Lucy Vorobej (she/her)

Nominated by member scholarly associations of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2022 Congress Graduate Merit Awards recognize exceptional graduate students who will be presenting their work at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Photo of Lucy Vorobej, CGMA recipient


Tell us about yourself.

Lucy Vorobej completed her BAH and B.Ed. at Queen’s University before joining the University of Waterloo as a MA student and later a PhD candidate in the department of history. Her research interests include the study of settler colonialism in Canada, Critical Race Theory, and the history of medicine.  

Which scholarly association(s) are you currently a member of?

  • Canadian Society for the History of Medicine 
  • Canadian Historical Association 

At which conference(s) will you be presenting and/or attending? 

Canadian Historical Association  

What is the title of your Congress 2022 presentation?  

The Best of All Possible Worlds: The Post-War Indian Health Service and Settler Moves to Innocence  

How would you describe the research you will be presenting at Congress 2022?

My paper at Congress will examine how bureaucrats in the federal government’s Indian Health Services (IHS) understood the obstacles to the actualization of a complete health service for First Nations individuals in the post-war period. Specifically, I explore the ways in which settler discourse adapted to post-war policy imperatives to integrate First Nations peoples into settler society as citizens and evaluate the ways in which this discourse served settler interests as well as undermined sufficient health care access. 

How does the research you will be presenting connect with the Congress 2022 theme, Transitions

In 1946, the Department of National Health and Welfare (DNHW) became the federal government’s new manager of the Indian Health Services. Drawing on the spirit of universalism that infused post-war thinking about social services, DNHW leadership directed Percy Moore to redress the service’s past failings and improve the reach of government-organized medical services for First Nations communities. In response, Moore committed to the establishment of “the best possible arrangements.” Despite this period of alleged transition, a close examination reveals that many of the ideologies and objectives of earlier periods carried on. This finding serves as an important reminder to evaluate the ways in which periods of transitions may in fact be illusions that fail to disrupt the status-quo.    

What is your favourite part of the Congress experience?

My favourite part of the Congress experience is the intellectual camaraderie among people who share an interest and enthusiasm in a field of study. I also love going to the book fair! 

Share your hopes for Congress 2022. 

I hope that Congress 2022 will be an environment of enriching conversations and meaningful plans of action to better the lives of all those in our academic and wider communities. The pandemic has reminded us about the power of disruptive moments to ignite substantive transformations and transitions, and I hope we all relish that opportunity.