Karen Lawford

Doctoral Students
  • Email Address:
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  • Programme:
    Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Ottawa (2012-present)
  • Project Title:
    The Impacts of Health Canada's Evacucation Policy as Described by First Nations women. 2012-
  • Project Description:
    My doctoral research aims to document the narratives of First Nations women who leave their communities to give birth in urban hospital settings. Documenting women's experiences is important because the break in life continuity is based on colonial Euro-Canadian bio-medical practices; this contributes to the ongoing marginalization of First Nations populations, but especially women.
  • Research Projects:
    2009-2011 Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research award recipient · Expert advisor for the Obstetrics and the Women's Health and Gynecology chapters for the national Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nurses in Primary Care (Health Canada) · Founding member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives ·Registered Midwife (Ontario) * Expert contributor to the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada – Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Culturally Safe Curriculu
  • Where are you now?:
    Karen M. Lawford is finishing her doctorate at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa where she is co-supervised by Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Audrey Giles. She is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation and is an Aboriginal midwife and registered midwife (Ontario). Ms. Lawford’s research interests are related to health care for Aboriginal peoples, with particular attention to the complex jurisdictional, governance, administrative, and policy issues that arise in the delivery of maternal and child health services to remote and rural reserves. Her doctoral research mapped the processes surrounding Health Canada’s evacuation policy, and analyzed its impacts on First Nations women, their families, and communities in Manitoba. Despite the resignation of women to evacuation, and significant gaps in care and policy, her conclusions point to the resilience and resistance of women seeking a return of birthing to community. She has recently had published a tool for identifying invisible policies, like the evacuation policy.
Founder & Personal Trainer

 Publications & Presentations:

  • Lawford, K.M., Giles, A.R., & Bourgeault, I.L. (2017). Health Canada’s evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women in Manitoba: Resignation, resilience, and resistance. Women and Birth(under review). 
  • Nelson, C.R., Lawford, K.M., Darling, E.K., & Otterman, V. (2016). Mental health indicators among pregnant Aboriginal women in Canada: Results from the Maternity Experiences Survey. Health        Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada (under review).
  • Lawford, K., & Giles, A.R. (2016). Kivalliq Inuit Centre boarding home and the provision of prenatal education. International Journal of Circumpolar Health , 75, 32213. doi.org/10.3402/ijch.v75.32213
  • Lawford, K. (2016). Locating invisible policies: Health Canada’s evacuation policy as a case study. Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice, 37, 2(2), 147-160
  • Lawford, K., & Giles, A.R. (2013). Marginalization and coercion: Canada's evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women who live on reserves in rural and remote regions. Pimatisiwin, 10(3), 327-340. (refereed)
  • Lawford, K. & Giles, A. (2012). An analysis of the evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women in Canada. AlterNative: An international journal of Indigenous peoples,8(3): 329-342.
  • Smylie, J., Fell, D., Ohlsson, A., & the Joint Working Group on First Nations, Indian, Inuit, and Métis. Infant Mortality of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System (2010). A review of Aboriginal infant mortality rates in Canada: Striking and persistent Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal inequities. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 101, 143-148.
  • Corbeil, M-C., Helwig, K., Belleau, C., Rainville, Y., & Lawford, K. (2002). Une étude des matériaux et des techniques de Jean Dallaire. Journal of the Canadian Association for Conservation, 27, 14-24. 


Title: Royal University Hospital Employees coercing and forcing Indigenous women to have tubal ligations.

 Submitted to: Saskatoon Health Region, Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Canada

 Submitted by: Holly A. McKenzie, PhD(c) (UBC), Melika Popp, Jillian Arkles Schwandt (Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon), Karen Olsen Lawford, PhD(c) (University of Ottawa), and Colleen Varcoe PhD, RN, Professor (UBC).

Date: September 21, 2016


Title: First Nations breastfeeding and Health Canada’s evacuation policy.

 Submitted to: INFACT Canada

 Submitted by: Karen Lawford

 Date: October 27, 201

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