The Guttmacher Institute is pleased to announce that Angel M. Foster, associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, is the 2017 recipient of the Darroch Award for Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research.

Dr. Foster has spent her professional career working to improve women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services by conducting interdisciplinary research with strong practical application to public policy issues. Her research is rooted in anthropological methods and spans a wide range of sexual and reproductive health topics, with a focus on expanding access to emergency contraception and abortion as well as improving the training of sexual and reproductive health professionals. Her colleagues also recognize the academic support and mentorship she has provided to many students and peers.

The impact of Dr. Foster’s work extends beyond academia; she has taken on topics not often studied, with an eye for their demonstrable impact on programs and policy. She works in humanitarian settings and in regions where sexual and reproductive health care receive less attention. Over the last ten years, she has conducted original research on emergency contraception in Tunisia, young women’s health and sexuality in Jordan, and abortion services in Canada. One of her research projects resulted in specific legislation to improve abortion access for Peace Corps volunteers. Her work on emergency contraception in the West Bank is being used to inform standards of care, and her research into the reproductive health of Burmese refugees in Thailand is facilitating access to medication abortion for women who need it. Dr. Foster has also translated her research into websites that help disseminate information about sexual and reproductive health, including medicationabortion.com.

“Dr. Foster’s work exemplifies policy-relevant research—the key criterion for the Darroch Award,” says Lawrence Finer, Guttmacher vice president for domestic research. “She works where others have not, studying marginalized populations with the goal of uncovering information that can directly improve the reproductive health of those populations.”

Dr. Foster earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford University. After being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, Dr. Foster completed her DPhil in modern Middle Eastern studies at Oxford, and then went on to obtain her MD at Harvard.

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, PhD, formerly senior vice president for science at the Guttmacher Institute and currently a senior fellow, whose long career at Guttmacher has 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
  • 2015: Wendy Norman, assistant professor in the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia

For more information about the award, click here.