Naana Jumah has come full circle.
Her road back to Thunder Bay took the obstetrician, gynaecologist and researcher to Toronto, Oxford and Harvard but home is where the heart is, she said on Thursday when she was introduced as Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s latest hire.
Jumah, who will split her time between the hospital and the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, said she plans to focus on both Aboriginal and women’s health.
The Fort William Collegiate Institute graduate is looking to help improve education for health-care providers working with Aboriginal women.
“That’s a curriculum initiative that will be on a national scale, inviting Aboriginal women to tell us the priorities that are needed by clinicians in order to provide better care for them,” Jumah said.
“The other one is identifying care pathways around addiction and substance abuse so that we can improve the care of women who have substance abuse issues in pregnancy, people both in Thunder Bay and in Northwestern Ontario.
A Rhodes Scholar, Jumah will also be tasked to help advance the Research Institute’s high-intensity focused ultrasound and conducting research in the treatment of uterine fibroids.
Patients will be able to arrive at the hospital in the morning, have the procedure done and go home later that night, rather than face surgery and a six-week recovery time.
“The recovery time for HIFU is much shorter and the risk of complications is much lower than it is for surgery,” she said.
It’s also less costly for the health-care system, a key factor given ever tightening budgets.
Henry Stephen Fairley, the chief of obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital, said Jumah’s arrival couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
“Her research interests are absolutely what we want in this community,” Fairley said. “She is absolutely timely for what we’re trying to accomplish at TBRRI.”
The Aboriginal aspect of her work was particularly intriguing to Brenda Mason, a member of the hospital’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee.
“As we all know and have heard, many of us are in poor health in all areas,” said Mason, who grew up in Sandy Lake First Nation.
“I’m really grateful that she’s going to be working with the Aboriginal women and to work as a team. That’s really important to me.”
Mason arrived home in Thunder Bay in January.
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