Educator, researcher and women’s health advocate Elaine Carty was appointed to the Order of Canada at the end of 2016. She was acknowledged for her commitment to advancing health-care options for women and her instrumental role in establishing professional midwifery care in British Columbia. Her research has focused on developing a body of knowledge that ensures women and their families have access to quality supports and services to meet their needs during childbirth.
In the 1960s, Carty completed her nursing degree at the University of New Brunswick, then obtained a master’s degree in nursing and a certificate in nursing midwifery from Yale University. She held clinical and education positions in New Brunswick and Ontario before relocating to Vancouver in the mid-1970s. During her time as a faculty member at the University of British Columbia (UBC), she also practised in Canada’s first in-hospital midwifery service. She went on to lead research on the childbearing and parenting needs of women with disabilities, the effects of long-term hospitalization during pregnancy and the impact of the integration of midwifery in B.C. Her advocacy efforts for midwifery contributed to the regulation of midwifery in that province in 1998.
Carty was the founding director of the midwifery program at UBC from 2001 to 2005 and came out of retirement in 2012 to serve as the program’s interim director for 18 months. Among her many accolades are honorary life membership in the Midwives Association of British Columbia and an honorary doctorate from McMaster University for her contributions to women’s health.
She is one of 75 new members of the order.