Book Club

**Book club is only open to students, residents, faculty and staff of USASK Health Sciences departments and Saskatchewan Health Authority staff**

February 22 1230 -130PM

February 27 1230 -130PM


For Black History Month we are reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

 Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

 #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Entertainment Weekly • O: The Oprah Magazine • NPR • Financial Times • New York • Independent (U.K.) • Times (U.K.) • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • Globe and Mail

 We have 10 copies of the book for the first 10 people that sign up to one of our book club sessions on Feb 22nd from 12-1pm or February 27th from 12-1pm.

Want to know more about book club? Last academic year we read 1,536 pages across 5 books, watched one documentary and listened to one podcast. We hosted discussions with 50 attendees, which included faculty, staff and students and even Dean Smith! A recent survey of book club attendees revealed:

  • 100% agreed they had adequate opportunity to share their views and/or ask questions
  • 100% agreed the facilitator created a comfortable space that allowed them to share their experiences, views or ask questions
  • 85% agreed they learned more about the topic then they would have from reading the book on their own
  • 92% agreed they would attend more book club sessions if offered

 If you are staff, faculty or student from a USASK Health Sciences department, please register here for one or both book club sessions.



Black Mental Health Histories & Futures with Dr. Samra Sahlu

February 29 1230-130PM

Register here

Dr. Sahlu is an adult psychiatrist who splits her time between Saskatchewan and Tkaronto. She was born and raised in Treaty 4 Territory, and is a proud graduate of St. Augustine Community School in Regina. She completed her medical school and residency training in psychiatry at the U of S, and was honoured with an award for her advocacy efforts during training. She completed the Diversity Leadership Fellowship through the American Psychiatric Association based in Washington, DC, where she served on the Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities. She is currently working with a small group from the Council on a short documentary about the legacy of Black psychiatrists from the sixties. She has practiced psychiatry in hospital, outpatient, ER, and corrections settings, and her professional interests include advocacy, mentorship, cultural psychiatry, transgender/ gender diverse care, community engagement, and collaboration with the arts. She is proud to be part of the SAPACCY (Substance Use Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth) team at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)  and the Mobile Crisis Team supported by TAIBU CHC in Scarborough. She commutes back to Saskatchewan to provide gender-affirming psychiatric care. 

Past Webinars

Please note this presentation was not recorded

For more info: https://www.schizophrenia.sk.ca/

Challenging Mental Health Stigma: The Schizophrenia Society's Partnership Program

Presenters: Madhu Acharya, Lexi Rowsell, and Dr. Tamara Hinz from the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan Partnership Program.

The Health Equity Webinar Series returned with a focus on mental health. We hosted three speakers from The Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan's Partnership Program.

The Partnership Program is a stigma busting initiative meant to challenge stigma and increase public awareness. Their speakers with lived experience shared stories of recovery from schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety, and depression while providing information on how to seek treatment and services. The speakers with lived experience were joined by a healthcare professional providing resources and clinical information.

The Partnership Program speakers are “stigma busters” working hard to put forth a positive face for recovery in the community. 

A Healthy Future: Lessons from the Frontlines of a Crisis
Dr. Ryan Meili in conversation with Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine

Dr. Ryan Meili is a family physician in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who is passionate about health equity and healthy public policy. He has practiced medicine in rural and Northern Saskatchewan, inner-city Saskatoon, and rural Mozambique. Dr. Meili put his belief in politics as "medicine on a larger scale" into action by running for Member of the Legislative Assembly and serving as Leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party and Leader of the Official Opposition in Saskatchewan from 2018-2022. He is the author of the best-selling book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy

Filled with moving stories of how COVID changed people’s lives, his new book, A Healthy Future: Lessons from the Frontlines of a Crisis, is a deeply humane account of the pandemic that draws on his unique experience as a doctor in politics. A Healthy Future reveals how COVID exposed and made worse problems in health care, elder care, education, and social supports – and details how we can do better.   

Ryan lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Dr. Mahli Brindamour, and their two sons, Abe and Gus. 

Racism: Stories, Codes, and the Myth of Neutrality with Dr. Raven Sinclair

A powerful speaker and skilled facilitator, Raven Sinclair is one of Canada’s most sought after experts on the ‘60s Scoop’ era, and federally appointed Expert Adviser to the Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation. As Director and Executive Producer of the Film ‘Truth to be Told’, Dr. Raven Sinclair uncovers the atrocious facts of this period in Canadian history. As an author, Raven is creating effective and respectful methods of working with diverse populations specifically Indigenous peoples. As Professor of Social Work and Researcher, this Nehiyaw-Cree Champion of George Gordon First Nation is transforming misconceptions regarding diversity and identity. A survivor of the Canadian child welfare system, in an era referred to as the ‘60s Scoop’, Raven was adopted and raised in a white Anglo-Saxon protestant family. As a young adult, she reconnected with her Cree/Nehiyaw community and reunited with her birth family at the age of 27. Raven acknowledges being Two-Spirit as a core spiritual aspect of her identity and the primary reason that she has had such diverse life experiences. Her work and interests are directed by Nehiyaw spiritual laws and she is working on strategies for the reintegration and recognition of the traditional role of two-spirit people into the sacred hoop of Indigenous communities. Her areas of expertise and interest include Indigenous social work, Indigenous health research and ethics, Indigenous child welfare and youth issues, Indigenous transracial adoption and cultural identity, interpersonal communications, lateral violence intervention, trauma and recovery, and group process and facilitation. She is passionate about Indigenous issues as well as intergenerational healing modalities.

Sexual and reproductive health has a long history of oppression and discrimination towards people of color. High quality health interventions must be aware of, and responsive to this history in order to be effective. In this presentation you’ll learn about the history of medical racism, sexual and reproductive health, discuss contemporary concerns, and help imagine a future that is free from medical marginalization.

Guest speaker: Delilah Kamuhanda

Delilah is a Ugandan-American, born and raised in Piscataway Territory which is now known as Maryland and Washington DC. They have a BA&Sc in Health Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. Their experiences in and outside of academia led them to pursue a career in health education. She's worked on projects for environmental health and its impact on maternal and infant health, as well as the impacts of racism on health. She is the Education & Outreach Coordinator at Saskatoon Sexual Health. Her approach to sexual health is sex-positive, queer-inclusive, and anti-oppressive. When they are not talking about sex ed, they're an anti-rocist educator, the founder of Black Lives Matter YXE and a radio co-host. Delilah lives and works in Treaty 6 Territory.

In Canadian society our approach to health and wellness has historically centred Western or Eurocentric worldviews, which have traditionally been focused on illness and disease. In an effort to understand health as a more holistic experience, the World Health Organization has defined health as “a state of complete, physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

This shift in focus from illness to wellness is central to many non-Western worldviews, and is prominent in Indigenous approaches to health across Canada. While these approaches may differ from one nation to the next, they all share a common earth-centred worldview, deep understanding of interconnection, and a relationship with the land.

As our understanding of health and wellness expands, these approaches provide the wisdom and connectedness that contemporary medicine is beginning to embrace. Join us on April 20th to learn more about Indigenous Health from Dr. Janet Tootoosis, Vice-Dean of Indigenous Health.

On March 8th of every year we recognize International Women’s Day. This global celebration is an opportunity to celebrate women, but also an opportunity to reflect on the impact of gender for those who are marginalized by it. In the pursuit of health equity, gender is a critical influence that impacts not only individual but also community health. Did you know that across more than 770 different diseases women are diagnosed on average 2.5 later than men? These disparities have adverse impacts on the lives of millions and will require novel approaches and innovative solutions to be addressed. The Royal University Hospital Foundation’s Women Leading Philanthropy Program is one program leading the way in pursuit of health equity. Join us on March 24th to hear from Dr. Mary Kinloch, co-founder of Women Leading Philanthropy.

Panelist: Dr. Mary Kinloch from Women Leading Philanthropy

Dr. Kinloch is a practicing pathologist in gynecologic and molecular pathology for the Saskatchewan Health Authority on Treaty 6 territory. She is the division head of Anatomic Pathology in Saskatoon and a clinical associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Kinloch’s main goal is to provide cancer biomarker equity to the province of Saskatchewan and uses her experience in quality improvement to ensure everyone has access to the most up-to-date information when it comes to their health.

Her work with Women Leading Philanthropy with the Royal University Hospital Foundation as a volunteer chair has raised over $600,000 for female-led projects that have transformed the patient experience at RUH.

Panelist: Dr. Hadal El-Hadi from Black Physicians of Canada

Dr. Hadal El-Hadi is a resident of University of British Columbia’s Public Health and Preventative Medicine Residency Program. She is a graduate from the College of Medicine, receiving her MD from the University of Saskatchewan in 2015. Hadal strongly believes in the importance of educating and motivating people into taking notice of injustices and working as a team to improve the lives of those around us. One of the biggest reasons she pursued medicine as a career was because she wanted to be part of a collective that helps children and adults in Canada and globally have a fighting chance to be happy. She recognizes, that given the history and nature of anti-Black racism in Canada and around the world, eradication would be very difficult to achieve. She is also a founder of Black Physicians of Canada. Her hopes for this organization is to have the best interest of Black Canadians at heart and as a fundamental priority create changes to the current system where she can and provide safety nets where she can’t.

In the summer of 2020, the world watched as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum following the murder of George Floyd. The impacts of systemic racism began to permeate conversations from the classroom, to the clinic, to the kitchen table. Collective calls for action began to swell, spurring on a historic conversation about anti-Black racism. Dr. Hadal El-Hadi is an alumna of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine and the co-founder of Black Physician’s of Canada. Join us on February 17th as we learn more about Black Physician’s of Canada and how they are building community for Black physician’s and answering calls for a more just and equitable future.


Dr. Sarah Strasser – Emeritus Professor of Rural Health University of Waikato, New Zealand

Dr. Roger Strasser – Emeritus Professor of Rural Health University of Waikato, New Zealand Founding Dean Emeritus Northern Ontario School of Medicine

This month the Division of Social Accountability directs its attention to rural and remote health. In April of 2022, the DSA office spent time in consultation with community partners and heard that the lack of services in rural and remote areas continues to have an adverse impact on their services and on the lives of the people they serve. In our province, where half of our population lives outside of large urban centre, the impacts of these health inequities continues to grow. How do we train physicians that can contribute to policy decisions that advance health equity in our province? The DSA believes that it is through genuine engagement with community stakeholders and advocates, and leveraging the concerns of faculty, students, and staff that we can respond to the complex challenges of being a socially accountable organization in a province with rapidly changing needs.  Join us for our Health Equity Webinar Series on January 27th where we hear from Dr. Sarah Strasser, Emeritus Professor of Rural Health University of Waikato, New Zealand and Dr. Roger Strasser, Emeritus Professor of Rural Health University of Waikato, New Zealand and Founding Dean Emeritus Northern Ontario School of Medicine where they will share their extensive experience using community engagement to build a fit-for-purpose rural workforce.

September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Ahead of this important date, The Division of Social Accountability will centre our monthly health equity conversation around reconciliation, and more specifically individual responsibilities and actions. This month our webinar features a panel of three USASK community members who have made active contributions towards reconciliation. Join us as we discuss lessons learned, and ways we can all contribute to this critical work.

Panelists Lynette Epp, Dr. Gary Groot, Sharissa Hantke

The Division of Social Accountability & OUTSaskatoon present Queer Perspectives in Healthcare with panelists Dr. Stéphanie Madill – USASK School of Rehab Science, Jemma Martens – Peer Navigator OUT Saskatoon & Jordy Ironstar – Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN).

The Time is Now: Harm Reduction Community Driven Initiatives 

Watch our Health Equity Webinar where we  heard from community initiatives for housing from Prairie Harm Reduction, the Blank Book Project by chokecherry youth, and the advocacy of our Students for Harm Reduction and Informed Policy.

Download Chokecherry’s Youth Blank Book Project:

Reaching for Health Equity: Immigrant and refugee health

Join our panelists from the Refugee Engagement and Community Health (REACH) Clinic and USASK College of Medicine to discuss immigrant and refugee health here in Saskatchewan. Everyone is welcome!

Dr. Karen Leis – REACH Physician
Dr. Jacelyn Hanson – REACH Physician
Adrian Teare – USASK Medical Student
Rosario Hernandez Barba – USASK Medical Student

We Are Not There Yet: Persisting Gender-Based Inequities in Medicine

Want to learn more about the intersections of gender and health equity? Join medical students from GEM (Gender Equity in Medicine student group) and members of SASS (Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan) for a discussion about gender-based inequities in healthcare.

Natalya Mason (OUT Saskatoon, Sexual Health Clinic)
Eunice Abudu (Faculty, SaskPoly)
Jacob Alhassan (Faculty, U of S)
Edith Conacher (Student Affairs CoM, U of S)

This panel will discuss experiences of anti-Black racism in healthcare from the perspective of practitioners, students, teachers, patients, connecting how the level of interpersonal racism (individual experiences) is connected to the systemic level (long standing collective anti-Black narratives, sentiment, and policy in SK), and paying attention to how tthe intersectionality of Black identities shapes those experiences of interacting with systems of white supremacy.

Medical students Sehjal Bhargava, Nathan Fortin, Brooklyn Rawlyk and Vancouver family physician Dr. Melissa Lem discuss climate change, it’s intersectional impacts on health, how to cope with its effects as healthcare professionals, and the role they play in fighting the climate crisis.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared sanitation a universal human right. This means everyone, without discrimination is entitled to “have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and social and culturally acceptable, and that provides privacy and dignity”.  Everyone, everywhere, has the right to a toilet. Our governments should be accountable to ensure this basic need of having a place to relieve oneself is available to the public.

During the beginning of the COVID response, Saskatoon went more than 100 days without access to public washrooms. This impacted everyone who relies on access to publicly accessible washrooms including City of Saskatoon transit drivers, delivery drivers, utility workers, gas and electric service workers, people doing street repair, local pedestrians, citizens young and old; and people who use park systems are all users of public washrooms. It is especially critical for seniors, pregnant women, little children, those with some medical conditions, and those who are homeless.

As a result of this lesson – the Saskatoon Interagency Response to COVID escalated a conversation with the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Public Washroom Advisory Committee was formed. For more info about the committee: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NBGMJqGlW0Yf0goAcrT7HqoEB_Zjc5j1/view?usp=sharing

How do we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and create public policies that address the root causes of poverty and inequity?

How can we learn from this crisis and show Saskatchewan that poverty is an urgent public health crisis?

This Health Equity Webinar features Colleen Christopherson-Cote from the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership (SPRP) discussing the updated report, “12 Bold Ideas to Eliminate Poverty: Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Dr. Rachel Gough and Saskatoon Sexual Health Representatives Heather Hale, Executive Director and Lauren Tastad, Nurse Practitioner discuss defending reproductive rights in Saskatchewan

Global Health Conference