Black History Month recognizes the role of the Black community in the history of Canada, as well as celebrates the achievements and ongoing contributions of Black Canadians to Canada’s history and culture.
As we recognize the achievements of Black communities in Canada, let us appreciate the contributions of these prominent female Black contributors to health care in Ontario.
Dr. Miriam Rossi, MD
Dr. Rossi was emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, and a pediatrician in the division of Adolescent Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children. As well, she was Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Admissions at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine for 13 years.
Dr Rossi is best known for her contributions to diversity and health equity in undergraduate medical education. As well, she co-founded the Black Health Alliance and was an advocate in 2010 for the opening of the TAIBU Community Health Care Centre, which provides specialized care for the black community in Toronto.
She was a founding member of the Black Physicians’ Association of Ontario (BPAO). In 2017, BPAO collaborated with the University of Toronto to establish the Miriam Rossi Award for Health Equity in Undergraduate Medical Education and she was also recognized in 2016 as a 100ABC (Accomplished Black Women).
She passed away in 2018.
Chika Stacy Oriuwa, MD
Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa graduated from the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine in 2020 where she was the first Black woman to be named the sole valedictorian of her class and is currently a resident in psychiatry.
While still at school, she was an ambassador and public face of the University of Toronto’s Black Student Application Program (BSAP), and co-founded the Black Interprofessional Students’ Association (BIPSA) to network students across graduate programs.
Mattel recognized Dr. Oriuwa for her advocacy against systemic racism in health care by including her in a special collection of Barbie Dolls honouring health workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. She is also a spoken word artist.
Onye Nnorom, MD
Family doctor and public health specialist and president of Black Physicians of Ontario
Dr. Onye Nnorom has helped change Canada’s health history by focusing on inequity in the health system. She has done this locally, nationally and internationally. Locally, she teaches medical students about inequity in medicine, has been instrumental in the formation of Black Health Vaccine Initiative (BVHI) to ensure that Black residents of Ontario receive vaccines, and internationally, her podcast Race, Health and Happiness has focused on navigating professional life as a racialized individual.”
Dr Mojola Omole
Surgical oncologist and co-host of the CMAJ podcast
Dr. Mojola Omole is an oncologist in Toronto and works hard to ensure her patients are treated with cultural sensitivity. As a racialized person, she recognizes the significance of having a female person of colour perform important surgery. Her practice is inclusive and supports people that already feel marginalized or rejected, creating a space where everyone feels safe, heard and understood.
Dr. Omole also finds time to be active in the Black community, working on recruitment of young Black medical students, and furthering education in the Black community.
To learn more about how Black healthcare providers are impacting both physical and mental health care, there are many different websites you can visit including the Black Physicians’ of Ontario.
To donate to Federated Health Charities and our participating charities, please visit Federated Health Charities.