Dolores Chew


We learned with sadness of the passing away of DR. Shakuntala Nowry on Thursday 29 July, 2011.  Dr. Nowry was a founding member of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC) and our first president.


She was a general physician and obstetrician who came to Vancouver from Nagpur, India in 1960,  and moved to Montreal in 1967.  Rita Shakuntala Nowry, (née Hackett) was born into an Anglo-Indian family in India.  She was a pioneer woman doctor in Canada. As a woman doctor who spoke Hindustani, she was much sought after as a physician among the local South Asian community. 60% of her patients were from minority communities, the largest being South Asian and Haitian. Fluent in English and Hindustani, Shakuntala learned French and even took some courses in Greek and Spanish to better serve her patients.


In Montreal she joined St. Mary’s Hospital after the closure of the obstetrics ward in the Reddy Memorial Hospital and remained there till she retired, when she contributed time as a volunteer. Apart from her involvement in SAWCC, Shakuntala had been on the board of directors of the Women’s Information and Referral Centre.  She was also on the funding committee of the Quebec chapter of HPNR (Health Professionals for Nuclear Responsibility) and a member of Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

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