Meet Dr. Nadine Caron, the first Indigenous woman to graduate from the University of British Columbia's medical school at the top of her class and Canada's first female First Nations general surgeon.

 The trailblazer tells The Current's guest host Laura Lynch that despite challenges, she's optimistic about the future of Indigenous health care in Canada. But that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done.

"Sometimes I'm so optimistic...And then on other days I experience things in the hallways or I hear things that are unintended to be heard and you just hang your head ... And so I think in the end it's just like anything else. We're not there yet but we don't even have the right to stop trying to get there."

For the past two years, the UBC medical school has instigated mandatory training in cultural competency and cultural safety for their medical students. It's a move that Dr. Caron, also an associate professor at UBC's Northern Medical Program, says is "a real leading role in terms of how post-secondary institutions can take responsibility for the professionals that they're training."

It's a role that addressed the prevalent racism in the medical profession that Dr. Caron has personally experienced.

"I remember this one time, it was many years ago ... And a surgeon came in. And he ... had just finished a long case. And he sat down and was like, 'phew, if I never operate on another Indian it'll be too soon'," Dr. Caron tells Laura Lynch.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made a number of recommendations around Indigenous health care including recognizing traditional healing practices.

According to Dr. Caron, traditional Indigenous healing practices and Western medicine can co-exist.

"I completely agree that our First Nations people and our other Aboriginal people in Canada really need to be respected," Dr. Caron tells Laura Lynch.

"If this is another area where they turn to for their health and and for their treatments then we need to work in collaboration with them to just make sure that what are they doing, what do we propose, how will it fit together — instead of feeling like we have to choose."


Responses to "Meet Dr. Nadine Caron, Canada's first female First Nations surgeon"

  1. Unknown says:

    You make us all so proud Dr. Caron!! ESNAA NISHIN!! AWESOME!!

  2. Unknown says:

    Congratulations! A great role model showing young people that they, too, can achieve. I'm sure you'll be the first of many.

  3. Dr. CJ says:

    Thank you for being a trailblazer, Dr. Caron I know it was not and is not easy. I pray the energy of the Great Spirit upholds you!

  4. Your my inspiration to become a surgeon. Niishin

  5. Unknown says:

    Very Very congratulations

  6. Unknown says:

    Iam so proud of your accomplishments ...continue educatings yourself ..there are no limits proved it ..congratulations

  7. You followed your dream, you succeeded in what you did. You did it as your calling and vision; you did it for you first. The rest follows. You did not do it to become a role model, though others will put you there, that has expectations. The fact that you achieved your goal with honor and self-determination, and will serve the same way is what counts. Wopila, for your achievement and may you be blessed in your journey ahead.

  8. Unknown says:

    We are very proud of your accomplishments..congrats...its true the racism in the med field on both the Client and the professionals face. I graduated as a LPN in 99..and it was not easy putting up with all the racism..i treated everyone like they were my own m

    Child or family no matter the skin color. So i totally agree ..we need our own med classes or schools..n hospitals or clinics n doctors n nurses so that we all can help our own ..i was not able to secure a job after i graduated..its a long i wont get to into it..

  9. Unknown says:

    You have accomplished a wonderful goal. All the people are very proud and wish you success. What a path for others to follow. My late sister Captain Sandra Lucas became the first woman Capt. ( Dept. of Natural Resources,MDNR) I thought of her as a trail blazer for others. Thank you Dr. Caron for your vision and effort. "The people win"

  10. "Should these Indians and Aborigines become rightly trained and educated, there is no doubt...that they will shed light to all regions"--'Abdu'l-Baha

  11. congrats, some day I would like to interview Dr. Nadine Caron for my film documentary.

  12. Unknown says:

    Congradulations Dr. Caron

  13. Unknown says:

    You're very courageous in standing for our people ,may creator keep and continue to bless you ,from Seminole Nation ,Native Territory .( Formerly okla homa ) mvto ,( thank you )

  14. RBLSCM says:

    It is a wonderful achievement! Yet It should not - must not - be so rare! Our young hopefuls need mentoring to prepare for - and get into - med school.

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