Jaya Tanwani is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto
An interesting experience I had with cultural safety was when I volunteered at medical camps in rural Pakistan at age sixteen. My parents had taken my brother and me back to Pakistan—a country that we belonged to but had never resonated with—to visit our extended family and “get in touch with our roots.” As part of my parents’ efforts to help us become more aware of the privileged North American lives we lived, they insisted that I work with some doctors in running a medical camp. Having been attracted to medicine since I was a child, I leapt at the opportunity… only to shy away from the idea five minutes later when they told me that the medical camps were in rural Pakistan. I was scared. I didn’t want to desert the comforts of urban Pakistan, where McDonald’s and Pizza Hut were a block away and where I could still wear my Canadian attire. I was certainly not comfortable with the idea of working with a group of people so different from myself and so different from the modern, chic Pakistani society that my relatives lived in. ...continue reading
David Benrimoh is a fourth year medical student at McGill University
Dr. Cécile Rousseau is a professor of psychiatry at McGill University, working with refugee and immigrant children
The Syrian Civil War has become the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, creating over 4 million refugees. These refugees have, in large part, taken up precarious temporary residence in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. They are unlikely to find permanent residence there because of local integration policies, and so are left to either wait until the conflict in their homeland is resolved, or to apply to attempt to resettle in another country. It must be understood that those living in refugee camps face difficult conditions: sexual violence, trafficking of women and children, and lack of access to healthcare and education.
Because of poor conditions and limited opportunities in camps, many refugees try and make the move to another country. We have all seen reports of refugees drowning by the hundreds while trying to cross the Mediterranean, and the EU has been paralyzed by indecision with respect to who should take how many refugees. Canada has committed to taking in 10,000 refugees by year’s end ...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.
It would turn out that I received a lot more than I had bargained for! ...continue reading