Dr. Pamela Downe (award 2011) is one of the most highly regarded Canadian scholars in the broad areas of violence in the lives of girls and young women, HIV/AIDS, and motherhood and one of the few scholars in Canada to examine the challenges faced by girls who have been involved in the sex trade.
Professor Downe's work has been used to inform the development of policies and programs designed to meet the needs of this population. Professor Downe possesses all the best characteristics of a caring and committed scholar whose thinking is, at once, fierce, focused, and courageous.
Dr Downe has crafted sophisticated theoretical analyses and innovative methodological strategies in research that addresses a range of key issues including: discourses of disease in relation to social contexts; theorizing the shifting terrain of motherhood; the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls; girls and prostitution; migration and health; addictions and drug use; harm reduction; public health and health policy and, more recently, maternal health and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Downe's complex framing of health and well-being has been her signature contribution not only to medical anthropology but to women?s and gender studies as well.
As a feminist scholar and activist, Dr. Downe has made an important contribution to the scholarship examining questions of power and the politics of health for women?s and girls? lives in postcolonial, transnational and global contexts.
Professor Downe has shaped her professional trajectory according to the pressing needs of marginalized groups and people for whom she has sought practical solutions with to ameliorate the suffering in their lives and to fight against social inequities within Canada, the Caribbean and Central America.