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Dal Med alum shares passion for building community through volunteerism

Dr. Angela Ridi (MD’03) is a practicing anesthesiologist in St. John’s, N.L. She also finds purpose in volunteering, whether it’s with Dalhousie’s Alumni Association, the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society or her children’s school.

Posted: February 27, 2024

By: Emily MacKinnon

A white woman with shoulder-length brown hair smiles at the camera.

Medical school wasn’t a foregone conclusion for Dr. Angela Ridi (MD’03). Dr. Ridi says she “hedged her bets” during her undergraduate degree at McGill University by majoring in biochemistry and minoring in finance.

Born and raised in Cape Breton, Dr. Ridi always felt like Halifax was her second home and she had a strong connection to Dalhousie. Whether it was to earn an MBA or an MD, Dr. Ridi knew she wanted to attend Dal to pursue graduate studies. In the end, she decided on medicine.

These days, Dr. Ridi is a practicing clinician in St. John’s, NL. She sits on the board of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society and also undertakes teaching through Memorial University’s medical school.

Dr. Ridi, who is affiliated with several postsecondary institutions, says Dal is the one she feels most strongly connected to. “I've attended many post-secondary institutions around the world, from Cape Breton to France, Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland...but my connection is with Dalhousie,” she says, adding that she’s kept up by reading the medical school alumni magazine and Dal emails.

Joining the Dalhousie Alumni Association

When one of those emails included a call for new members to join the board Dalhousie Alumni Association (DAA), Dr. Ridi thought it was a good chance to give back. Members of the DAA assist in promoting alumni engagement worldwide through public speaking, professional work and outreach.

She joined in fall 2023, and says so far, she is most enjoying learning how an institution runs from an operational point of view. “I was only ever familiar with on being on the other side, being a student and then being an alum,” she says. “I have found it really interesting to see how organizations work and and [meet] the people behind these organizations and [see] the work they do.”

Part of that work involves reviewing nomination packages for Dalhousie’s flagship alumni awards, the Aurum Awards. Dr. Ridi sat on this year’s selection committee and was impressed by the alumni put forward for consideration.

“To see the nominees and the amazing work Dalhousie alumni are doing at home and on a world stage is really inspiring,” she says.

Teamwork and building community

The DAA is not Dr. Ridi’s only volunteer experience: before university she volunteered with Girl Guides Canada and during medical school she got involved with the Canadian Federation of Medical Women. She has been involved with the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society since 2014, becoming the provincial representative for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016.

Dr. Ridi is also a board member at her children’s school, where she was chair of a committee that was tasked with creating a back-to-school plan during the pandemic. She found the work a great exercise in connection, and says it was extremely rewarding. “It makes life worthwhile in terms of being in touch with your children's school, and not just my children, but the community of children that are there, and getting to know the teachers.”

As in her professional work, Dr. Ridi’s volunteer experience marries her interest in thinking and doing. “From a management point of view, but also from a scientific or advocacy point of view...I really enjoy it,” she says.

She is quick to point out that teamwork is foundational to her professional and personal success. She credits her supportive partner for helping her balance a hectic schedule in a demanding profession with her passion for volunteer work, all on top of parenting. “It’s a real team effort,” she says.