Finishing at the top of her class, in 1997 Nadine Caron became the first Aboriginal woman to graduate from the UBC Faculty of Medicine. After completing further training at Harvard and the University of California San Francisco, she recognized that her heart – and research interests – lay in Canada. She returned to BC, where she now holds the positions of General and Endocrine surgeon at the University Hospital of Northern BC and Assistant Professor in UBC’s Northern Medical Program. She was recently appointed co-lead of the Indigenous Health stream in the School of Population and Public Health.
Nadine’s success has been supported by scholarships and prizes, in particular the prestigious CK Choi Scholarship, which she received while undertaking her MD degree. “That financial support was of vital importance in helping me along the way,” she says. Created by Vancouver businessman CK Choi and his family, this award underscores the Choi family’s belief that a university education gives people a solid foundation for a life that contributes to society. Nadine shares this belief.
“It was the opportunities and potential that drew me back,” she says, pointing out that her return to her home province happened just days before the Northern Medical Program opened for the first class of students in Prince George. “It was truly an honour to be the first academic physician in the North, and the students have been so wonderful to get to know and work with, making teaching and mentoring an honour as well.”
Support for students helps them to focus on their studies instead of on part-time jobs to make ends meet. It also encourages them to contribute to others, helping to ensure that they can go on to make a profound difference in people’s lives.