Fariha Khan 1998
Dr. Fariha Khan 1998, recipient of the 2017 Havergal Young Alumna award, exemplifies the characteristics of an Old Girl who is truly making a difference in the lives of others.
At Havergal, Fariha was both a leader and role model. She was an active member of the HC community, contributing through volunteer roles and extracurricular activities and supporting myriad causes. Fariha was known for her enthusiasm, her warm personality and her bright mind (as well as her die-hard fanaticism for the Leafs and U2!) She obtained a B.Sc. degree with high distinction from the University of Toronto in 2001, followed by a medical degree from McMaster University, a residency in family medicine at the University of Toronto and a fellowship in low-risk obstetrics.
She soon developed a passion for patient- and community-based advocacy and outreach, and now practises full-scope family medicine in Caledon, Ontario. She is interested in treating the most vulnerable patients in our community, including maternal-child, mental health and immigrant populations.
Fariha is a patient advocate and community health leader. On the United Way of Peel Region’s public policy cabinet, she tackles issues such as poverty reduction and prevention, youth homelessness and mental health. She provides insights into the diagnosis of mental health conditions and aims to reduce the stigma surrounding these diagnoses. On the board of directors of Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline, she combines her passion for working with Muslim youth and her advocacy in mental health.
A young Muslim-Canadian, Fariha promotes a positive image of Muslims in Canada, encouraging others within her culture to actively engage with the broader community. As an ambassador for the National Council of Canadian Muslims and supporter of the Canadian Muslim Vote, Fariha furthers diversity, inclusiveness and civil liberties. In 2015, she helped to launch “Stronger Together,” a national grassroots social advocacy campaign that tackles racism and advances civil liberties and human rights.
On a global scale, Fariha dedicates herself to issues of social justice, poverty, international development and civic engagement. Notably, she is a director of Islamic Relief Canada (IRC) – the world’s largest Muslim NGO – which provides humanitarian aid and sustainable development to more than 35 countries. At IRC, her work includes fundraising and advocacy, preparing and delivering meals to disadvantaged communities in the GTA and visiting projects in rural Pakistan that empower vulnerable women.
Fariha has twice travelled to India with IRC to provide medical aid, and supports orphanages and child welfare programs there. She recently spent a month in Jordan to provide medical relief to Syrian refugees living in camps. Closer to home, Fariha has been involved in local refugee resettlement and provides medical care to newly arrived Syrian refugees in the GTA. She works tirelessly on behalf of poor and marginalized communities.
Fariha attributes her volunteerism, professional excellence and sense of social responsibility to her experiences at Havergal, where she came to value self determination, work ethic, professionalism and duty to others. She credits Havergal for instilling in her the skills and confidence she needed to speak up about issues within her community.
A dedicated, compassionate physician and patient advocate, Fariha is an educator and mentor, an engaged global citizen and active volunteer, a supportive wife and devoted mother of four young boys, a woman of faith and an outstanding leader. And, to this day, she is still a diehard Maple Leafs fan! Her passionate commitment to improving the lives of her patients, her community and refugees half a world away makes her an outstanding role model for young women everywhere. Her work inspires others and makes a profound difference in our world.