Dr. Shaifali Sandal moved to Canada as a teenager with her family in 2000. Shortly after arriving in Toronto, she received a full scholarship to study biological chemistry.
The opportunity changed her life, she said. “We were so new to Canada and very much financially in need. The transition was difficult at first, but I received financial support every year at U of T that helped to fund my studies. I never had to take out a student loan.”
Sandal went on to pursue her medical degree at the St George’s University in Grenada, followed by internal medicine training at the SUNY Upstate Medical University and fellowships at the University of Rochester, McGill University and Johns Hopkins University. Now a professor at McGill, she specializes in nephrology—the branch of medical science concerned with diseases of the kidneys—with a subspecialty in transplant nephrology.
The recent arrival of Syrian refugee families to Canada led Sandal to reflect on her gratitude for the support she and her family received. “I received so much help when I first moved here and was getting started, I would now like to give back,” she explained. “No one should be denied an education due to financial need.”
She established the Ram and Sushma Sandal Award to support undergraduate students. The gift also honoured her parents on the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary.
She said, “I love my parents. They are the key to my success. I wanted to set up a lasting legacy in their name to recognize and thank them for everything they have done and sacrificed for me.”
Photo courtesy of Shaifali Sandal