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Representing N.L.

Physician and rural health-care leader Canada's latest senator

Campus and Community

By Michelle Osmond

One of Memorial University’s most prominent faculty members has been appointed as an independent senator with the Government of Canada.

Dr. Mohamed Ravalia is an associate professor of family medicine and assistant dean of the Faculty of Medicine’s Rural Medical Education Network (RMEN). He’s based at the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre in Twillingate, N.L., where he’s been for more than 30 years.

A man is sworn in as Senator while another Senator looks on
Dr. Mohamed Ravalia is sworn in as one of Canada’s latest senators on June 4, 2018.
Photo: Submitted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Senate appointment on June 1 after a recommendation from the independent advisory board for Senate appointments to fill a vacancy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

From Africa to N.L.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dr. Ravalia came to Twillingate more than three decades ago following postgraduate training in the U.K.

Since then, his contributions to rural medicine have earned him numerous accolades, including the Canadian Family Physician of the Year Award (2012), the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2016) and the Order of Canada (2016) — all for his contributions to rural medicine in Newfoundland and Labrador as a family physician, mentor and community leader.

Man stands outside with ocean and community in background
Senator Mohamed Ravalia is a physician based in Twillingate, N.L.
Photo: HSIMS

When Dr. Ravalia received the Order of Canada, he stated that he was “proud of the contributions I have been able to make for the town of Twillingate and all of the rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. As an immigrant to this wonderful country, I feel a profound sense of gratitude for the sense of fairness and equality that Canada affords all its citizens.

“My wife, Dianne, and my sons, Adam and Mikhail, have been the anchors of my life,” he continued. “I have had wonderful mentors and colleagues who have helped shape my work in rural medicine over the past 30 years. My community has provided a solid, secure foundation from which I have had the opportunity to practise my craft in a harmonious and supportive environment.”

Dr. Ravalia also said that his involvement with Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine and the privilege of teaching students and residents has been one of the highlights of his medical career.

Community leader

Dr. Margaret Steele, dean, Faculty of Medicine, said that Dr. Ravalia’s “unparalleled reputation as a community leader was a major factor in this decision. His dedication to the health of the people he serves is admirable, as well as his numerous accolades over the years which have further instilled peoples’ faith in him.

“He has already proven that he’s a wonderful ambassador for Newfoundland and Labrador,” she added, “especially for our rural communities, and will use this opportunity to further promote the causes of these communities. We are very proud of him.”

Dr. Ravalia holds a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery from the University of Rhodesia, in present-day Zimbabwe. His appointment marks 34 appointments to the Senate made on the advice of Prime Minister Trudeau.

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