In Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s eastern most province, Dr. Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia is known as a Come From Away. It is a term of endearment given to the newest immigrants to the province, the last to enter the Confederation of Canada in 1949. Dr. Ravalia is among the new face of brown and black people who call Canada home. He is among the 35 percent of the province's doctors who are immigrants, mostly from countries considered part of the Global South. You see, Dr. Ravalia is an immigrant from Zimbabwe who immigrated to Canada in 1984 to flee civil unrest.
But his story is no different than the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who first came to Canada centuries ago. Like those before him, Dr. Ravalia became an active member of his community. He worked throughout his career to reach marginalized peoples and communities and has made a major contribution to rural medicine – an area of work that most foreign-born and Canadian-born doctors steer away from. In fact, about half the foreign-born doctors stay in rural communities just long enough to earn their Canadian credentials, then they move to the cities where jobs in medicine pay better and have more perks.
Dr. Ravalia is unique in many ways. He is a family physician who has been taking care of the people of the small outport of Twillingate, Newfoundland for 34 years. He has a wealth of experience in health policy. He is an associate professor of family medicine and the assistant dean of Rural Medical Education Network at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2004, he was named the Canadian Family Physician of the Year by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. His years of dedicating his life to the well-being of others and educating the next generation of doctors earned him the Order of Canada in 2015. And, in 2012, the doctor was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
In June 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Dr. Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia as a Senator representing Newfoundland and Labrador. This is Canada.