Black Lives, Black Voices and Black Identities in the Faculty of Medicine

To commemorate Black History Month and as part of REDI’s commitment to amplifying IBPOC voices, we invite you to join our panel “Black lives, Black voices and Black identities in the Faculty of Medicine” on Friday, February 17th, 2023, from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (PST).

This virtual event is part of the IBPOC Voices, a new monthly series led by Dr. Neila Miled the anti-racism Advisor.

IBPOC Voices is an opportunity to meet and have a conversation with guests who identify as Indigenous, Black and people of color. This series centers IBPOC experiences and knowledge, and highlights how they navigate the different challenges and how they engage with equity, diversity and inclusion. It is also a space where guests talk about their vision of an equitable and just environment. This series is an opportunity to open spaces where we know each other more and create a sense of community because “We are fully dependent on each other for the possibility of being understood and without this understanding we are not intelligible, we do not make sense, we are not solid, visible, integrated; we are lacking. So, travelling to each other’s “worlds” would enable us to be through loving each other” (Maria Lugones)

Panelists’ Bios

Donneil McNab, Black Student Initiatives Manager, MD Undergraduate Program and Admissions

Donneil McNab (she/her) is a Black settler from Jamaica who is currently the Black Student Initiatives Manager in the MD Undergraduate Program. She is passionate about providing specialized support for racialized students at the postsecondary level and was drawn to working in the equity, diversity, and inclusion sphere based on her own experiences with discrimination as well as those of her peers, family members and the students she supports. Donneil has been collaborating with relevant stakeholders to address systemic barriers that impede development and access in education and other sectors. Her focus has also been to build communities among equity-deserving groups by creating and sustaining safe and inclusive platforms for intersectional storytelling. 

Dr. Tatiana Sotindjo, Adolescent Medicine Specialist BCCH and Hudson Equity Diversity and Inclusion Scholar in the Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Tatiana Sotindjo, Adolescent Medicine Specialist BCCH and Hudson Equity Diversity and Inclusion Scholar in the Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Tatiana Sotindjo is currently part of the pediatric care team at the Provincial HIV care program and consultant Adolescent Medicine Specialist at BC Children’s Youth Health Clinic. She was appointed as inaugural Hudson Scholar for Equity Diversity and Inclusion for the UBC Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Tatiana Sotindjo is an exemplary leader in equity, diversity and inclusion, and in her clinical work in pediatric HIV care and addictions care. As the Hudson, ‘Scholar for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion she has been a leader, a mentor and an inspiration to residents and fellows from pediatrics, infectious diseases, medical microbiology and adolescent medicine. She advocates tirelessly for patients and staff facing racism and discrimination; she constantly challenges us to do better and never accepted the status quo as sufficient – as such, those around her have all been raised to a higher bar because of her impact and influence.

Dr. Felix Durity, Professor Emeritus and past Head of the Division of Neurosurgery

Dr. Felix Durity, Professor Emeritus, UBC Department of Surgery and Head Emeritus, UBC Division of Neurosurgery, 1990 – 2002

Honorary Doctorate (D. LItt), Corpus Christi and St. Mark’s College, UBC Campus.

Born in Trinidad, West Indies, he came to UBC in 1956 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1958 on the Dean’s Honor list of the 5 top graduates. Graduated at UBC MD class of 1963 and in 1966 became the first neurosurgical trainee at UBC and in Western Canada. Qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgery, Canada (FRCSC) in Neurosurgery in 1969. Joined the full-time UBC Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery, academic staff in 1974 and became Professor and Head of Neurosurgery, UBC 1990 – 2002. He was a founding member of the Trauma Association of Canada, dedicated to improving trauma to head and spine. He established Centers of Excellence in BC Neurosurgery and initiated fundamental critical aspects of head injury in Canada. He helped a Neurosurgical Centre in Ghana, West Africa. For these efforts, local and abroad, he was awarded the Order of BC, the province’s highest civilian award.  

 Retired from neurosurgical practice in 2005, he has remained very active in several Social Justice causes in Africa and BC and elsewhere and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his work.

 Now also a proud member of the Black Physicians of BC and working with the Faculty’s Development Office in its EDI goals of addressing under-representation in the Faculty at all levels of the IBPOC group but with an emphasis on the Black Community

Dr. Michael Schwandt, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health, Assistant Clinical Professor School of Population and Public Health

Dr. Michael Schwandt is a specialist physician in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. He practices as a Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Schwandt works with health system and government partners, NGOs and community members to control communicable diseases, protect communities from environmental hazards, and promote health at the population level. Through his practice, teaching and research, he aims to promote action for antiracism and equity in public health. Dr. Schwandt is a proud descendant of emancipated Trinidadian and Barbadian people.

Gbolahan Olarewaju, MD Candidate 2023

Gbolahan is a 4th year medical student at the University of British Columbia and was inaugural Chair of the Black Medical Students Association of Canada (BMSAC). He hails from Nigeria and immigrated to Canada for university. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Guelph in Biomedical Science (BSc) and Human Health and Nutritional Science (MSc). As a queer Black immigrant, he has a keen interest in health access and equity for marginalized people including youth, immigrants, queer, Black, Indigenous and other people of color. Prior to medical school, this interest was cultivated into interdisciplinary advocacy and research work as the Coordinator of International, Multi-Faith and Refugee programs at the University of Guelph, and as the Vancouver coordinator for the national gay, bisexual and queer men’s health study Engage. While completing his medical education, he continues his advocacy work on various EDI advisory groups for the Faculty of Medicine, as chair of the BMSAC Research Committee and as the undergraduate rep for the Black Physicians of BC.



Dr. Neila Miled – Anti-Racism Advisor


Black History Month 2023: Experience and Identity

Since 1995 Canada has celebrated Black History month to focus on recognizing the daily contributions of Black Canadians in shaping Canada’s identity. An interesting question to consider is how being Black has shaped the identity and experience of Black people in our Faculty as they strive for meaningful engagement and belonging.

This year on February 17th, the Faculty of Medicine is honoured to host a panel discussion that will provide a space for an important conversation about the experiences of Black members of the Faculty and the challenges they face to find belonging. Our discussion recognizes that there is no single “Black Experience” that can explain identity development for all Black men and women.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Neila Miled, Anti-racism Advisor in the office Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. This event is part of REDI’s monthly series, IBPOC Voices, hosted by Dr. Miled and broadcast across the Faculty. This series features conversations with IBPOC members of the Faculty to both highlight and promote diversity in our community.

Dr. Miled will invite panelists to reflect on their Black identity and how this has shaped their personal narrative – their education journey, work experiences and sense of belonging. A question and answer period will provide an opportunity to explore the ways non-Black members of our community can work in solidarity and allyship to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment for everyone working and learning in our community.

Topic: Black lives, Black voices and Black identities in the Faculty of Medicine

Date: Friday, February 17th, 2023

Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm PST

What Will I Learn?

You will learn more about IBPOC experiences and knowledge, and how IBPOC navigate the different challenges and engage with equity, diversity and inclusion.