Bukola Salami: Accomplished Nurse Researcher and Global Change Agent



Bukola Salami: Accomplished Nurse Researcher and Global Change Agent
Professor Bukola Oladunni Salami

On Saturday, 25 July 2020, Professor Bukola Oladunni Salami was announced as an inductee in the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame – the highest research award in Nursing. The award, conferred by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing (Sigma), recognises nurses, “who have achieved significant and sustained recognition for their work and whose research has impacted the profession and the people it serves.” Interestingly, not only was Salami the only African on the list of awardees for that year, she was also the only nominee from Canada, where she is based.


Regarded as one of the most influential nurse leaders, whose research efforts are not only helping to advance the profession but also driving social change around the world, Salami is a professor at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Canada. Prior to her academic career, she was a paediatric oncology nurse and subsequently an inter-professional educator at the New Immigrant Support Network of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


Salami’s research efforts focus on policies and practices shaping migrants’ health. She is particularly interested in how the intersection of gender, race, class, nationality and immigration status influences the health of vulnerable migrant and racialised groups, as well as the policy and practice implications. She is the principal investigator for the Health and Immigration Policies and Practices (HIPP) Research Programme, which seeks to address the decline in immigrant health, by focusing on the health of the most vulnerable groups of immigrants, including those with precarious migration status.


More importantly, Salami has an interest in global health research, especially in West Africa.  She is particularly loved by the academic community of nurses in Nigeria, her home country. She has featured as a guest in numerous nursing academic conferences and workshops in the country. She was a guest speaker at the Institute of Nursing Research of Nigeria’s International Scientific Conference, held in 2021, where she spoke on “Policy, Politics and the Nursing Profession: Positioning Nursing Research to Shape and Influence Policy.” Participants at the conference recall her charging them: “We have to change our orientation to nursing leadership and administration in Nigeria to be able to position ourselves as influencers in the field and as leaders in the healthcare service.”

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Earlier, in November 2012, she presented a paper at the National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America Conference, in Newark, New Jersey, on  “Health human resource in Nigeria: Navigating challenges and opportunities.”


Indefatigable researcher

Salami has been involved in over 90 funded research projects. She has led research projects on vaccine confidence among Black Canadians, COVID 19 disinformation among Black Canadians, African immigrant child health, immigrant mental health, access to healthcare for immigrant children, Black youth mental health, strengthening intersectional research methodology, environmental scan of equity seeking organisations in Alberta, international nurse migration, immigrant child mental health, the experiences of live-in caregivers and care recipients, the experiences of temporary foreign workers, internally displaced people, and parenting practices of African immigrants.


As one of the most published Black health researchers in Canada, she has over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, she is on the editorial board of Nursing Inquiry and Qualitative Health Research Journal. She is also a guest editor for the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research and the Regional Climate Change Journal. She is equally an editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal and the Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, as well as being on the advisory board of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Institutes for Human Development, Child and Youth Health.


Unstoppable change agent

Salami constantly engages with and presents her research efforts to policy makers (including twice to the Prime Minister of Canada and once to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health) for needed actions. Unsurprisingly, her research has led to several positive policy and programme initiatives, including contributing to the establishment of a Black mental health clinic by Africa Centre, the largest pan African non-profit organisation in western Canada.

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Salami founded and currently leads the African Child and Youth Migration Network of 40 scholars from four continents, focused on improving the wellbeing of African children and youths globally. In 2020, she founded the Black Youth Mentorship and Leadership Programme at the University of Alberta. It was the first university-based interdisciplinary mentorship programme for Black youths in Western Canada – the goal of which is to empower Black youths socially and economically so they can contribute meaningfully to Canadian society.


Earlier, in 2017, she organised the first research stakeholder engagement day for African immigrants in Alberta. Also, between 2015 and 2016, she was a collaborating researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and has presented to international policy makers (including representatives of United Nations, International Organisation for Migration, World Health Organisation) on migration and precarity.


In addition to her research, advocacy, and community engagement, Salami teaches courses on immigrant health, health policy, community health, global health and programme planning and evaluation. She has mentored or trained over 100 students as graduate students and research assistants, as well as over 100 high school students, many of whom have received prestigious awards.


Background and education

Salami was born and raised in Nigeria, where she had her early education, until the age of 16 (in 1997), when she migrated with her parents to Canada. She initially planned to study Medicine. However, while participating in the University of Toronto’s Summer Mentorship Programme, she met a nurse who influenced her to follow what she has now come to realise as her true destiny path. According to her, once she got a glimpse of what Nursing entailed, “there was no turning back”.

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Salami obtained her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 2004. Four years later, she obtained a master’s degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Toronto. She began her PhD in Nursing, soon after, in September 2008 and completed it in December 2013.


She also completed the Ontario Training Centre in Health Service and Policy Research Collaborative Programme, the International Nursing PhD programme, as well as the Critical Qualitative Health Research Certificate Programme. She joined the faculty of the University of Alberta, as an associate professor, in June 2014.


Awards and recognitions

Prof. Salami has received several awards for research excellence and community engagement. These include her recognition as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women in Canada, as well as the Emerging Nurse Researcher of the Year Award, by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing.


Others are Award for Nursing Excellence by the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA); the Rosalind Smith Professional Award by the National Black Coalition of Canada – Edmonton Chapter; as well as her selection as one of Alberta Avenue Edmonton Top 40 under 40. In 2021, she became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing. That same year, she received the Killam Accelerator Award (a $225,000 value for research) given to the best early career researcher at the University of Alberta.


In 2022, she was named among the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. In 2023, she was a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal recipient and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.



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