WRC Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient 2022
Chantal Rytz is an up-and-coming health-care leader who obtained her master's in cardiovascular and respiratory sciences from the University of Calgary in 2019 and is currently completing her doctor of philosophy in medical sciences from the Cumming School of Medicine.
Rytz is an advocate for transformative change in health care for the LGBTQ2S+ community. Having personally witnessed first-hand the barriers and lack of personalized health the LGBTQ2S+ community faces, Rytz lives by the adage Nothing About Us Without Us. She takes active steps, both academically and personally, to create a better place for gender and sexual diverse populations with a focus on women.
Rytz’s doctoral research aims to determine the association between different forms of gender-affirming estrogen therapy and cardiovascular risk in transgender women and works closely with members of Skipping Stone, a foundation dedicated to supporting the transgender community and their families. Rytz’s work has the potential to change clinical practice and improve health outcomes by providing key information and shared decision-making for transgender women and their health-care providers.
As a testament to Rytz's notable work and scholarship, she has garnered numerous awards and accolades including a University of Calgary Citizenship Award, a Libin Cardiovascular Institute scholarship and one of only 13 Alberta Innovates - Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) graduate studentships to support her studies. Rytz is currently the Department of Medical Sciences nominee for the 2022 Killam Doctoral Scholarship.
Most recently, Rytz participated in the internationally recognized UCalgary Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, winning both Presenters’ Choice and First-Place Overall, bringing her to the Western Regionals Competition stage to represent UCalgary amongst 14 other post-secondary institutions.
Outside of the lab, Rytz routinely shows her passion for improving scientific curiosity and research skill sets in others as the lead co-ordinator of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute Clinical Journal Club and co-chair of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute student-led initiatives. Rytz also volunteers her time with the Graduate Students Association Gender and Sexuality Alliance Subcommittee, writing blog posts and advocating for safe and inclusive spaces for all.
Rytz has already left an indelible mark in her field with her remarkable leadership, and her unwavering dedication will continue to raise awareness and acknowledgement of transgender perspectives in research and health care.