Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Jessica Dunkley

Dr. Jessica Dunkley

Dr. Jessica Dunkley — Canada’s first deaf physician — has been driving change since the first days of medical school.  

At the University of Ottawa, she raised awareness with administrators and medical teams about the culture of exclusion and ableism impacting deaf students, as well as others, and the need for greater inclusivity. She also highlighted the barriers deaf patients face in the health system. 

While completing her residency, Dr. Dunkley advocated for change at a policy level, which led to a landmark case law on accommodations for resident physicians with disabilities and shattered barriers to medical education. 

Dr. Dunkley is passionate about patient access to health information too. During the pandemic, she also established a virtual clinic for deaf patients to bridge the gap to COVID-19 related resources in American Sign Language.

“I cannot overstate the impact of her tenacity, resilience, and resolve to overcome a culture that trends toward the status quo. Jessica not only broke unyielding ground for future deaf learners, but she highlighted the myriad barriers deaf patients face in our health care systems.” – Dr. Melanie Lewis, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

The Dr. Ashok Muzumdar Memorial Award recognizes a CMA member with a disability who is a passionate advocate for patients, medical learners and/or physicians with disabilities. Dr. Muzumdar founded the CAPD in 1999, after grappling with his own vision loss.

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