Kayode Adesina is one of the 12 student recipients of last year's Medical Student Awards Fund in the College of Medicine at USask.

Pioneer for black medical students wants to make the world a better place

Thanks to donor support, Oluwakayode (Kayode) Adesina is next-in-line to becoming a healthcare hero, and has also been part of the inaugural executive council of the Black Medical Student Association in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

Second-year medical student Kayode Adesina was only ten years old when he and his family moved to Canada from Nigeria. At an early age, he was thrilled to experience his new country’s many different cultures and advantages such as ample healthcare.

“When I first came to Canada, I was amazed with its free healthcare. That was mind-boggling to me because we didn’t have that kind of access in Nigeria,” he said.

“The fact that everyone—no matter where you’re from, your status in life or ethnicity—has access to universal healthcare is amazing, and something I took incredible pride in as a new Canadian.”

Later on, Adesina’s fascination towards Canada’s universal healthcare gravitated him to becoming a health professional in the future. He knew that achieving higher education would be his stepping stone to reaching his dream. After graduating from high school, he pursued the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to study in the College of Pharmacy.

In his second year, Adesina was admitted to the College of Medicine at USask and received an entrance bursary through the Medical Student Awards Fund. Thanks to alumni and campus community, $66,000 was allocated last year towards supporting the education of 12 USask medical students who are in high financial need, including Adesina.

With the help of his bursary, Adesina was able to pay for his tuition this semester and other medical school expenses. He is incredibly grateful for the support he received.

“I’m thankful for the long-time commitment of the donor community in supporting medical students like myself. The financial aid I received is allowing me to focus on academics and taking part in campus initiatives,” he said.

Adesina is now much more confident in achieving his medical degree because of donors who believe in students like him. Not only is he able to perform well in his studies, but he's also one of the co-president of the Health Sciences Students' Association (HSSA) at the University. He works with students from other health science colleges to facilitate interprofessional collaboration and learning.

Additionally, he's also making a difference by helping to run the Black Medical Student Association in the College of Medicine. Last February, USask medical students created the student organization to encourage more black students to study in the college.

Other universities in Canada are also running a Black Medical Student Association (BMSAC). The BMSAC is a collective project by black medical students across the seventeen Canadian medical schools to better understand (and objectively quantify) the barriers students of colour face both entering and within medicine and the effects of poor representation on patient outcomes.

“Our team personally felt that there is a lack of black representation in the College of Medicine,” he noted. “We want to leave a blueprint for other students that they can also have the opportunity to receive high-quality education and become physicians one day.”

Although the USask chapter is still new, the team has already been busy recruiting members and interacting with other students on social media. Adesina is one of the event coordinators of the group who have also been busy planning events and virtual meetings. “I’m very happy to be a part of this new-founded organization and stand as a pioneer for future black medical students.”

Adesina continues to do his best in academics and community to fulfill his long-time goal—to make the world a better place. “Ever since I was a kid, I want to make the world a better place, better than the way the first time I witnessed it,” he said. “Becoming a physician one day will help me get to that goal and truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

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