Letitia’s paper, Worthy of Providing Care: Japanese-Canadian Health Care Providers during Internment, was presented at the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing joint conference, held virtually June 1-2, 2021.
While Japanese-Canadian internment during the Second World War is well studied by historians, attention to the effect of internment on the community’s health care has not received much attention from scholars. More significantly, the role of Japanese-Canadian health care professionals, who were themselves internees, in providing care to their own segregated ethnic community has not been addressed by historians. This paper begins an important contribution to segregated health care history in Canada by focusing on the essential labour of Japanese-Canadians in the provisioning of health care within the internment scheme.
More specifically, this paper considers the construct of “white” health care providers and how this racialized construct influenced the work Japanese-Canadian physicians, nurses, and others did during internment. It asks, how did White notions of medical professionalism, in parallel with efforts to prove themselves “Canadian”, influence how Japanese-Canadian health care providers approached and framed their work.
The Vicky Bach Memorial Prize recognizes the best student paper at the CAHN conference. More information about the prize and a list of past winners is available here.