The Project Team working on Breast Cancer and Communities of African Descent in the Atlantic

October 18, 2023

In 2021, Drs. OmiSoore Dryden, Barbara Hamilton-Hinch and Gaynor Watson-Creed were funded by the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation for the research project Breast Cancer and Communities of African Descent in the Atlantic (BC-CAD-A).

This project understands that there are unrecognized and undocumented disparities in breast cancer prevalence amongst Black people in the Atlantic. In particular, this project, focuses on identifying the prevalence of breast cancer among Black women and Black populations in the Atlantic using an intersectional lens that recognizes the experiences of diverse Black communities - women, men, gender-conforming, and LGTBQ+ folx. We will examine how sex and gender intersect with race, culture, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender identity, income, disability, age, and other social and structural determinants of health that impact Breast cancer screening and treatment in the Atlantic, and testing the efficacy of the “Afrocentric screening protocols” for Black women and populations in the Atlantic.

Meet the team working on this research!

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Kate Ash-Mckesey (she/her), BSc Health Promotion, Project Manager

Kate Ash-Mckesey is a Dalhousie University (Honour’s BSc, Health Promotion, 20222) alumni. During her degree she researched the impact of COVID-19 on Black Children and Youth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally from Ottawa, she moved to Nova Scotia for university, and has African Nova Scotian heritage with family from Upper Big Tracadie, Antigonish. She now works for Dalhousie’s Student Health and Wellness Centre as a Health Promotion Coordinator and will bring her knowledge into the position of Project Manager, Breast Cancer Communities of African Descent in the Atlantic.

Kate is passionate about health and well-being as her mentors have instilled in her that "our health is our wealth." She works with the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC) and the Nova Scotia Community Alliance on their missions to promote the health of Black Nova Scotians through community mobilization, development, and research. Kate recently worked on projects to collect the first race-based health data in Canada and the production of an animated YouTube series on Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Illnesses (STBBIs).


Fikayo Kayode (she/her), BA Political Science, Project Manager

Along with working as a project manager for the BCCAD project, Fikayo Kayode (she/her) is also working in the role of Health Promotion Coordinator with Student Health and Wellness at Dalhousie University. She began this role shortly after she graduated from Acadia University with a BA in Political Science earlier in May 2022.

With a background in politics and health, Fikayo is interested in learning and working on how Black people interact with and navigate systems around them that are necessary for wellbeing as well as improving the structural determinants of health responsible for Black folks’ health outcomes.

Fikayo is originally from Abuja, Nigeria, but has called a few other places home. Living within and outside of Nigeria for several years gave her the lived experience as a Black woman navigating the dynamics of race and womanhood in different spaces. This partly informed her work as Black Students ‘Association (BSA) President during her time at Acadia University and all other race-related initiatives she is currently part of.

When not working, Fikayo enjoys spending time reading or writing at cafes, at te gym or taking a walk. Fikayo can be reached at or at 902-399-4481


Kianna Mahmoud (she/her), BSc Neuroscience, MD(c), Research Assistant

Kianna Mahmoud is a mixed-raced African American woman who spent most of her childhood years in Ottawa. She holds a B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Mental Health from Carleton University, graduating in 2021, and is currently pursuing a medical degree at Dalhousie University, with an expected MD graduation in 2025.

With a passion for research, Kianna has valuable experience in the field. In 2019, she worked at the National Research Council in human health therapeutics. From 2020 to 2021, she served as a Youth Consultant at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Hospital, working on two notable projects. The first project involved a community-based research study focused on primary substance use prevention strategies, while the second centered around creating a framework for youth peer support workers in various organizations located in Toronto.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Kianna actively engages in extracurricular activities. Since 2021, she has held the position of President of Dalhousie's Black Medical Students Association, where she plays a vital role in promoting diversity and inclusion within the medical community. Furthermore, she previously served as the Director of Student Affairs with the Black Medical Students Association of Canada. Kianna's interests extend to improving the quality of care for marginalized populations often neglected by the healthcare system. She is dedicated to building authentic connections in the community and investing her time in ways that positively contribute to the advancement of the Black Collective, with a particular focus on Pan-Africanism.