“To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem.”

-Ameer Farooq

Age: 29

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta

Affiliations: Alberta Health Services

What influenced you to become a change-maker?

The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large desperate eyes. We finally find the room we are looking for. The imam of our mosque is lying on the bed, looking gaunt. He had just been shot by a rival religious group for his views on moderate Islam. After being shot, he was bundled into a car because there is no ambulance system in Pakistan. Thankfully nothing critical had been injured, otherwise he likely would have exsanguinated during transport.

The experiences that I have had on my trips to Pakistan, such as the one above, have had a profound impact on me. As a general surgery resident, I love healing people with my own hands. However, after pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Harvard, I have become passionate about improving global surgical care through the improvement of health systems, specifically through quality improvement and human-centred design.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

I am focused on improving the quality of surgical care being delivered in low-resource settings.Surgical care is an under-recognized global health issue, yet it impacts the healthcare system on many levels. Addressing the surgical needs of women and building surgical capacity globally would help save the lives of millions of pregnant women who die during childbirth, prevent complications that impact women’s lives, and prevent negative impacts on other areas of development. Working on a kidney transplant program in Guyana with the Ministry of Public Health has inspired me to continue to address the quality of global surgical care through improving decision-making and creating high quality surgical systems.

I am also committed to making surgery a better career for women. Fewer women go into surgery than men, and fewer female surgeons are offered the same positions or the same remuneration as their male colleagues doing the same work. Through my writing, I continue to advocate for surgeons, including improving gender equity for our female colleagues.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Sonia Lal

"Reflect on the stereotypes and prejudiced views you may apply to others. Recognize if you’re discriminatory, and rectify your behaviour. Change starts with you." -Sonia Lal Age: 18 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights (ACGC Member) Students Invested in Health Association, Live Different, Big Brothers Big Sisters From a cheerleader with a bow in her hair to a Taekwondo competitor gearing up to spar on...

Adam Goodwin

"Incorporate changes to address gender equality in your daily life. This can be in your own community, at the regional level, or through an international opportunity." -Adam Goodwin Age: 29 Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta Currently Residing In: Red Deer, Alberta Affiliations: Sport4one I spend a considerable amount of my personal time investing in the sport for development and peace industry. The industry employs sport as a means for economic, environmental, and social development. I became a...

Amber Rai

"To be a change-maker, you must identify an issue that needs to be addressed, think of ways to bring about the change, and evaluate your efforts to ensure you are making the impact that you hoped for." -Amber Rai Age: 20 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Sherwood Park, Alberta Affiliations: Learning Beyond Borders, HEAL International Ever since I joined the Learning Beyond Borders club over five years ago, I have been working on programs to help students in rural Uganda....

Stephanie Southgate

"Never underestimate the effect that your actions have on other people. Follow your interests and skills, and use them to make a positive impact." -Stephanie Southgate Age: 28 Hometown: Ipswich, United Kingdom Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: CAWST (ACGC Member) I have always been driven to make a positive contribution to others and the world. However, during a university internship in rural India, my resolve to shift my career path towards education was solidified upon...

Janine Heber

"Continually question and re-evaluate how spaces can be made more accessible, and take action to reduce barriers for marginalized folks." -Janine Heber Age: 19 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Queer Flex, Sexual Violence Awareness/Office of Human Rights, Plan International Canada Speakers’ Bureau, Rainbow Alliance Youth for Edmonton, The Quiltbag, MacEwan Office of Sustainability I am a queer, non-binary artist, activist, and student. I have a...

Ameer Farooq

"To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem." -Ameer Farooq Age: 29 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Alberta Health Services The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large...

Hannah Mercader

"You don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to make a special impact. Be mindful of how to make the small moments count." -Hannah Mercader Age: 27 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary From a very young age, I have always had an interest in the health of vulnerable populations. Being born in rural Philippines and growing up in a low-income immigrant family in Canada, I understand...

Janica Altea L. Echavez

"Encouraging young women and men in STEM is key to gaining more leaders and problem solvers that can address our current concerns in new, innovative ways." -Janica Altea L. Echavez Age: 23 Hometown: Cebu, Philippines Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Next 36 Canada, Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group, Science Expo Canada, Foundation of Student Science and Technology I was born and raised in the Philippines. While we owned a family exporting business, I was...

Sara Kardash

"Listen to the stories of the women and gender-diverse people in our communities and take the time to unpack your unconscious biases." -Sara Kardash Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I am in my final year of civil environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, where I have been involved with the on-campus Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada chapter as co-president. I went into...

John Christy Johnson

"I urge you to pay back to community, leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the prospective engineer, scientist, or astronaut, and pass the baton as you strive for personal success." -John Christy Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: University of Alberta Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory, ClickandPush Accessibility Inc., TEDxUAlberta As an Indo-Canadian and identical twin, I spend a fair proportion of my time thinking about...
Share This