Congratulations on the Season 2 renewal of Transplant on CTV! Why do you think this story resonated with a lot of Canadians?
The story is a very universal story, given that Canada opened its doors to Syrian refugees and has a large immigrant population. The stories told in the show are accurate representations of these communities’ experiences and I think that is why it resonates with everyone.
What has your experience been as a patient in the Canadian health care system?
Fortunately, I haven’t needed to use these services, but I know there is room for improvement. Growing up in Saudi to Pakistani parents, we do see the health care system here as “Eldorado” comparatively and that often leads us to overlook drawbacks in the Canadian health care system.
We need to have a voice, our voice is demanded everywhere.
Why do you think it is important to have people in our health care workforce reflect the people they provide care to?
In the show, we explore characters with various ethnic backgrounds and how those people are more susceptible to certain diseases and conditions. There are also often language barriers and differences in cultural practices that make receiving care uncomfortable for patients. I think that having staff reflect the people they serve breaks down these intangible barriers and makes patients feel more comfortable receiving care.
Why do you think it’s important for BIPOC individuals to choose careers in health care?
We need to have a voice, our voice is demanded everywhere. As the population grows – largely due to immigration, there is a requirement to represent in health care and all industries. Solutions to these inequities in the delivery of care are to represent and be there for people of colour.
Media plays a huge role in framing an individual’s mindset, how are you hoping to challenge this through playing a Syrian refugee doctor?
It’s important to paint a realistic picture of BIPOC. We’re often portrayed as these one-dimensional, monolithic characters, which puts unjust pressure on us to be a certain way. Through Bashir, I hope that permits BIPOC to be a complete person, that has good days and bad days, is allowed to feel love and anger and all of the things that make us human.