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Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon – Queen’s Gazette
by pmnationtalk onDecember 6, 2017239 Views
December 05, 2017
Donna May Kimmaliardjuk (Artsci’11) is completely comfortable doing open-heart surgery every day as a resident at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Being a role model is something the 28-year-old Queen’s Life Sciences grad finds a little more challenging.
Dr. Kimmaliardjuk is Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon.
The distinction has put her in the spotlight and brought pride to the people in her community of Chesterfield, Nunavut. She has been profiled by national media outlets and recently received an Indspire Award (formerly called the National Aboriginal Achievement Award).
Dr. Kimmaliardjuk is trying to embrace the spotlight but admits the idea of people looking up to her will take some time to get used to. Being regarded as a pioneer among her community while still in the formative years of her career as a heart surgeon can be a difficult position, but she has remained grateful and humble about her accomplishments.
“(Being a role model) is something I am growing into, but I am very honoured by it,” she says. “I am happy to share my story and to be a part of celebrating all Indigenous accomplishments in all different areas of life.”