Kate Peiyin Zhang is a medical resident at University of Toronto.
“I can’t afford to see a dentist or pay for medication,” says the patient sitting across from me. “Can you help me?”
Ten years ago, I was in this patient’s shoes. I immigrated to Canada with my parents when I was 13; we were a family of three living on $12,000 a year. It was tough being poor. I worked multiple jobs to help make ends meet while attending school full-time. Studying medicine never crossed my mind as a possibility. My family experienced multiple barriers to accessing health care, but we also met compassionate physicians who made all the difference in our lives, and they are the ones who inspired me to pursue a career as a doctor. ...continue reading →
Yipeng Ge is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Ottawa
Humbled. I am so truly humbled that I get to work with and learn from so many passionate medical students with such strong and refined values, morals, and dedication to their causes.
I am specifically speaking about the shift in the medical learner community to respond more attentively and compassionately; to acknowledge the importance of health and social inequities as they affect and inform our medical education and profession, and — more importantly — how they ultimately affect our current and future patients. Patients do not experience the health system not as an isolated entity (though for many of us in the healthcare field, it can certainly feel as though our assistance is limited to clinic rooms); instead, they are affected by the many determinants of health and wellbeing beyond the direct control and impact of clinicians in the healthcare setting. ...continue reading →
Kim Griswold is Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Public Health and Health Professions at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Buffalo, New York. Dr Griswold will be speaking at the forthcoming North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting.
Communities in every nation are faced with providing competent, equitable and culturally appropriate services for resettling refugees. Health centric disciplines are not enough to meet the challenges presented by these newly arriving populations, nor to alleviate the disparities they face – such as isolation, limited English proficiency, differences in patients’ attitudes and health literacy levels, and a lack of cultural awareness on the part of providers.
Health inequity can be defined as: “unjust differences in health between persons of different social groups.” ...continue reading →
More than 800 000 Canadians access food banks each month, and no province or territory is unaffected by food insecurity. As citizens of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Canadians should not have to struggle to put healthy meals on their families’ tables — families living on minimum wage should not have to go into debt to benefit from a nutritious diet. We tend to concern ourselves with these issues during traditional “giving” holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a result, donations to food banks hit a lull during the summer, which unfortunately coincides with increased demand due to children no longer being enrolled in school-based meal programs. We need to be concerned year-round. ...continue reading →
Boluwaji Ogunyemi is a Dermatology Resident Physician in Vancouver, BC, and a freelance writer for the Huffington Post, Ubyssey Newspaper, and the Online Journal for Community and Person-centered Dermatology
As one of my last off-service rotations in residency, I completed an elective rotation in refugee primary care. I was attracted to the idea of a global population placed locally, because I plan to work internationally as part of my future practice, and I enjoy cross-cultural aspects of medicine.
My street outreach teammates and I saw a slight, older woman who had literally been living in a box for months.* The box was about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3 feet high and was covered by a blue plastic tarp. Her furnishings consisted of a few blankets. The “dwelling” was in an alleyway just behind some shops. The lady was disinterested in any form of housing or treatment and never accessed shelters: she always slept in her box. She repeatedly said that she would soon be moving to a Caribbean island. During a particularly bitter cold spell, we became concerned with her safety, and I completed a form for involuntary psychiatric assessment. The emergency department psychiatrist agreed with me that she likely had chronic schizophrenia, but the client was calm and would not take any medication. She promised the emergency department staff that she would go to a shelter if she was discharged. We made it clear that she was unlikely to do so, but after one night in emergency she was given a subway token to go to a shelter. She disappeared and was lost to follow-up. ...continue reading →
Ogochukwu Crystal Williams is a Child Protection Specialist and Director/Founder of Uniquely Destined Ltd. in Blackfalds, Alberta
I feel a need to highlight the deficit and treatment of mental illness still taking place in this day and age. I am a British citizen who currently resides and works in Canada. I have more than 7 years’ experience in the field of child protection and mental health, working with both children and adults in the United Kingdom and North America. In the UK, I helped develop and establish policies for organizations and charities that are used internationally. From direct experience, I realize that mental health is a global issue. ...continue reading →
Abdullah Nasser is a medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, in London, Ontario
The lecture hall slowly came to life. Notebooks in hand, the students filed in to take the front rows. They spoke in hushed tones, ready to put those notebooks to use at any minute. I have not seen a crowd of students so eager to start. But this was not your average university lecture. In fact, it was not a lecture at all. It was a premedical symposium intended to introduce them to medical schools and the application process.
As the symposium got underway, the various steps of the application process were explained in true medical fashion — with an alphabet soup. You write your MCAT, and then start your OMSAS. If you don’t mind being an IMG, you might also consider filling out your AMCAS or UCAS, just in case. Be prepared to do your MMIs if you they call you in for an interview.
The students seemed unfazed. They know medicine is their true calling. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since I was five,” one of them told me with a mixture of pride and determination.