First Nations general surgeon named to UBC chair

Dr. Nadine Caron, Canada’s first female First Nations general surgeon, has been appointed to a new University of British Columbia post dedicated to improving cancer outcomes and wellness among Indigenous peoples.

As the founding First Nations Health Authority chair in Cancer and Wellness at UBC. Caron will focus on the unique needs of Indigenous cancer patients, survivors and their families.

“She is focused on an area of growing concern, as we are seeing poorer outcomes for Indigenous peoples with some cancers,” said Richard Jock, acting chief executive officer of the FNHA. “In addition of a wellness focus will be an important contribution to treatment and care.”

The position, supported by a $1.5 million contribution from the FNHA, with matching funds from UBC, aims to address the disparity in cancer outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. Research has shown that some cancers, including colorectal and cervical, are significantly higher among First Nations residents in British Columbia and that survival from almost all cancer types in lower compared to non-First Nations residents.

Caron also serves as the co-director of UBC’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. She will adopt a holistic approach while developing strategies to prevent and address cancer among Indigenous peoples, acknowledging how colonization, racism, marginalization and poverty have led to the current disparity in health outcomes, UBC officials said.