Nadine Rena Caron, surgeon, researcher, mentor, educator, patient advocate, community leader (born 1970 in Kamloops, BC). Nadine Caron was the first female First Nations student to graduate from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. She was also the first female First Nations general surgeon in Canada. For many years, Caron has highlighted the needs and voices of northern, rural and Indigenous populations in Canada.
Nadine Caron is the daughter of an Ojibwe mother and an Italian immigrant father. Her mother is from the Sagamok Anishinaabe First Nation on the north shore of Lake Huron, where she attended residential school and became a schoolteacher. Her father was a mason.
Nadine Caron completed her Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in 1993, followed by her medical degree at the University of British Columbia in 1997. In 2001, during her surgical residency, she received her Masters of Public Health degree from Harvard University. When Caron completed her residency in 2003, she moved to San Francisco. A year later, she completed her postgraduate fellowship training in endocrine surgical oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Did You Know?
In school, Nadine Caron was an outstanding athlete and was recruited as a star basketball player by Simon Fraser University.
Nadine Caron began working at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in January 2005 as a general and endocrine surgeon. She went on to serve in various capacities as an educator, including as assistant professor-surgery at the University of British Columbia Northern Medical Programme, associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, associate faculty at the UBC School of Population and Public Health, and the BC Cancer Agency scientist at the Genome Sciences Centre. Caron is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada.
Caron has served on numerous committees throughout her career, including the BC Ministry of Health Advisory Committee on Provincial Health Goals, the BC Medical Association Committee on Health Promotion, Native Physicians Association of Canada, BC Medical Association Committee on Aboriginal Health and co-director of the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. She has also participated in several national and international presentations on Indigenous health, care in rural and northern locations, cancer care, and health care inequities. Her main areas of interest are Indigenous health and Canadian health policy.
In January 2020, Caron was named the founding First Nations Health Authority Chair in Cancer and Wellness at UBC. This new position, supported by $3 million in funding, was created to improve cancer outcomes and wellness among Indigenous peoples by examining the stories and needs of Indigenous cancer patients and their families.
Caron has contributed to or written various papers for Canadian and international medical publications. She has contributed chapters to various specialized medical anthologies and was co-editor of Rural Surgery – Challenges and Solutions for the Rural Surgeon, published in 2011.
Nadine Caron lives in Prince George, British Columbia, with her husband, Dr. Patrick Turner, and their daughter. She enjoys living in Prince George, which she calls “a wonderful, active community with many opportunities for outdoor activities, including great cross-country skiing.”
Honours and Awards
During her undergraduate years at Simon Fraser University, Nadine Caron won more than 20 major academic awards. In addition, she has received the following honours:
- Shrum Gold Medal, top undergraduate student, Simon Fraser University (1993)
- Awards received from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine (1997): Hamber Medal, Dr. Jay C. Cheng Memorial Medical Education Foundation Prize, Dr. Jack Margulius Memorial Prize, top graduating student in Medicine, MD degree, and best cumulative record in all years of study.
- Dr. John Big Canoe Memorial Scholarship, Canadian Medical Association (1997). Caron was the first recipient of this award.
- “100 Canadians to Watch,” Maclean’s Magazine (1997)
- Outstanding Alumni Award, Simon Fraser University (2011)
- Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (2016)
- “Women of the year: 12 Canadians who rocked 2016,” Chatelaine Magazine
- Wallace Wilson Leadership Award, University of British Columbia Medical Alumni Association (2017)
- Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of the Fraser Valley (2017)
- Honorary Doctor of Science, Simon Fraser University (2019)
- Athletic Hall of Fame, Terry Fox Humanitarian Category, Simon Fraser University (2019)