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Nigerian pediatric surgeon makes history in Canada

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NIGERIA-BORN Tito Daodu has been recognised by the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) as the first black woman pediatric surgeon practising in Canada.

In a tweet to mark the Black History Month celebrated every February, @APSASurgeons wrote: “Dr. @TitoDaodu was born in Nigeria. She is the 1st black woman #pedsurg practicing in Canada @ACHFKids. She believes that by helping the worst off or those with the least access, she does a service to the entire system.”

Daodu was born in Nigeria and emigrated permanently to Canada when she was eight, after first being deported. She grew up in a rough neighbourhood in Winnipeg’s inner city and found early mentors at West Broadway Youth Outreach, a local drop-in centre for kids, which spurred her to become a voice for children and youths.

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“I was challenged by the inequality I saw and experienced, especially with regard to safety, security and health. As I looked around at many of my peers, I discovered that the level of safety and security that I felt was not universal –in fact, far from it,” she said. 

Daodu later attended medical school at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete her residency and fellowship in Calgary. As a medical student, she co-developed a project in Tanzania focused on adolescent gender and reproductive health. Daodu spent her summers researching childhood pneumonia in Nigeria, and more recently launched a surgical needs assessment for the country. 

Currently completing a master’s of public health at Harvard University, Daodu is part of a team led by Dr. Mary Brindle working to revise the safe surgery checklist for high-income countries around the world. She has amassed a long list of peer-reviewed publications and awards on topics including colorectal surgery, pediatric trauma and global health.

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She has a passion for Global Health and promoting justice and equity in medicine. She is actively involved in Global and Public Health Research, focusing on improving surgical outcomes and making surgical care more equitable and accessible in Canada and around the world. 

In Calgary, her research is focused on the effect of socioeconomic status on surgical outcomes and access to care. She was recognised in 2019 by AvenueCalgary magazine as one of the top 40 people under the age of 40 doing great things, for her contributions to humanity. 

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