Nadine Caron, an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and Co-Director of the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, has received the Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
A general and endocrine surgeon in Prince George, B.C., she also teaches in the Northern Medical Program, a distributed site of the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine delivered in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia.
Several accomplishments underpin Dr. Caron’s merit for this award, which celebrates devotion to Indigenous rights and a commitment to cultural safety:
- She is the first Indigenous woman to graduate from UBC’s medical school and Canada’s first female First Nations general surgeon.
- She is co-creator of UBC’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, which she has co-directed since 2014. The Centre’s community-based programming is empowering Indigenous populations to play a greater role in improving their own health outcomes. This approach espouses many of the same health values called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- She is an excellent role model and mentor for Indigenous youth. For example, she took the opportunity to enrol students from UBC and the University of Northern British Columbia in the courses she was teaching at Johns Hopkins University’s Centre for American Indian Health, enabling the transfer of new skills and knowledge to influence curriculum development in Indigenous health at UBC.
“Nadine embodies the values of role-modelling, mentoring and changing the status quo that define the Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award,” said Royal College CEO Andrew Padmos. “She has become a shining example for others, especially Indigenous girls and women, to aspire to higher education and careers in science and medicine.”
The well-being of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples is a top priority for the Royal College. The Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award was established in 2014 to recognize physicians who epitomize a zeal and devotion to the pursuit of rights and justice for Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The award distinguishes individuals like its namesake, Thomas Dignan, chair of the Royal College Indigenous Health Advisory Committee, who embrace cultural safety and understand the importance of the social determinants of health.