Dr. Shermiyah Baguisa Rienecker, Medical Physicist

Queensland, Australia

“When I’m asked where I’m from, I can’t give a one-word answer. I was born in Saudi Arabia then raised in Canada from the age of 2. My parents are both from the Philippines but from different islands. They grew up in polar opposite communities in terms of culture, social status and religion. The Philippines is a group of 7,000 islands in the Pacific that was colonized into one state. My parents were inevitably going to be different, but their differences are also what they love about each other. This foundation of love in my life formed my value of other people, and importantly, of myself. My mom was a chartered accountant at an engineering firm where she met my dad, who’s an electrical engineer. After my parents got married, my dad accepted a project at the firm to supply electricity to a rural village called Shermiyah (now part of modern-day Riyadh). I was born in a rural all-female hospital, and I have always been grateful for the women who took care of me and my mom. My namesake and my parents’ work inspire me to use my talents and abilities to improve life outside the city. Although I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada and was taught all the advantages of urban living, I am acutely aware that women in rural areas don’t often have access to the same education and health resources and employment opportunities as men do. This motivated me to study physics with a focus on biology and medicine and pursue my PhD to make health care more accessible to everyone. I’m currently a medical physicist working on health technology used in urban, regional, and rural clinics in Queensland, Australia and hold a sessional academic position in the Faculty of Health at Queensland University of Technology. Having been born in an all-female rural hospital, my work to impact women’s health brings it full circle for me.” - Dr. Shermiyah Baguisa Rienecker, Medical Physicist

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