Prior to her studies in medicine, Shahid travelled extensively to countries like Senegal, Australia, and Kenya. Image: CA Creative/Unsplash
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On Jan. 10, the University of Ottawa (U of O) announced the passing of Abeera Shahid, MD 2024.

Shahid obtained a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) in Global Health from McMaster University, and had been a student at the U of O’s faculty of medicine since 2020. She was passionate about social justice and supporting marginalized communities. 

Through the faculty’s Medical Student Summer Research Program, Shahid worked as a research assistant at the Bruyère Research Institute during the summers of 2021 and 2022, continuing her work during her academic years. 

Under the supervision of Dr. Claire Kendall, associate dean of social accountability at the faculty of medicine, Shahid and fellow researchers from the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions examined the level of support provided to Toronto encampment residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Abeera sought a career as a public health physician, as she believed this is the way [she’d] have the greatest impact on population equity. She was an exceptional young person with the personal and societal insight and leadership to improve the lives of marginalized communities,” wrote Dr. Kendall.

She continued, “[Abeera] was loved by her research team…, front-line workers and people with lived experience who were grateful for her commitment, her listening skills, and her advocacy.”

Prior to her studies in medicine, Shahid travelled extensively to countries like Senegal, Australia, and Kenya, where she accumulated relevant work experience in public health, global research, and advocacy. In addition, she enjoyed blogging, hiking, and writing poetry in her spare time.

A statement on the GoFundMe page created by Shahid’s family reads, “She was the light in all our eyes and a precious daughter, sister, and friend to many. Our family is grateful for all the support we have received during this difficult time.”

The donations will contribute to Sadaqah Jariyah, “a gift that not only benefits others in this life but also benefits us and our loved ones in the next,” in Shahid’s honour. The family plans to “eternize Abeera’s deeds by providing education to others.”

In light of Shahid’s passing, the faculty of medicine encouraged staff and students to surround themselves with friends and family, and to rely on available support such as counselling from the Student Affairs Office (SAO.) 

Students may also contact the 24/7 Crisis Line or Good2Talk outside of SAO working hours.

The U of O held a celebration of life for Shahid on Jan. 19.


  • Yannick Mutombo is the News Associate at the Fulcrum. He recently graduated with an Honours B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in English from the University of Ottawa, and is currently pursuing opportunities in journalism and freelance writing. His interests include, but aren't limited to, people watching; an affinity to oversleeping; establishing soft deadlines. You can find him on Instagram: @thenotoriousself