Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Sofia Ahmed

Sofia Ahmed
Photo: courtesy of Libin Cardiovascular Institute

While she is known as one of Canada’s top researchers in kidney and cardiovascular disease, Dr. Sofia Ahmed has committed her career to passing on that knowledge to the next generation.

Through her mentorship, five research trainees were recently recognized with 2020 American Society of Nephrology Kidney STARS Awards, and three graduate trainees, including Dr. Sharanya Ramesh and Dr. Ann Zalucky, are previous recipients of American Society of Nephrology student scholarships. All credit Dr. Ahmed’s mentorship for their success.

“My career has thrived,” says Dr. Ramesh, an internal medicine resident at the University of Toronto. “Dr. Ahmed encourages the academic development of her trainees and provides support in all aspects, including presenting and publishing, networking and applying for scholarships.”

“Dr. Ahmed has taught me there is no ceiling when it comes to what you can achieve and for that I am sincerely grateful,” adds Dr. Zalucky, who, at age 23, was named one of Calgary’s “Top 40 under 40” for her research accomplishments under Dr. Ahmed’s guidance.

Paying it forward

It was at Harvard Medical School, under the supervision of the late Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg, that Dr. Ahmed learned the importance of mentoring others.

“Dr. Hollenberg took me on as a graduate student when I was five months pregnant and he taught me so much,” recalls Dr. Ahmed. “I have tremendous gratitude and was incredibly inspired by him.”

Dr. Ahmed has been recognized with four mentorship awards for her own efforts to develop future medical leaders, including the 2020 American Society of Nephrology Distinguished Mentor Award recognizing individuals who “inspire trainees to pursue nephrology and become leaders in the transformation of health care through innovations in research, education, and practice.”

An advocate for women’s cardiovascular health

In 2020, Dr. Ahmed was also recognized with two awards for her work leading the CV&Me Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative at the University of Calgary. The aim of the program is to advocate for the incorporation of sex- and gender-based considerations in hypertension and cardiovascular care, research and education.

Dr. Ahmed was later invited to speak at a Parliamentary reception on “Women’s Health: The Case for a Sex and Gender-Based Analysis,” where she advocated for the importance of equitable representation in research.

Dr. Sofia Ahmed is receiving the May Cohen Award for Women Mentors in recognition of her outstanding mentoring and contributions to the development of women’s mentorship advocacy.

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