Wendy Norman, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice, has been given the 2015 Darroch Award for Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research from the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based organization that promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights through research, policy analysis and public education.
The biennial Darroch Award, named for a former senior vice president of the institute, was established in 2005 to recognize excellence among sexual and reproductive health researchers who are in the early or middle years of their careers.
Dr. Norman spent more than 20 years as a clinician, advocate and administrator within the field of reproductive health. In these roles, she recognized many gaps in contraceptive and abortion services in British Columbia and Canada more broadly, and decided to transition to a research career seven years ago. Since then, Dr. Norman’s research has had a significant impact on the reproductive health of Canadian women.
Dr. Norman founded and is the Director of Canada’s Contraception Access Research Team—Groupe de recherche sur l’accessibilité à la contraception (CART-GRAC). This research team aims to support women’s family planning desires through an interdisciplinary combination of research, health services and policy initiatives. Because of Dr. Norman’s research, Health Canada, the national health agency, has implemented a national policy change that significantly improves access to the most effective forms of contraception for First Nations and Inuit women. Dr. Norman’s findings about the cost-effectiveness of post-abortion contraception has also been used to support provision of this care.
In recognition of her work, Dr. Norman has recently been named an Applied Public Health Chair by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada. In this role, she works with other experts to support the engagement of academics, government officials, health professionals and patient groups in reproductive health care.
Dr. Norman has also taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses focusing on birth planning, unintended pregnancy and abortion care. She has designed an innovative one-day rotation in abortion care and also directs the Fellowship in Family Planning at UBC.
“Wendy Norman’s initiative and productivity and the strength of her research exemplify the essence of the Darroch Award,” says Lawrence Finer, the Guttmacher Institute’s director of domestic research. “She has built a team of researchers who conduct clinical and social research with direct and important implications for the reproductive health of women across Canada.”