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Victim of fatal Highway 11/17 collision founded the Umbrella Medical Clinic

Dr. Bella Zawada was a well-respected physician.
Dr. Bella Zawada died on Oct. 21, 2021 in a traffic collision. She founded the Umbrella Medical Clinic in 2018, and received a Northern Ontario Visionary Award in 2014 (TBNewswatch file)

THUNDER BAY — Dr. Bella Zawada died in last Thursday's fatal collision on Highway 11-17 near Thunder Bay.

Ontario Provincial Police said the 43-year-old was killed when her SUV crossed the centre line and collided with an oncoming commercial vacuum truck on Oct. 21 near Mapleward Road.

The truck driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

In 2018, Dr. Zawada founded the Umbrella Medical Clinic, a sexual health clinic designed to fill healthcare gaps in the community.

Its services are open to the public, and include emergency contraception, transgender health care, HIV testing, and others. 

"We will always remember and honour the incredible impact that she had on our community," said a message posted on the Umbrella Medical Clinic's Facebook page.

Last year, in an interview posted by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Zawada discussed the importance of education in preventing and treating sexually transmitted infections.

"Knowledge is power," she said. "Although it can be scary to be told that you have an STI, treatment is often simple and easily available."

The Thunder Bay-born doctor originally set up her practice in Terrace Bay.

In 2014, after she was recognized for her contributions by the SHIFT Young Professionals Network, she said "A lot of physicians in Thunder Bay and the north do so much for their communities but we don't necessarily like to be in the spotlight. For me to be nominated by my staff and nudged along by friends, family and my husband has been amazing."



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