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Vol. 19 No. 1 (2021)

A Medical Student's Perspective on "Fighting for a Hand to Hold"

December 14, 2020


Fighting for a Hand to Hold by Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain is a heartbreaking and compelling read depicting the history of injustices, terror and trauma inflicted upon Indigenous children by the Canadian medical system. As an emergency pediatrician at the McGill University Health Centre and associate professor at McGill University, Dr. Shaheen-Hussain weaves his clinical experiences and long-standing advocacy efforts alongside archival research to shed insight on medical colonialism. This piece is structured in two parts: a book review followed by a personal reflection. It is accompanied by a podcast interview with Dr. Shaheen-Hussain in which he discusses his social justice work, his book, and advocacy advice for students in healthcare. This book review highlights the importance of Fighting for a Hand to Hold as a seminal piece of literature for all healthcare professionals and trainees across Canada. In the personal reflection, the author considers their own experiences with race and racism as a person of colour, settler Canadian, and medical student. This reflection concludes by advocating for more emphasis on Indigenous health in Canadian medical education and practice.


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