Northeast Calgary Women's Clinic fights against cultural barriers

The goal of the Northeast Calgary Women's Clinic is to create a comfortable environment for women to help break down cultural barriers.

Clinic has female doctor who speak multiple languages

Dr. Rupinder Toor-Mangat is the founder of the Northeast Calgary Women's Clinic. She was inspired to start the centre after finding out about the lack of health care her female family members were receiving. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

The goal of the Northeast Calgary Women's Clinic is to create a comfortable environment for women to help break down cultural barriers.

Clinic staff hope by having female doctors who speak languages — like Punjabi, Urdu or Hindi — they can increase the rates of women having tests, like pap smears.

Dr. Rupinder Toor-Mangat, who started the clinic, says she was inspired when she learned her own mother had not had a pap smear in 20 years.

"I asked her, you know, 'Why don't you go to the doctor and get it done?' and she said 'Well, he's a male doctor and I'm not going to go and see him for something like a pap test,'" said Toor-Mangat.

She wanted to find out if the rest of her family shared similar concerns.

"When I started talking to my aunts and cousins, same sort of story, none of them were going for very similar reasons and so it sort of planted a seed in my mind that we could, you know, set up a clinic where women would feel comfortable. Perhaps we could have female doctors who spoke a variety of different languages and have it sort of a nice safe place for women to come," said Toor-Mangat.

"I also grew up in the northeast and went to school in this area and so its got a very special sentimental place in my heart and its really important for me to give back to that community that I grew up in."

The clinic just celebrated it's seventh anniversary and has now opened up a second location.

"We've got 14 doctors and we have had the privilege of serving 30,000 women that have come through our door since we've opened."