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Rising Up Through Research

October 23, 2023

Found in General

Jagbir Kaur, BC Cancer Rising Stars Award winner

Inspired by Dr. Connie’s Eaves dedication to advancing the next generation of women and BIPOC leaders in science, the BC Cancer Foundation is proud to support the BC Cancer Rising Stars Awards.

One of 10 recipients, Jagbir Kaur is the only nursing and allied health professional at BC Cancer to receive the honour, and this gives her a unique perspective in her equity-centred research.

“Cancer care isn’t just about delivering treatment, it’s also about recognizing the impacts that cancer has on people’s lives. Various things come together to make it more challenging for certain individuals to navigate the cancer care system, and race and ethnicity are among those variables,” she says.

Jagbir’s research examines the unmet needs of Panjabi-Sikh patients during cancer treatment to inform system-level strategies to address gaps in care — something to which she has a personal connection.

“My dad, a turban-wearing and bearded man, recently went through cancer treatment,” she says of the Sikh practice of allowing hair to grow naturally and uncut. Losing his hair during chemotherapy was a significant concern for her dad and she was surprised that this was not once brought up by his nurses and doctors.

She acknowledges that sometimes there’s a discomfort in trying not to offend. But she believes that there are ways to acknowledge patients’ culture to help to create an openness in conversation and consider things that are important to the patient when planning their care.

Her experience with family, friends, and patients she has cared for has shown her these “micro opportunities where the system could have done it a little bit differently,” she says.

Incredibly grateful for the support, Jagbir says this award legitimizes the importance of exploring research that aims to capture the voices of racialized communities with a focus on equity and system transformation. “A positive care experience and a system that truly wraps around and supports a patient can tremendously change outcomes.”