Congratulations, Dr. Wendy Norman: Newly appointed CGSHE Interim Executive Director

February 3, 2023   |   Blog, News

We are thrilled to announce that UBC has appointed Dr. Wendy Norman as Interim Executive Director of Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity at the University Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Wendy V. Norman (she/her/hers) joins CGSHE as of February 1, 2023 as the Interim Executive Director of the Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Norman is a Professor in the UBC Department of Family Practice and Associate Faculty in the School of Population and Public Health and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is a family physician-researcher with over 35 years experience in sexual health and family planning care. She holds the Chair in Family Planning Public Health Research from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2014-24) and an Honorary Associate Professor in the Faculty of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK.

Dr. Norman fielded the BC Sexual Health Survey as a pilot for the recently announced federal, national representative sample population household personal interview survey, for which she has been appointed by Statistics Canada as co-chair of the External Advisory Committee. Her program of research has led to more than a dozen federal and provincial health policy and health system or service improvements and has contributed to seven clinical practice guidelines and has been cited in “Up To Date”.

In 2015 Dr. Norman was awarded the prestigious international Guttmacher Darroch Award for advancing reproductive health policy research, in 2020 with the inaugural National Mentorship Award of the Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada, and in 2022 recognized as a Woman of Impact in Canada by the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. She founded and leads the Canadian national collaboration: The Contraception and Abortion Research Team (, and is a technical advisor to the World Health Organization on Sexual Health Survey Data.

On her first day with CGSHE, our communications team had the chance to ask Dr. Norman a few questions to help the CGSHE community to get to know her a little better.

What drew you to research in gender and sexual health equity? 

As a family physician working in abortion care for more than 20 years I was drawn to this research to address the upstream structural, policy, system and services inequities I could see being faced by so many in their quest to manage their fertility and the impact this had on their lives and aspirations.

What are three things that you want the CGSHE community to know about you? 

Firstly, I’m hugely honoured to have been asked to take on this role, and for the exciting opportunity to learn more about the work of the Centre, and the research each of CGSHE’s faculty members are leading.

Secondly, one of my most cherished values centres on capacity building; one of the most attractive parts of this role for me is that I can learn to be of some service to advance the careers of the next generation of trainees and early career researchers in gender and sexual health equity during my time at CGSHE.

Finally, I’m here to learn. I work with an “open door” and welcome guidance from the CGSHE community. If you can see something I should know about, or a way I could support CGSHE’s Vision, Mission, and Values, I’m always happy to connect.

What excites you most about taking on the role of Interim CGSHE Executive Director at UBC?

Great question! As you see from my answers above, many things! I’m a life-long learner, and although in my 60s now and a Professor, I enrolled as a PhD student recently at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in the UK and am chipping away there to continue to learn something new. One of the most exciting things for me in taking on this role is the chance to advance my own learning through engagement with the many wonderful programs of research running from this Centre.

What are some of the most pressing challenges you’re currently tackling in your work?

My program of research has supported BC’s planned policy to make prescription contraception free for all, to make post-abortion contraceptives free for all in BC since 2017, and federally to introduce subdermal contraceptive implants in Canada and to remove restrictions on the abortion pill to make it a feasible service for primary care physicians and NPs. Our pressing challenges ahead are to address remaining inequities to access contraception and abortion in Canada and globally. We learn more about these every week, and continue to design research able to support policy, system and service changes that will address inequities.

When you’re not working, how do you like to re-charge? 

I’m hugely grateful for my family and friends. One of my favourite ways to relax is to take any opportunity to be outdoors together- hiking, skiing, sailing, or even just to share a nice long walk and talk.