Family doctor, professor, Trudeau's new appointee to the Senate

Community leader, family doctor and university professor Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia has been appointed independent Senator to fill an empty seat in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia fled apartheid in Zimbabwe to settle in rural Newfoundland and Labrador

Family doctor and professor Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia, left, seen receiving the Order of Canada from then governor general David Johnston in 2016, has been appointed to the Senate to fill a vacancy in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Community leader, family doctor and university professor Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia has been appointed independent Senator to fill a vacancy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment today after a recommendation from the independent advisory board for Senate appointments.

Ravalia is senior medical officer at the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador and associate professor of family medicine at Memorial University.

"Dr. Ravalia's vast knowledge and experience have earned him high respect in the medical field, and I am confident that he will be a great ambassador in the Senate, not just for Newfoundland and Labrador, but for all of Canada," Trudeau said in a news release.

According to a biography provided from the PMO, Ravalia is a community leader in Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador, who holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Rhodesia, in present-day Zimbabwe.

"Dr. Ravalia overcame the apartheid in Zimbabwe and found the community environment he was missing in his native country in rural Newfoundland and Labrador," it reads. "His deep appreciation for the province, its landscape and its people comes from his unique experience as an immigrant."

Ravalia, who has two sons with wife Dianne, has received several awards for his contributions to rural medicine, including the Order of Canada.

There have been 34 appointments to the Senate made on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Since 2016 the selection process for Senators is open for all Canadians to apply.