Deborah Sloboda

Advocate for women in STEM working to ensure gender equity in all things science

Dr Sloboda is a Professor and the Associate Chair of Research in the Dept of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University.

Dr Sloboda speaks to the importance of women in STEM, on work life balance in academia, and career planning and progress for female academics/scholars.

She speaks to the importance of Women’s Health research; focusing on the importance of engagement between the Academy and community-based organization in achieving research goals in women’s health research.

Dr Sloboda holds a Canada Research Chair and has over 15 years’ experience in the field of pregnancy biology with a PhD in fetal physiology, obtained from the University of Toronto. She has travelled the world with her small family; she has done 2 postdoctoral fellowships (Australia and Auckland respectively) and was appointed to a permanent position at the University of Auckland in 2009. She was recruited to McMaster in 2021. She currently sits on the McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences EDI Advisory Committee and co-Chairs the working group on Strategic Recruitment and Retention practices.

Dr Sloboda’s speaks to #WomeninSTEM and career planning:
Dr Sloboda actively works to ensure gender equity in STEM – she mentors girls and women and works to establish equity, diversity and inclusion as fundamental pillars in her workplace to create an effective training environment, and to ensure that in science, experimental designs, interpretation and analyses are inclusive of diverse perspectives. She has spoken at a number of events on the role of equity and work life balance in science and how women in STEM can work together to ensure that gender equity is represented in positions of leadership. Her topics focus on career planning for women in science.

Dr Sloboda’s speaks to Women’s Health and Community Engagement:

Dr Sloboda is an expert on the need for community engagement and inclusion in achieving scientific goals. Her research specifically targets and works to benefit marginalized populations. Women’s health is particularly undervalued in the field of biomedical research and health policy development; studies of pregnancy and postpartum barriers and enablers to health are especially undervalued. She has composed a team of people that have made advances in this field and elevated these issues in the scientific literature and in the sphere of public health.

She brings together individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, geographical areas, and convictions to engage with expectant mothers and services that support pregnant women in order to understand and evaluate barriers and enablers of health and nutrition during pregnancy and to co-develop interventions to improve pregnancy health. Her Mothers to Babies Study is a community-based formative knowledge transfer and program of intervention, to improve diet, and body composition of women before and after conception, with a focus on marginalized populations.  

She has developed the Canadian Teenagers and COVID19 Study (CanTec19) to determine the impact the pandemic is having on adolescents, their diets, physical activity levels, mental health and well-being. She has collaborated with community-based organizations including The Art Gallery of Hamilton and The Hamilton District School Board, and to date has collected health and well-being data on 700 City of Hamilton adolescents, and conducted and 10 focus group discussions with our adolescent participants.

This study is ongoing. In her most recent community-based project, The Art of Creation Project is an interactive art-based education program and public exhibition series, to translate the science of early origins of health to the public, policymakers, and healthcare workers. The Art of Creation Project takes visitors on an interactive journey through biological development and highlights the importance of a community driven support program for pregnant women and their families.

Use of IWD Speakers Directory is at user discretion.
IWD Speakers are not endorsed. Information is provided by the speaker or their agency.

IWD Toolkit
IWD Light Up
Where Women Work

Join the IWD Community