As a family physician and Indigenous leader, Dr. Darlene Kitty is passionate about mentoring Indigenous people who work in health care.
Dr. Kitty received her medical degree from the University of Ottawa in 2002 and completed her family medicine residency and emergency medicine training in northeastern Ontario. As a Cree woman, Dr. Kitty realized her interests in Indigenous health and rural practice as she started work in 2006 as a family physician in Chisasibi, the largest of nine Cree communities in northern Quebec.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Kitty is President of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists for the Chisasibi region, an advocacy role she greatly values. In recent years she has led that organization’s efforts to provide culturally safe care for Cree patients and their families.
Since 2010 Dr. Kitty has served as Director of the University of Ottawa’s Indigenous Program, which recruits, admits, and supports Indigenous students seeking to become physicians. In addition to teaching about Indigenous health, she has done research; authored or contributed to several articles on Indigenous health; and made presentations at many conferences throughout her career.
Dr. Kitty has been a board member and is a former president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and has served on the national executive of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada. In 2018 the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada presented Dr. Kitty with the May Cohen Equity, Diversity, and Gender Award in recognition of her leadership in building diversity in academic medicine and for raising the profile of Indigenous health.
As Chair of the CFPC Indigenous Health Committee, Dr. Kitty collaborates with her colleagues to advance Indigenous health at the national level. This committee contributes to initiatives, research, and publications relevant to Indigenous communities and aims to educate family physicians and medical trainees.
Dr. Kitty greatly values her clinical, academic, and administrative work, which she says are important avenues of care, teaching, and advocacy to improve Indigenous health and address social issues, including anti-racism efforts and cultural safety, in the spirit of reconciliation.
Calvin L. Gutkin Family Medicine Ambassador Award
The award recognizes a dynamic leader in Canadian family medicine distinguished for their vision, innovation, strong communication skills, and effective relationship building with national and international organizations and working groups that support and positively influence the everchanging role of the family physician and family medicine in Canada.