Today we are celebrating Dr. Nadine Caron who is making medical history! Her story is one of many firsts; she became the first Indigenous woman to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) medical school and then, in 2005, became the first female Indigenous general surgeon in Canada. Most recently, Dr. Caron was named the UBC’s founding First Nations Health Authority Chair in Cancer and Wellness.
Caron was born in Kamloops, British Columbia, to an Ojibwe mother and an Italian immigrant father. In 1993, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and went on to earn her master’s degree in Public Health at Harvard, and then completed her surgical residency at the University of California, where she specialized in endocrine surgical oncology.
Dr. Caron leads the Northern Biobank Project, which will allow patients in remote, usually Indigenous communities in northern British Columbia to participate in more research in personalized medicine and provide greater access to quality health care. She recently received the Canadian Cancer Society’s inaugural Inclusive Excellence Prize which honours individuals who have demonstrated leadership in the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the Canadian cancer research ecosystem.
As co-director of UBC’s Center for Excellence in Indigenous Health and in all her work, Dr. Caron is cultivating the idea that Indigenous healing practices and Western medicine can exist in harmony. Today we celebrate her journey to making medical history!