“Remember the women who have helped pave the way before you so that you can take full advantage of opportunities that you are given to shine! - Dr Navdeep Grewal, MD, FCFP, CCFP(EM)”
Dr Navdeep Grewal is an Emergency Room Physician at Delta Hospital (over 20 yrs) and Mt St Joseph's Hospital (over 20 yrs). She is also a Physician representative to the Delta Hospital & Community Health Foundation Board and Co-founder of BC South Asian Covid Task Force.
What does being a woman mean to you?
The definition has changed over the years for me due to my own lived experiences, and now I define a woman as a hero, who is strong mentally and physically, and able to confidently and mindfully switch between her worlds.
What has been your biggest achievement, personally and professionally?
The pandemic threw us all for a loop early last year, and I felt especially apprehensive as a front-line emergency physician. But I have never been one to succumb to the fear of the unknown, and I felt like I had to prepare for the upcoming challenges head-on. Back when we were only starting to figure out what we were dealing with, organizing simulation sessions and securing additional personal protective equipment gave me a sense of control and confidence in my knowledge that allowed me to work on the front lines.
As the pandemic continued on, it became apparent that South Asian and other racial minority populations in Canada were being disproportionately affected by Covid due to factors including frontline essential work and multi-generational households. As a cofounder of the BC chapter of the national volunteer-run SACTF, along with Dr. Madhu Jawanda, I have had the opportunity to actively do something for the community I grew up in. I can act as a voice for those who are unable to speak up for themselves about how they are disproportionately affected by this pandemic and this virus, and also in their ability to access medical knowledge. I feel like our culturally relevant messaging efforts are helping make a difference.
A milestone that defines your journey?
I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in 2019, a milestone goal that had been a bucket list item for me for many years. Despite training for it, getting to the summit was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, during the long hours of that summit night, I put my head down, placed one foot in front of the other, and walked up towards the goal, feeling supported by my team. It really was a good metaphor for my life.
What are you working on right now and in 2021?
Along with our driven group of volunteers on the SACTF, I am continuing to work on Covid and vaccine education and advocacy efforts, in collaboration with Public Health. We aim to arm our community with the factual medical knowledge they need in order to decrease virus transmission and encourage vaccine uptake so we can get back to our pre-pandemic lives.
Who inspires you to do better each day?
Other women who manage to juggle work, family, and volunteer and advocacy work. Through my professional career and working with the SACTF, I have met many inspiring women who care to make a difference in their world and are passionate in using their position to help others. My own success mantra has always been to work hard for what you want; there are no shortcuts to success, and I have shared this mantra with my own children since they were little.
What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
Be open and honest with yourself about what you want from your life, and then work on making it happen. No matter how long and difficult the path towards your goal seems, if you believe in yourself and have a motivated mindset, you can achieve your goals. Remember the women who have helped pave the way before you so that you can take full advantage of opportunities that you are given to shine!
Photo: A Master Media