Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder are very common, especially in women; and while pelvic floor exercise or medication often helps them, there are hundreds of British Columbians for whom these standard therapies bring little to no relief. An alternative is urgently needed. 

For over 30 years, the urology specialists at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) have garnered national and international recognition. From their seminal research discoveries in both lab and clinical setting, as well as their outstanding delivery of complex care – particularly in the area of prostate cancer – they are treating people from all walks of life and with any kind of urologic condition.  

“We want to build on our original successes and make the same transformative contributions to other areas of urology for women, men and children across BC,” says Dr. Martin Gleave, Head, Department of Urologic Sciences and Executive Director, VPC. To accomplish this, we need support from philanthropy to help us recruit and retain the best clinicians and scientist to BC to deliver subspecialty care and translate discoveries to benefit BC and beyond.” 

Together, in May 2023, the VPC and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation launched the Campaign for an Institute of Urologic Sciences to raise over $35M to support the incredible talent pool at VGH – bright minds who turn discoveries into new treatments for patients and their families. One of these talents is Dr. Kate Anderson, Diamond Foundation Surgeon-Scientist in Female and Functional Urology. Her recruitment was made possible by a generous $1.25M gift from the Diamond Foundation to the Urologic Sciences Campaign.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Dr. Anderson completed her Urology Residency at Dalhousie University and a Fellowship in Female and Functional Urology at the Bristol Urological Institute in the UK, with a certificate in urodynamics. “My training has provided me with a unique set of skills that I am excited to apply in my new role at VGH”, says Dr. Anderson. “I am passionate about improving outcomes for my patients and to bring new therapies to women in my care.” 

Dr. Anderson
Dr. Anderson started with the team in October 2023, and her impact is already felt by the many women who would otherwise have no viable treatment plan for their conditions. Some of these patients suffer from severe pelvic floor dysfunction related to urinary and other similar maladies. Their conditions do not respond to standard therapies and profoundly affect their daily lives, restricting their everyday activities and often leading to poor sleep, negative sexual function, decreased productivity, anxiety and depression.

“For the longest time, female urologic health seemed relegated to the sidelines”, says Jill Diamond, Executive Director of the Diamond Foundation. “My family wanted to do something about that and change the outcomes”. 

Now, under Dr. Anderson’s leadership and thanks to philanthropic support, the Bladder Care Centre at UBC Hospital and the Gordon & Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre at VGH will start offering a new therapy as of February 2024, called sacral neuromodulation (SNM). SNM works like a pacemaker for the bladder, controlling urges and dramatically improving quality of life for patients in a minimally invasive way, without the toxic side effects of regular drugs. Dr. Anderson is also teaming up with the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) to study the application of SNM on patients with acute spinal cord injuries and improve their quality of life when it comes to bladder symptoms. 

“I am so grateful to the Diamond Foundation for their generous philanthropy, which is enabling me to bring this new treatment to countless patients across BC, giving them hope for a better tomorrow”, says Dr. Anderson. Together, we care for those whose conditions were almost forgotten and bring leading discoveries to their bedside in their greatest hour of need.