Ryan Meili is a family doctor, teacher, community builder, and the MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin. For years, he has worked to build healthier communities across Saskatchewan and around the world. He is a passionate advocate for smart, fair, and forward-thinking policy that recognizes that we all do better when everyone has a chance to succeed.
Ryan is currently seeking the leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP because he believes that the key to success for New Democrats is to inspire and excite the people of Saskatchewan with a shared vision of a better future.
Ryan lives in Saskatoon with his wife, Mahli Brindamour, a pediatrician specializing in the care of refugee children. They have two sons, Abraham and Augustin.
Ryan is the author of A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, which argues that by focusing on the upstream causes of poverty, crime, and ill-health, we can achieve better health outcomes for everyone. He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines across Canada on issues of public policy, politics and health.
In 2013, Ryan founded Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society to popularize the idea that we can create a healthy society through evidence-based, people-centred policies.This organization quickly became recognized as a leading national voice for evidence-based, people-centred policy.
In March 2017, Ryan was elected the MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin, where he campaigned on bringing the ideas behind A Healthy Society and Upstream into the political arena and translating them into policy. This was the first time the NDP had won a seat back from the Sask Party in a by-election and an important sign of changing momentum in the province.
With years of experience as a public speaker and policy advocate, Ryan quickly became a strong voice in the legislature, helping to lead the fight against a short-sighted Sask Party budget.
Small Town, Small World
Ryan grew up near Courval, Saskatchewan, where his brother Jim continues to farm. He attended Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw before going on to the University of Saskatchewan where he studied Human Anatomy and Languages.
After completing his first degree, Ryan travelled to South America, where he saw first-hand the consequences of inequality and underinvestment in the common good. In 1999 he co-organized a project called Limbs and Light for Latin America, in which he raised money to purchase a school bus, filled it with prosthetic limbs for landmine victims, and drove it to Nicaragua. As part of his medical practice, he has also worked in Mozambique and the Philippines.
Speaking Up for Universal Healthcare
Ryan entered the College of Medicine in September 2000. While in medical school, he became involved in healthcare advocacy. At the time of the Romanow Commission, he helped found a student group called Health Professionals for Medicare to educate the public about the benefits of a single-payer, publicly funded healthcare system. He remains passionate about this issue and served as a board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare for the last decade.
In addition to his clinical duties, Ryan was until recently a professor at the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, where he led the Division of Social Accountability, helping to ensure that Saskatchewan’s future doctors are equipped to meet the health needs of the diverse communities they serve.
Ryan was the founding coordinator of SWITCH, the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health. This student-run clinic brings students from nursing, social work, pharmacy, and many other disciplines together to serve the residents of Saskatoon's core communities. Ryan continues to work there as a supervising doctor.
Ryan also founded the College of Medicine's Making the Links program, which gives medical students the opportunity to work in Northern Saskatchewan, SWITCH, and rural communities in Mozambique. The program aims to provide students with opportunities to learn from patients about the social factors that influence their health.
An Active New Democrat
Ryan has been an active member of the NDP for nearly 20 years, a committed volunteer on numerous provincial and federal campaigns, and a public advocate on key issues of importance to New Democrats.
Ryan has twice before sought the leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP because he believes that more can and should be done to build a healthier society — and that the New Democratic Party had the legacy and the grassroots energy to make it happen. Both campaigns garnered much attention for their energy, creativity, innovative use of social media, volunteer engagement, and grassroots fundraising successes. In both previous campaigns, Ryan placed a close second, and remains strongly committed to putting people first by building a participatory movement for change within the NDP and within the province.
A common thread that runs through everything Ryan has done, from founding SWITCH and Making the Links, to his medical service, to his current work representing the people of Saskatoon Meewasin, is an unshakable optimism that together, we can build a better future, as well as an ability to inspire people from all walks of life to get involved in the work of making that better future a reality.
What couldn’t we achieve together, as a party and as a province, by putting that optimism and that commitment at the centre of our work?