Jessica Shaw

Associate Professor

Calgary Campus

Ph.D. (Social Work)

University of Calgary


Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON


Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON


University of Ottawa

Contact information


MacKimmie Tower : MT425


  • W2022 - SOWK 410 - Practicum I
  • W2022 - SOWK 411 - Integrative Seminar I

view past courses

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Sexuality and Gender
  • International
  • Research Methods
  • Human Service Organizations and Systems

Research and Scholarly Activity

Areas of focus: critical social work, diversity and social justice, narrative inquiry, feminist theory and practice.

Current Research

Jessica is currently involved with a number of research projects related to medical assistance in dying (MAiD) in Canada. She has worked with the first cohort of physicians who have provided MAiD (outside of Québec), and has documented their experiences, as well as the experiences of their patients and the patients’ family and friends. Her most recent study is a Participatory Action Research project that explores the perceptions and experiences of MAiD within highly marginalized populations.

Jessica is also invested in understanding marginalized experiences of reproductive rights, sexual rights, self-determination in healthcare, and body positivity, including: cishet, queer, and transgender menstrual and pregnancy experiences; menstrual extraction; abortion and birth doulas; self-managed abortion; the midwifery model of care; polyamory and relationship orientation; naturism.


Jessica Shaw has been a sessional instructor with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary since January 2012, and has been an Assistant Professor since January 2016. Jessica was born on Manitoulin Island and grew up in rural Northern Ontario. Her experiences as a youth in a rural community helped to shape her social work understanding of the importance of service accessibility, and of the nature of dual and multiple relationships. In addition to her Social Work degrees, Jessica holds both undergraduate and graduate specializations in Women and Gender Studies, and is a DONA trained birth doula. In recognition of the need to connect full spectrum doulas (doulas who provide services for people of all genders, in all settings, and for all pregnancy outcomes) with clients and with each other, Jessica started the Full Spectrum Doula Collective of Canada in 2014. 

Jessica is widely known for her work as the Research Coordinator at Canadians for Choice (now Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights), where she produced the report Reality check: A close look at accessing abortion services in Canadian hospitals. Jessica’s work on abortion access has been recognized nationally and internationally. Currently, Jessica serves on the Board of Directors for Women Help Women, an international organization that bridges the gap between abortion rights advocacy and service provision.


Calgary’s “Top 40 Under 40” by Avenue Magazine (2017)

Distinguished Paper Award from the College of Family Physicians. Paper: Experiences with medical assistance in dying MAID: Patient and loved ones’ perspectives. (2017)

Ron Ghitter Award in Human Rights (2013)