Nursing alumna pays it forward as health-care inequities expert

Bukola Salami profile photo

Bukola Salami’s transformative journey from neuroscience to nursing underscores her dedication to improving healthcare access and delivery for Black, migrant, and underserved populations.

During Black History Month, the Faculty of Nursing is featuring pioneers and difference-makers in the profession, past and present.

Bukola Salami

A famous author and minister once said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."

That mindset resonates with UWindsor nursing alumna Bukola Salami (BScN 2004). Dr. Salami recalls events that led her to a different and rewarding career path in health sciences.

While still at high school in Toronto in 1998, she remembers job shadowing a nurse during a Black youth mentorship program, an experience that would prove pivotal in her life’s work.

With aspirations of attending medical school, Salami applied for neuroscience and received offers from universities.

“But I kept thinking about that mentorship,” she says. “It was instrumental in my decision to move from neuroscience to nursing and that’s when I enrolled at UWindsor.”

Salami credits her professors and student support services for empowering her to excel academically. While living in residence, she met colleagues who shared similar challenges adjusting to university life; Salami learned to appreciate the value of compassion and how reciprocating help allows a person to experience fulfilment and growth as a human being.

“It paved the way for me, and I had always thought that after I was done, I would help others by paving the way for someone else.”
Today, most of her nursing practice, research, and advocacy, focusses on improving health-care access and delivery for Black, migrant, and underserved peoples, especially among the younger population.

Salami’s notable accomplishments include:

  • assisting in the creation of western Canada’s first mental health clinic for Black Canadian youths
  • providing expert testimonial to the House of Commons standing committee involving child health in Canada
  • establishing a Black Youth Mentorship and Leadership program
  • founding the African Child and Youth Migration Research (global) Network

Salami has also held several national advisory board positions and has been inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame as one of the youngest racialized representatives to receive this top international honour. She was also appointed Fellow of the Canadian Academy and American Academy of Nursing.

Salami is committed to continuing her passion for advocacy and offering expert counsel. Her goal is to influence societal perspectives and policymakers to address healthcare inequities, particularly in a rapidly evolving and, at times, tumultuous environment where the most vulnerable are at risk.

- Gam Macasaet