Created safe spaces for systemic change and mentorship
Dr. Dignan is admired for his decades of devoted service to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. A Mohawk from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, he advocated tirelessly to eradicate inequities in Indigenous health care, legendary for his stalwart resistance to systemic racism in the medical profession. He helped assure mandated Indigenous health care training in postgraduate medical education (PGME) across all Royal College residency programs and mentored generations of Indigenous physicians. A licensed pilot and fly-in physician, he brought health care to remote and isolated regions of Ontario while serving as president and founding member, respectively, of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association and Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (as they are known today) - pillars of Indigenous health care advocacy. Throughout his long career of selfless service, including a drive for a national standard of vaccination against chicken pox, Dr. Dignan brought attention and care to vital on-reserve health care issues. A champion for systemic change, his inspiring personal journey from soldier to nurse to physician exemplifies his drive to advance the cause of comprehensive and equitable health care for Indigenous People everywhere.