Inaugural award recognizes Indigenous health professional student

The inaugural Elaine Kilabuk Inuit and Indigenous Health Professions Student Award was recently awarded to Ève Mailhot-Daye, a fourth year medical student who intends to pursue a career in family medicine working with Indigenous communities.

This new scholarship is intended to help support the training of an Inuk medical student from Nunavut at McGill University; however, the criteria for applicants has been expanded to ensure all Inuk medical or health students can apply, as well as other Indigenous students. The award itself is named after Dr. Elaine Kilabuk, an Inuk medical graduate from Nunavut, currently completing her residency in Internal Medicine.

“I’m really humbled to have received this award,” said Ms. Mailhot-Daye. “I remember meeting Elaine, who was then a fourth year student, and I imagined what it would be like to be in her place becoming a doctor. She has such a positive attitude about everything. Fast-forward a few years and I am now in my fourth year receiving this award. It feels like I’ve come full circle.”

The Indigenous Health Professions Program (IHPP) stress that while some students receive support from their community or band council, it is usually insufficient to address the costs of living and studying in the city. Students with children face additional barriers to health sciences education at McGill.

“I am delighted that Ève is the first recipient of the award and it was wonderful to connect with her in person and hear about her future path,” said Dr. Elaine Kilabuk. “I am in awe of her accomplishments and excited to see her paving her own path while inspiring others and myself, as an Indigenous female physician. I hope this award will provide support and encouragement to current and future Indigenous students.”

For its part, the IHPP team are optimistic that the Kilabuk Award is the first of many new scholarships for Indigenous students to enter the health professions. Offering scholarships dedicated to Indigenous students in health disciplines is one concrete step that can help.

“Our team will continue to advocate for the creation of new scholarships and bursaries so that all Indigenous health professions students have the necessary support to thrive during their studies,” said Dr. Kent Saylor, Director of IHPP.

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