Youth Recipient (2021)
“Having Indigenous professionals in healthcare will not only provide patients with a healthcare provider that is more likely to understand and appreciate their cultural and spiritual beliefs in relation to their care, but it will hopefully also help to promote a tolerant and accepting system where upcoming Indigenous students can visualize themselves working.”
At only twenty-six years old, Mitchell MacDougall is an inspirational role model who knows the importance of building community – both literally and figuratively. Growing up in remote Indigenous communities in northern Alberta and Labrador gave him the desire to strengthen supports for Inuit youth by serving Inuit populations after graduation. While building homes in Natuashish for a summer during his undergraduate degree, he saw the urgent need for appropriate supports to deal with underlying social issues stemming from the legacy of residential schools and forced relocation. During university, Mitchell changed his focus from aerospace engineering to biology to pursue a career in medicine. This decision came to be as a result of living in many remote communities and noticing the limited access to healthcare and the negative effects. He has received numerous accolades during his academic career and, after graduating from the University of Toronto’s Medical School in 2020, is getting ready to employ his newfound knowledge and skills in the pursuit of better health care – and better health equity – for Indigenous people.