The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Wendy V. Norman, M.D., assistant professor in the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia, is the 2015 recipient of the Darroch Award for Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research.

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 national 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. Her evidence on the cost-effectiveness of postabortion 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, Guttmacher 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.”

Dr. Norman earned her undergraduate degree and her M.D. from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, a doctorate in tropical medicine and hygiene from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and a master of health sciences degree from UBC.

The Darroch Award was established in 2005 to recognize excellence among sexual and reproductive health researchers who are in the early or middle years of their careers. It is named for Jacqueline E. Darroch, Ph.D., formerly senior vice president for science at Guttmacher and currently a senior fellow at the Institute, whose three decades at Guttmacher have exemplified rigorous and innovative work on sexual and reproductive health issues and a commitment to the practical application of research to policy and programs. The award is presented biennially.

Past recipients have included:

  • 2005: Elizabeth Raymond, researcher at Family Health International and practicing obstetrician-gynecologist
  • 2007: Sandra García, director of reproductive health for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Population Council
  • 2009: Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health
  • 2011: Eric Buhi, assistant professor of community and family health at the University of Florida’s College of Public Health
  • 2013: Cynthia Harper, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco

For more information about the award, click here.