Health-care pioneer inspires a new generation of medical student

Outdoor photo of Gavin Raner
By Communications

Breaking down walls and making a difference for others is a connection that Gavin Raner has made with a medical pioneer from nearly a century ago.

Raner, now entering their third year as a medical student at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, is one of 13 students across Canada to receive the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) Award, recognizing young leaders who exemplify the qualities of Hall of Fame laureates, including perseverance, collaboration, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Raner’s connection is with 2007 inductee Elizabeth Bagshaw, MD. Bagshaw pursued a career in medicine at a time when most women were not accepted in the field. During her 70-year career as a family physician, Bagshaw pioneered areas of medicine that, while universal now, were not widely practiced at the time.

Raner, who identifies as trans-masculine non-binary, is inspired by Bagshaw’s quiet bravery.

“As someone who is pro transition in a time now when a lot of people are against it, her story inspires me,” they said. “Whatever my career direction is, I want to make a difference for people like myself, whether that's directly by providing trans surgeries and operations, or just by providing representation so that other people can be inspired to be themselves and still be in medicine.”

With this inspiration in hand, Raner sees their medical career as a way to break down some of the same walls that Bagshaw faced in her day.

“There is an astounding lack of accessibility and information available for trans medicine and people who are looking to transition, especially as younger transgender people,” Raner said, who, as part of a first-generation immigrant family, struggled to find a family doctor. “Another sort of area of interest of mine is improving equity in healthcare.”

Raner has been active during their time at Schulich on the Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, Decolonization in their class council.

As they look to the future, Raner sees many short- and long-term goals from which to choose. Helping influence Ontario public policy to improve funding for transition-related services and surgeries in general is certainly one. But helping, as Bagshaw did, in areas where it’s needed most is also a top priority.

“I want to be where I'm needed,” they said. “It would be nice to be in a big-city practice. But at the same time, I think what I would value most is being in a place where I can provide the care that is not readily available today.”

Each student award recipient receives a cash prize of $5,000 and a travel subsidy to attend the 2012 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Students and faculty are invited to the opening of the Hall of Fame’s new facility on September 28, 2022. RSVP using the Eventbrite link here.