Dr. Mayo Ravichandiran, an emergency physician at Scarborough Health Network (SHN), credits his mom for inspiring him and his siblings – also doctors – to reach for the stars.
Dr. Ravichandiran and his family moved to Canada from Sri Lanka when he was just seven years old. Landing in Scarborough, they instantly felt a sense of community, like so many new Canadians who call Scarborough their first home in Canada.
“When we moved to Canada, it was a big change for us, especially my mom,” says Dr. Ravichandiran. “Like many new Canadians, she arrived with almost nothing from a country devastated by war. And she viewed education as a path to create a better life. She sacrificed a lot to make sure we got a great education. But not only did she talk the talk, she also walked the walk.”
Dr. Ravichandiran’s mom was a meteorologist in Sri Lanka, but when they arrived in Canada during the tech boom, she had never even touched a computer. So, while raising three children, she went back to school to learn computer programming and became a business intelligence analyst.
“My mom really set an example for us growing up,” Dr. Ravichandiran continues. “My brother, sister, and I give her a lot of credit for what we’ve accomplished because we saw her do it herself with many more obstacles and barriers. When we saw how much she could do, we didn’t have any excuses.”
Dr. Ravichandiran was inspired by his mother’s determination and the values she embodied. She always taught her children to pay it forward and help others in any way they could, and she set the example by doing the same in her own life. By the time Dr. Ravichandiran was in high school, he knew he wanted to pursue medicine. He volunteered at SHN’s Centenary Hospital for three years before attending the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, and then off to medical school at Western University.
“I always knew I would come back to Scarborough to serve my community,” says Dr. Ravichandiran. “There’s such a large Tamil community here, and I wanted to serve them because it’s important to have representation in the healthcare system. I actually speak Tamil more now than I did while growing up in Canada!”
Working at SHN, Dr. Ravichandiran sees the diverse population we serve.
“It was especially important to have healthcare providers from different backgrounds during the pandemic. When we first started the vaccine clinics, I noticed there weren’t a lot of South Asian or Tamil patients there – but these were the populations we were seeing in the emergency department and ICU suffering most from COVID-19. I knew something needed to change, so I proposed organizing Tamil-specific vaccine clinics.”
SHN was a leader in delivering vaccines to a community severely impacted by the pandemic. We coordinated community vaccination clinics throughout Scarborough specifically designed to break down barriers, dispel vaccination myths, and ensure the community had equitable care.
“Everything my siblings and I have accomplished is thanks to the example set by my mom and the love and support she provided,” says Dr. Ravichandiran. “My brother is an orthopaedic surgeon in Ajax, and my sister is a family physician right here at SHN. The passion we all feel for caring for others and contributing to our communities would not have been possible without her. We saw what she could accomplish, and she set an incredible example for us. We are so grateful for all she gave up to give us these opportunities, and we are forever in awe of all she has done. Thank you, Mom.”
Dr. Ravichandiran and his siblings serve East Toronto by dedicating their lives to caring for others. Their mother’s sacrifice inspired them; her will and determination empowered them to pursue their dreams. Without her strong example, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
From Dr. Ravichandiran and all of us at SHN, Happy Mother’s Day! If you would like to make a donation in honour of your mom, visit SHNFoundation.ca/Donate.