Grad profile: Bringing the strengths of two worlds to medicine

Tiffany Brooks, Faculty of Medicine

- May 24, 2022

(Provided photo)
(Provided photo)

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2022. Spring Convocation runs from May 24 to June 3 in Halifax and Truro. Read all our profiles here as they are published, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

Tiffany’s interest in medicine was inspired by the unlikeliest of things: an operation her mom had on her nose following a horse accident. After that, Tiffany started watching videos of surgeries on YouTube all the time and it wasn’t until a career aptitude test in high school told her that she would be a good fit in healthcare that she started to think seriously about medical school.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I could actually do that!’” Tiffany says of that first spark of realization. “Then, when I interviewed community members for the 2019 Census and I saw how the act of storytelling can also be a form of medicine, I knew this was for me.”

Born in the small community of Hamtown Corner just outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Tiffany’s family is from Sitansisk Wolastoqiyik First Nation, an urban community in North-Eastern Turtle Island (Canada) that lies on the Wolastoq (St. John River). She is currently living in Fredericton and will be completing her residency in family medicine there, surrounded by family, friends, and her community.

“I am excited to be working in the hospital I was born in, and that my loved ones have been born in and passed on in,” Tiffany shares. “It holds a lot of meaning for me to practice here.” She chose family medicine for the opportunities it affords her to practice a broad scope of medicine and incorporate her culture into her care of Indigenous patients both in Fredericton and in rural and remote communities in Canada and abroad.

Finding the best solution

Over her fours years at Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Tiffany learned how to integrate her personal and cultural experience into her medical education. She played a key role in the evolution and success the now-biannual Doctor for a Day at DMNB initiative, which invites interested middle-to-high school-age Indigenous students to learn more about the medical school experience. As one of the student leads, Tiffany was involved in the planning and execution of these events since they first began in March 2019 and dedicated numerous hours of her free time to develop and facilitate them.

“It felt like a chance to develop integrity within my professional identity as an Indigenous woman in medicine and give back to my community,” Tiffany says of her with Doctor for a Day at DMNB. “If I could provide that same moment of realization for these students that I had — that they, too, could pursue medicine — then that would mean the world to me.”   

Building on her work with this event, Tiffany’s Research in Medicine (RIM) project focused on creating a culturally safe framework for those wanting to conduct research in collaboration with Indigenous communities. “I wanted to give back to my school by helping to foster a trusting relationship between this institution, the communities of this territory, and the physicians who will be working here,” she says. To accomplish this, Tiffany invoked the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing introduced by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall, which is learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledge and ways of knowing. Or, in brief: “Through the strengths of two worlds to find the best solution.”

Tiffany most certainly brought the strengths of two worlds to her medical school journey and leaves behind a legacy of inclusion and belonging at Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.


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