by Julia Soudat
When she started medical school at the University of Toronto in 2016, Chika Oriuwa didn’t expect to be the only Black student in her class. She also didn’t expect this reality to catapult her into four years of advocacy, speaking engagements and media attention — paving the way for her to be named class valedictorian this year.
“There’s a certain weight that comes along with this title that didn’t really hit me until I fully came to realize and appreciate the gravity of this,” she says. “It’s a big honour and I’m so grateful.”
In her first year of medicine, Oriuwa was the only Black student in her class – a discovery that catapulted her into four years of advocacy, speaking engagements and media attention. “My medical school experience was definitely underscored by my experiences as a woman of colour,” says Oriuwa. “I never thought that when I started medical school, a huge part of my narrative would be wrapped around being an advocate and bringing attention to equity, inclusion and diversity within the curriculum and just within life in general.”