Karen Lawford

Karen Lawford

Assistant Professor

Gender Studies

People Directory Affiliation Category

PhD (Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies), University of Ottawa
MA (Institute of Women's Studies), University of Ottawa
BHSc with distinction (Midwifery), McMaster University
BSc Honours (Chemistry and Environmental Resource Science)

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Research interests
Maternity care on reserves, Medical evacuation, Midwifery, Indigenous feminist theories and methodologies, Indigenous women and Two Spirit Leadership, Indigenous health and wellness, Health care

Queen's Cultural Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Program; Adjust Research Professor position with the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University

Dr. Lawford is an Aboriginal midwife (Namegosibiing, Lac Seul First Nation, Treaty 3) and a Registered midwife (Ontario). Her research focuses on comprehensive, gender-inclusive sexual and reproductive healthcare for Indigenous Peoples with a particular focus on the provision of maternity care for those who live on reserve. Dr. Lawford seeks to identify the barriers to achieving equitable health services for Indigenous Peoples. She was the 2020 Indspire Laureate in Health for her research and policy work on mandatory evacuation for birth.  

Peer Reviewed publications
Tricco, A.C., Lachance, C.C., Rios, P., Darvesh, N., Antony, J., Radhakrishnan, A., Anand  S.S., Baxter, N., Burns, K.E., Coyle, D., Curran, J.A., Fiest, K., Graham, I.D., Hawker, G., Légaré, F., Watt, J., Wittemann, H.O., Clark, J.P., Bourgeault, I.L., Leigh, J.P., Ahmed, S.B., Lawford, K., Aiken, A., Falk-Krzesinski, H.J., Langlois, E.V., McCabe, C., Shepperd, S., Skidmore, B., Pattani, R., Leon, N., Lundine, J., Adisso, L., El-Adhami, W., & Straus, S.E. (2020). The global evidence of gender inequity in academic health research: A living scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 18(10). 2181-2193. 

Campbell, E., Austin, A., Ariss, E., Bax-Campbell, M., Auton, S., Carkner, E., Cruz, G., Hawes, A., O’Brien, K., Rizk, N., Toop, E., Brickenden, L., and Lawford, K.M. (2020). Indigenous relationality and kinship and the professionalization of a health workforce. Turtle Island Journal of Indigenous Health, 1(1).

Lawford, K.M., Bourgeault, I.L., & Giles, A.R. (2019). “This policy sucks and it’s stupid:” Mapping maternity care for First Nations women on reserves in Manitoba, Canada. Health Care for Women International, 40(12), 1302-1335. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2019.1639706

Bourgeault, I.L., James, Y., Lawford, K., & Lundine, J. (2018). Empowering women leaders in health: A gap analysis of the state of the knowledge. Canadian Journal of Physician Leadership, 5(2), 92-99.

Nelson, C.R., Lawford, K.M., Darling, E.K., & Otterman, V. (July/August 2018). Mental health indicators among pregnant Aboriginal women in Canada: Results from the Maternity Experiences Survey. Health  Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 38(7/8), 269-276.

Darling, L., Lawford, K., Wilson, K., Kryzanauskas, K., & Bourgeault, I. (2018). Distance from homebirth to emergency obstetrical services and neonatal outcomes: A cohort study. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health (accepted and forthcoming)

Lawford, K.M., Giles, A.R., & Bourgeault, I.L. (2018). Canada's evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women: Resignation, resilience, and resistance. Women and Birth.

Lawford, K., & Giles, A.R. (2016). Kivalliq Inuit Centre boarding home and the provision of prenatal education. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 75, 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. (2012). 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.

Lawford, K., & Giles, A.R. (2012). An analysis of the evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women in Canada. AlterNative, 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.

Indigenous Peer Reviewed Publications
Position Statement on Position Statement on Indigenous Child Apprehensions, National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, 2019

Position Statement on Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Indigenous Peoples, National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, 2019

Position Statement on Evacuation for Birth, National Aboriginal Council of Midwives, 2019

Stories and Teachings about Birth, 2017

Stories and Teachings about Infant Care, 2017

Stories and Teachings about Pregnancy, 2017

My Life, My Wellbeing, 2014

Open Hearts, Open Minds: Services that are Inclusive of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Families, 2012

Journey for Two: A Guidebook for When You’re Travelling Away From Home to Give Birth, 2009

Book Chapters
Chamberland-Rowe, C., Lawford, K., James, Y., Campbell, E., & Bourgeault, I. (2021). Who provides maternity care? Variations in maternity workforce. In Sandall, J. (Ed). Continuous textbook of women’s medicine series – Obstetrics module volume 1: Pregnancy and society.

Neiterman, E., Lawford, K., & Bourgeault, I. (2021). Midwifery. In I. Bourgeault, C. Chamberland-Rowe, & C. Demers (Eds.). Introduction to the health workforce in Canada. Canadian Health Workforce Network.  

Lafontaine, A., Lidstone, C., & Lawford, K. (2020). Seeing with two eyes: Indigenous leadership and the LEADS framework. In G. Dickson & B. Tholl (Eds.), Bringing leadership in health to life: Putting LEADS to work (pp. 279-298). Springer.

Additional Publications and Contributions
Butsang, T., & Lawford, K. (2021, April 5). Indigenous women, transgender and Two-Spirit people need support when leaving prison. The Conversation.

Cattapan, A., Moore, S., & Lawford, K. (2021). Reproductive Justice and Indigenous Women in Saskatchewan: Overview and Recommendations. Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Lawford, K. & Sivajohan, B. (2021, February 25). COVID-19 death highlights dangers of birth evacuation policy in Indigenous communities. healthydebate.

Rich, K., Bodin, K., Morrison, K., Lawford, K., & Fairley, S. (2021, March 16).  Resilience through adaptation: How sport organizations responded during the COVID-19 pandemic. SIRC.

Fawehinmi, T., Akande, V., Ipkornerk, A., Demers, C., Lawford, K. (2019). International Health Workforce Collaborative Policy Brief: Supporting Indigenous Health Workforce Participation and Career Advancement.

Research, ethnic fraud, and the academy: A protocol for working with Indigenous communities and Peoples.
Submitted to: Yellowhead Institute
Submitted by: Karen Lawford, PhD (Queen’s University) and Veldon Coburn, PhD (University of Ottawa)
Date: August 20, 2019

Lawford, K., & Lundine, J. (2019, May 27). Canada’s efforts at boosting inclusivity will not fly: The adoption of an Athena SWAN-style initiative is undermined by a failure to meaningful consult Indigenous Peoples, say Karen Lawford and Jamie Lundine. Times Higher Learning.

Pambrun, N., Lawford, K., & Couchie, C. (2019). Indigenous midwifery in Canada: An example of healthy relationships. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 41(2), pp S259-S262. doi

Lundine, J., Lawford, K., & James, Y. (2019, March 8). The gender balancing act. BMC Blog Network. 

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

First Nations breastfeeding and Health Canada’s evacuation policy.
Submitted to: INFACT Canada
Submitted by: Karen Lawford
Date: October 27, 2016