Dr. Durity’s Support for the Next Generation of Black Canadian MD Students

Dr. Felix Durity, a professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery, made a generous gift to the UBC Faculty of Medicine that established the Black MD Student Pathway Support Fund. This initiative will help create new opportunities for Black MD students and address the concern of racial discrimination in health care. It is to be launched this summer as part of the Black Student MD Admissions Pathway.

Dr. Durity was the first resident trained in neurosurgery as a subspecialty at UBC. He developed game-changing acute-care and head-injury treatment programs at Vancouver General Hospital as well as its laser surgery program. He served as the head of UBC’s Division of Neurosurgery from 1990 to 2002. During that time, he increased the Division’s research funding by over 1600%. His philanthropic portfolio includes establishing several impactful community-focused health care programs in B.C. from 2006 to 2010 and co-funding the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Neuroscience in Ghana.

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Durity reflects on his experiences as an MD student with nostalgia and eagerness to convert them into valuable lessons for today’s UBC Black medical students. With deep respect for the work of current UBC president Santa Ono and, specifically, his efforts directed at eliminating racial inequalities, Dr. Durity stepped up again hoping to smoothen the path for those who he identifies with. 

My career progressed; I had to work hard, and surgery was very demanding. I entered an academic stream, eventually becoming head of neurosurgery. Although I saw several Black Caribbean students during medical school, I never saw a single Black Canadian-born medical student.

– Dr. Felix Durity, Professor Emeritus, UBC Department of Surgery