the first Canadian site to receive the fellowship. 
  • Women in remote communities now have greater access to information, health resources and information to motivate health-related behaviour change throughout pregnancy with the development of the SmartMom program. A Canadian first, this prenatal education program is delivered by text message and was created by researchers from BC Children's Hospital and Women's Health Research Institute to meet the needs of a more mobile phone-friendly generation.
  • BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre is the first in Canada to open a preemie biobank for non- invasive research in 2018 that uses cord blood from premature babies preterm delivery to study diseases and infections.
  • Since opening in 2013, BC Women’s operates the province’s first Complex Chronic Disease Program for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia Syndrome, and chronic Lyme disease. 
  • In 1982, BC Women’s (then Grace Hospital) became the first hospital in Canada to have midwives providing care, and now hosts the largest midwifery department with more than 50 midwives. It was also the first hospital in Canada to have obstetricians performing ultrasounds on pregnant women.

First in BC

  • Women injecting illicit substances in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) are now able to do so in a safe environment with the opening of BC’s first women-only overdose prevention site. The initiative is a partnership with BC Women’s Hospital, Atira Women’s Resource Society, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health. It is part of the larger harm reduction and overdose response strategy that BC’s health authorities have committed to support.  
  • The first-of-its-kind in BC, the Heartwood Centre for Women is a residential substance treatment program for women with significant substance dependence, mental health concerns, and primary health care needs. The program offers a full range of treatment supported by an interdisciplinary team.
  • For the first time in B.C., the Provincial Medical Genetics Program - in collaboration with the Genome Diagnostics Lab - reported genomic sequencing results obtained in Canada to patients. Previously these assessments had to be sent to labs outside of Canada.

SOURCE: Firsts ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Women's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2024 Provincial Health Services Authority.