Recognizing the "Big Picture" of Women's Health: Dr. Barbara Keddy

April 29, 2009

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011

Entrant: Josephine B. Etowa

Nominee: Dr. Barbara Keddy, Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University

keddy_2521_I am writing to nominate Dr. Barbara Keddy of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as a Women’s Health Hero. I have known her for over a period of ten years, in various capacities, including being my course professor, thesis supervisor, and more recently as a colleague, mentor and a partner in a number of research projects in the area of Black women’s health.

Based on my observation of Dr. Keddy in these capacities and from talking with other colleagues, I will describe Dr. Keddy as an exemplary health scholar and women’s health advocate. She goes beyond the call of duty to address the needs of the women around her, especially women from marginalized populations. This is evident in the nature of her personal research and those of her graduate students.

In acknowledgement of the need to promote diversity and social inclusion in nursing, Dr. Keddy has not only dedicated  her own research to addressing these issues, she has also encouraged beginning scholars like myself to engage in this area of research. Over the past few years, I had the opportunity to work with her on a number of research projects addressing the health needs of women with a focus on the health of Canadian women of African descent; a historically forgotten group in the health literature.

She has collaborated with women in the community to complete a number of capacity-building projects including two studies titled “Menopause and midlife health of African Nova Scotian women” and “Black women’s health in remote and rural Nova Scotian Communities.”  She has been an excellent role model, a great mentor and inspiration for many people including myself. My experience of doing research with Dr. Keddy has been one of the most positive. She makes me feel that my perspective is a vital aspect of the project.

Dr. Barbara Keddy is an outstanding individual who has great insights and shows exemplary integrity and leadership as a person, a professional nurse and as a scholar. I find her to be a warm and approachable colleague and mentor. Her exceptional ability to foster community capacity building and to recognize the “big picture” for the future of women’s health research is commendable. She has tremendous impact on my personal and professional growth, fostering an empowering environment that has enabled me to successfully develop a career as a university professor and a scholar from my early interactions with her as a minority student.

In conclusion, Dr. Keddy is someone I admire and respect for her personal integrity and many outstanding contributions to the nursing profession, women’s health movements and society in general. In particular, her collegiality, dedication to hard work, and readiness to encourage, mentor and support others into leadership roles is exceptional. She is a most deserving candidate for the Women’s Health Hero recognition.

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