Job Title: Project Lead, Government of Alberta Ministry of Health; Member of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition
Why She’s Top 40: She’s using her public-health background to improve the quality of life for immigrants and refugees in Edmonton
Keren Tang thought she wanted to be a doctor when she was younger, but her work with Indigenous youth across North America opened her eyes to the power of public-health promotion. Tang spent time on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico where she developed extracurricular programs to garner students’ interest in math and science; in Montreal she worked on a socioeconomic initiative with youth to create an art cooperative. Since moving to Edmonton in 2012, she is now directing her passion into helping create government policy that improves community wellness in the province, including the lives of immigrants, in the city.
“As an immigrant myself, I understand some of the challenges involved with integrating into a new country,” Tang says. “It’s easy to become isolated, which has an impact on mental and physical health. I think it’s important to support newcomers, and to give them access to resources that will ensure their long-term wellbeing.”
As President of the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition, Tang helps support immigrant families in the city. According to Tang, bringing newcomers of different backgrounds together means improved public health.
“It can be a culture shock to come here, so when people see that they have things in common with each other, it has a positive impact,” says Tang. “I want to let people know they aren’t alone.”
Tang also believes in fostering diversity in Edmonton. She hopes to see newcomers active in the community, and part of that means campaigning for more diverse perspectives in policy-making. In that respect, Tang leads by example and ran for Edmonton City Council in 2017, which in itself was a goal of hers. “I’m a go-getter, and my big-picture mindset keeps me motivated to accomplish my goals.”