Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Nagham Azzam, the recipient of Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) 2021 Pat Mandy Inclusion Award (PMIA)

Dedicated to diversity and inclusion

Nagham Azzam is the recipient of the Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) 2021 Pat Mandy Inclusion Award (PMIA). The PMIA recognizes an individual who embodies the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion every day and who dedicates themselves to removing barriers to inclusion for marginalized populations.

Oct 25, 2021

Nagham Azzam is the recipient of Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) 2021 Pat Mandy Inclusion Award (PMIA). Nagham is a registered social worker in the Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation program at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (RJCHC). The PMIA recognizes an individual who embodies the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion every day and who dedicates themselves to removing barriers to inclusion for marginalized populations. 

The award winner was announced at the virtual Day of Celebration event on September 28, and presented to Nagham in person by her leaders at a small ceremony on October 7. 

Learning from the past

“I am grateful to my HHS family, and privileged to be part of an organization where I feel comfortable brining my authentic self to work every day,” says Nagham. “Growing up as a Muslim and an immigrant to Canada, I often felt the need to minimize parts of myself to feel included. As a colonized settler, learning and unlearning the legacies of ongoing colonialism, systemic oppression and intergenerational traumas helped me to accept myself and be more authentic to my experiences. 

“I will continue to do my part to ensure that nobody has to minimize or erase parts of themselves to belong, or to access systems of support within HHS and our local community.” 

Embodying the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion

Nagham recognizes the systemic barriers that can negatively impact the experiences of patients and their families as they access healthcare. In her role, she counsels families through challenges, applies for government funding and engages in different forms of advocacy. She also serves on many tables advocating for equity and inclusion for all, including HHS’ President’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, the Social Work Practice Council and the Children and Youth Mental Health Program/Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation group. 

Additionally, outside of HHS, she has created a registered charity called Mishka Social Services to remove barriers to inclusion and to fill a gap in Hamilton social services to meet the needs of the local Muslim population. 

Dedicated to removing barriers for marginalized populations

“Nagham goes above and beyond to advocate for the needs of children, youth and their families who are experiencing systemic barriers,” says her nominator, Angela Zajczenko, an early childhood resource specialist. “She makes and leverages connections in the community to bridge and meet families’ needs, and remove barriers to care.”

Noticing that refugee families were not getting the support they needed when coming to Hamilton, Nagham connected with the local settlement agency, Wesley Urban Ministries, directly to provide support and training to their staff so they could be better prepared to meet those families’ needs.

Tiffany Roblin, HHS director of employee labour relations and human rights says, “I have had the privilege of experiencing Nagham’s leadership in this space through her work on the President’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. Her commitment to HHS’ core values, and to principles of equity and inclusion for all, are inspirational.” 

For more about the PMIA, and a list of past winners, visit the Human Rights and Inclusion PMIA page.