July's Ontario Medical Student of the Month: Ryhana Dawood

Editor's note: Sorry for the delay in publishing July's post. We were a bit delayed in our correspondences. Hope you enjoy the read nonetheless. 

This month's Ontario Medical Student highlight, Ryhana Dawood from Schulich's 2016 class, was brought to our attention as someone with immense level of involvement and compassion. On top of being a top notch student she is an accomplished martial artist and has been involved in starting an initiative called Protect Her! (note: it is now being rebranded as Martial Smarts). Her classes often see over 50 women and girls in attendance and inspired a short documentary in 2012 Giving Ourselves a Voice series.

She is also active in research and projects in the medical community. Recently, her team of three Schulich Med students tied for 2nd in the AFMC Public Health Learning Tools Challenge with a project looking at improving teaching of public health through use of cases (http://www.afmc.ca/news-whats-new-details-e.php?id=378).

With the recent events in Gaza, Ryhana wrote to parliament and took to social media, but she also decided to take action. She began the The Gaza Envelops Drive (#Envelopes4Gaza) collecting donations along with messages of hope for those in Gaza. She was able to connect with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish who was returning to Gaza and set out collecting donations to send back along with him. The response to the campaign was overwhelming, in the six days the campaign ran she collected 157 envelopes and over $10,000 was donated. Each envelope was labeled with its intended use and most contained heartfelt messages of support and solidarity for those suffering in the conflict. Dr. Abuelaish returned to Gaza on July 22 and distributed the envelopes, each to their intended destination from hospitals and education to food. This campaign is a prime example of advocacy and action, and one that should encourage others to take action and know they can make a difference. Dr. Abuelaish has since made headlines advocating that Canada should take a role treating children injured in the conflict. These efforts are gaining ground and Ontario looks to be moving to bring children over for care. 

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Ryhana is a well-rounded and socially aware student. A great role model and humanitarian who’s work we are happy to highlight.