A Nigerian born Psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto, Canada, Dr Chika Oriuwa has been named one of Canada’s 50 most influential people who are forging paths and shaping the world.
Penpushing reports that, the relevance of the Nigerian, in leading the debate and shaping how we think and live is established by the Maclean’s power list, and Oriuwa is ranked 37 in the lists of 50 Canadians.
’It is a list of 50 Canadians who are forging paths, leading the debate and shaping how we think and live. Our ranking hews toward good-faith actors pursuing positive change, even if their approaches, or their notions of positive, are not universally shared’, Maclean power list explained.
Penpushing further reports that, when Oriuwa arrived at the University of Toronto in 2016 as an incoming medical student, she was the only black student in a cohort of 259,and being the only black student in the cohort became a catalyst and propellant for a new phase which saw her advocating for processes that would increase diversity in medicine and becoming the face of the new Black student application programme the following year.
The programme (Black student application programme), which encourages applications from Black students, has already had remarkable success, while the university had just admitted 24 Black medical students, the largest cohort ever.
Penpushing also reports that, Oriuwa when graduated in 2020 was the sole valedictorian of her class, making her the only Black woman to receive the honour in the school’s 179-year history, and in her speech said she chose psychiatry because it has some of the most marginalised patient demographics in medicine.
The famous Psychiatry, who is a daughter of Nigerian immigrants, explained that when she did her clinical rotations, she knew she needed to do something where mental health was the centre
“It was such a full circle moment for me, as a young girl who played with Barbies and always really wanted to see myself reflected. Not only as a child who wanted to be a physician, but as a young Black girl”, she stated
“There is a dark side to advocacy, to putting your name and face and work out into the public eye,” she said. I deal with that on a fairly consistent basis. I’ve spoken at my high school in Brampton, Ont., and had young Black women tell me,I want to be a doctor because you did it, and you’re just like us. To be able to inspire them is so incredible for me,” she added.
“I’m just so excited to be that role model for my own children, to tell them about all the things that their mommy has done. With my son, I can tell him that I drew strength from my pregnancy to do these things. It’s a special experience that I’ve already shared with him in that way.”
Penpushing reports that, Mattel, the American multinational toy manufacturing and Entertainment Company, in recognizing Oriuwa’s impact selected her for its Barbie Role Models programme.
The Nigerian was in August 2021, one of six women working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic to be immortalised as a Barbie doll, while her advocacy also takes creative forms, through writing and public speaking.
Penpushing further reports that, she is an accomplished spoken-word artist who has competed nationally as a slam poet; her recitation of her 2017 poem ‘Woman, Black’ has been viewed more than 12,000 times on YouTube.
The Nigerian is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including being recognized as one of Best Health Magazine’s 2020 Women of the Year, and also serves on Indigo’s Board of Directors, is a medical board member for the Made of Millions Foundation – a global advocacy non-profit organisation with a mission to change how the world perceives mental health – and is a member of the Canadian Medical Association Journal Advisory Board..
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