Global Health 2015 Photo Contest

 By Sarah Boucaud

Each year we host the Global Health Photo Contest to recognize the many creative, thought provoking and ethical photos that our students, faculty and colleagues take.  We presented our winners during the Global Health Town Hall at the end of March. These beautiful images and inspiring stories remind us that global health is all around us.  In a farmer’s field, in children playing, or through the sharing of a quiet moment. We wanted to take the opportunity to show you the global health stories of this year’s contest winners. All the submissions, however, were truly thought provoking, attesting to the creativity and depth of global health involvement of the Dalhousie community!

This year, our 2nd place winner was Ho Chi Minh Commute by Carolyn Reardon and our 1st place winner was Honduras by Laura Stymiest.

Ho Chi Minh Commute
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, August 2012
By Carolyn Reardon

2015 photo contest creardon
This photo was snapped from a taxi during the morning rush hour in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where most commute by motorbike. I thought it was an interesting glimpse into the daily happenings of commuters in this busy city, where the hectic traffic challenges our perception of public safety as Canadians. The riders in the photo appear quite orderly for the split second the image was captured, while the different directions in which the riders aim their bikes and glances reveals the dynamic nature of each of their positions. The face masks worn by each of the riders in the photo speaks to local concern with air quality, while also providing a representation of how as individuals, we take measures to protect our own health on a daily basis, and challenges the viewer to compare and contrast such measures in their own daily life with those in the image.


Honduras, February 2011
By Laura Stymiest

2015 photo contest lstymiestPrior to entering medical school, I was part of a group of health professionals who traveled to rural Honduran villages annually to operate mobile health units. Many mornings we would arrive in a village just after dawn to a line of hundreds of individuals hoping to receive care.

My role was to translate from Spanish to English for a Pediatrician. I remember one day in particular where one after another we saw emotionally charged cases. An infant failing to grow secondary to a cleft palate that had never been repaired, preventing him from feeding normally. A young boy who had lost his vision after an accident while working in a plantain field.



At the end of the day we had worked through our lineup but I felt we had hardly scraped the surface of this community’s health needs.  A bit discouraged, I was walking back to the bus to begin loading up our equipment when I saw these two young children walking home in an embrace. I had a moment of realizing that children represent the best of humanity. Although they lacked many of the luxuries of children at home, these children looked to be genuinely happy. I imagined them to be resilient and their warmth spelled out health to me — a kind of health that surpasses our usual definition and places happiness at the core.

Thank you to all who submitted photos this years, the images and narratives were truly inspiring!

Case Competitions: A capstone learning experience

By Sarah Boucaud, MHA(c)

You don’t often hear the words “health” and “competition” in the same sentence, but with Dalhousie hosting their first Health Care Team Challenge, the health professional programs are looking to competition as a fun, interdisciplinary way to learn.

In fact, it was a big year for Dalhousie in regards to health care related case competitions. At the end of February 2015, I participated with two of my colleagues in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Case Competition. It was a challenging and highly rewarding experience. We had three weeks to solve a health care case based in the United States and present it to a mock Board of Directors in Alabama. The case was comprehensive and involved building new service lines, strategic recruitment processes, and space allocation within new facilities. It was an unforgettable experience. We were the only Canadian team among 38 other teams from the United States.

The University of Alabama Case Competition was an opportunity to combine all of the knowledge and skills attained from the Master of Health Administration into a single academic endeavour. Drawing on more than just academic proficiencies, successful participation required teamwork, endurance, and unwavering determination. The chance to compete against schools from the U.S. was a rare opportunity to be immersed into another health care system—it was without question one of the most challenging and rewarding academic experiences of my degree. – Bennett Jovaisas, MHA(c)

A handful of times, other participants told us how “brave” we were to tackle a case based in a health system other than our own. In truth, we probably had a bigger learning curve during that three week case preparation period than most teams. However, throughout our experience, the commonalities of our two systems became apparent. We all want the same outcomes: happy and healthy populations. We also face similar challenges in achieving this goal, such as changing demographics and the need reduce costs.

The experience was invaluable. I learned a lot about a different health care system and a different way to perceive health. I also gained insight into my own strengths in working as a team and how to support one another in a demanding environment. We all come to the table with different experiences and ideas, but having those tough discussions around a common problem can truly generate new and innovative solutions.

Collaboration plays a valuable role in health care, but after this experience, I can’t help but think that a little competition is a useful learning tool in the health professions!


A global health paid internship opportunity: Pack your bags for Tanzania!

Why do you want to study or work abroad? For a new experience? To challenge your perceptions? To explore and learn from new health systems?

gho_internships_tanzania_summer2015There are a multitude of reasons and reciprocal benefits to global health internships and community learning opportunities. What often lacks is the resources to undertake these experiences. That’s why you can’t let this opportunity pass you by! The Global Health Office is offering two paid internships this summer in Tanzania with an NGO focused on HIV and community based care. These internships are made possible by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships Grant from the Government of Canada. Once again, not only do you have the support of GHO staff, but up to $6, 000 to cover airfare, living expenses, vaccinations, and visas. 

From May until August, you will work closely with Tanzanian staff at PASADA on projects related to HIV/AIDS. The internship positions are for two project assistants (Key Populations and Prevention with Positive Clubs).

There is still time to apply! The application deadline is March 27, 2015. Please contact for more information or visit our website.

If you can’t get out of your current summer plans to make this opportunity a reality, stay tuned for the summer of 2016. There are more internship opportunities to come! You can also check out our other local and global health programs through

Have you heard about Rohit Ramchandani?

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant

Who is Rohit Ramchandani?

a) A “Rising Star in Global Health”
b) Public health adviser & principal investigator at ColaLife
c) A guest speaker at Dalhousie
d) All of the above

If you answered “d) All of the above”, you are correct!

Photo courtesy of linkedin

Dr. Ramchandani, Photo courtesy of linkedin

Whatever your answer choice, are you interested in hearing more?

Dr. Rohit Ramchandani is a public health adviser & principal investigator at ColaLife. This innovative charity asked the question: “Coca-Cola seems to get everywhere in developing countries, yet essential medicines don’t. Why?” Using the same principles and networks that Coca-Cola and other commodity producers use, ColaLife seeks to open up private sector supply chains for ‘social products’. These include oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to treat diarrhea.

Dr. Ramchandani is also Founder & Executive Director, Antara Global Health Advisors; Doctor of Public Health Candidate, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; and Adjunct Lecturer, University of Waterloo School of Public Health & Health Systems. He is recognized as a “Rising Star in Global Health”, and his work focuses on improving lives, increasing equity, and preventing needless loss of life by providing global health expertise, experience, partnerships, and evidence-based public health and management advice.

Still not satisfied in your quest for knowledge? – See Dr. Ramchandani in person

Come see him speak live at our Global Health Town Hall March 31 @ 5:30 pm! This event will also celebrate Global Health Awards, Photo Contest winners and student graduations.

Graduations: Advocates in Global Health and Health Systems Certificate


  • Dr. Ron Stewart Student Award
  • Dr. Jock Murray Resident Award
  • Dr. John Savage Memorial Faculty Award

Please RSVP:
Looking for more event information?

See you there!

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

IMG and IMU Alumni: Where are they now? – Part 4

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant


Kevin Teeluckdharry (IMG – Class of 2014)

Good teachers, a great environment conducive to learning. . . These are often things we hear from our alumni. Dalhousie University and the International Medical University of Malaysia have had a partnership for over 20 years. Each year, six IMU students are eligible to complete third- and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie leading to a Canadian Medical Doctorate degree. The program is managed through the Glboal Health Office. See what some of our recent alumni are doing now!

Where did you train and practice medicine?

Kevin Teeluckdharry

Kevin Teeluckdharry (IMG – Class of 2014)

I trained in Ukraine and Mauritius.  I practiced in Mauritius as a general practitioner

Why did you choose Nova Scotia?

As an islander, the Maritimes remind me of home!

What was the value of participating in the IMG Clerkship program at Dalhousie?

It enabled me to reintegrate into the medical field in Canada.

What is your intent for practicing in the province?

My intent is to practice as a family physician in a community for Nova Scotia


IMU and IMG Alumni: Where are they now? – Part 3

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant


Dr. Suha Masalmeh MD (IMG – Class of 2013)

Good teachers, a great environment conducive to learning. . . These are often things we hear from our alumni. Dalhousie University and the International Medical University of Malaysia have had a partnership for over 20 years. Each year, six IMU students are eligible to complete third- and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie leading to a Canadian Medical Doctorate degree. The program is managed through the Glboal Health Office. See what some of our recent alumni are doing now!

Suha Masalmeh, MD (IMG - Class of 2013)

Suha Masalmeh, MD (IMG – Class of 2013)

Where did you train and practice medicine?

My first medical school was in Aleppo University in Syria. I worked as an intern in several fields of medicine in Syria to fulfill a rotational internship.

Why did you choose Nova Scotia?

My family migrated to Nova Scotia and I accompanied them.

What was the value of participating in the IMG Clerkship program at Dalhousie?

Participating in the IMG Clerkship Program helped me overcome the barriers that international medical graduates face to practice medicine in Canada. Obtaining the Canadian MD helped me overcome obstacles that IMGs are facing through their journey. Also it helped me identify opportunities for a better integration of IMGs in the Canadian health system.

What is your intent for practicing in the province?

I plan to work in Nova Scotia as a Family Physician.

Any additional comments? 

IMG road to licensing is tough and unclear, despite the efforts of many dedicated individuals and organizations. Throughout our journey, there are many unfair and unnecessary steps, which add cost to our system and society. I also believe that hard work, perseverance and patience are the best qualities an IMG would require for success. Canada is the land of opportunities.

IMU and IMG Alumni: Where are they now? – Part 2

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant


Dr. Alison Lopez, MD (IMU – Class of 2013)

Good teachers, a great environment conducive to learning. . . These are often things we hear from our alumni. Dalhousie University and the International Medical University of Malaysia have had a partnership for over 20 years. Each year, six IMU students are eligible to complete third- and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie leading to a Canadian Medical Doctorate degree. The program is managed through the Glboal Health Office. See what some of our recent alumni are doing now!

Where are you originally from?Alison Lopez


Why did you choose Nova Scotia/Dalhousie?

In all honesty, transferring to Dal wasn’t part of my plan initially. I didn’t know much about Nova Scotia prior to moving here. In our med school, we rank all our partner universities and then you go through a matching system and I ended up being matched to Dal. I debated if I should go through with it since I barely knew anything about life in Canada other than it gets cold in the winter. Finally, I decided there was a reason I got matched to Dal and moved over.

What was the value of participating in the IMU Clerkship program at Dalhousie?

For me a major benefit of joining a North American school was the residency system. Where I come from, you have to do at least 2 years of intern training before applying to specialize and that can also take many years. In North America, you go into residency straight out of med school. I also was told by previous IMU students that the Dal programme gave their med students a lot of hands on experience.

Where are you currently located and what are your involved in?

I’m currently a 2nd year paediatrics resident at MUN.

What is your intent for practicing medicine?

I wish to pursue a fellowship in Paediatric Infectious Diseases.

Any additional comments?

Despite not initially planning on transferring to Dal initially, things have worked out great. It was hard work adjusting to a new med school/health care system but with time not to mention trying sort out applying for residency. It paid off in the end.

IMG and IMU Alumni: Where are they now? – Part 1

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant


Good teachers, a great environment conducive to learning. . . These are often things we hear from our alumni. Dalhousie University and the International Medical University of Malaysia have had a partnership for over 20 years. Each year, six IMU students are eligible to complete third- and fourth-year clerkships at Dalhousie leading to a Canadian Medical Doctorate degree. The program is managed through the Glboal Health Office. See what some of our recent alumni are doing now!

Dr. Randy Aung, MD (IMU – Class of 2014)

Randy Aung

Randy Aung, MD (IMU-Class of 2014)

Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Myanmar (Burma). When I was fifteen, I moved to Singapore, where I completed high school. In 2009, I started my medical studies in International Medical University (IMU) in Malaysia before transferring to Dalhousie Medical School in 2012.

Why did you choose Nova Scotia/Dalhousie?

When I was doing my research on different partner medical schools, I was fascinated with the hands-on North American medical curriculum. I chose Dalhousie mainly because I wanted to pursue residency and fellowship training in North America.

What was the value of participating in the IMU Clerkship program at Dalhousie?

As a medical student, you are given full responsibility for the care of your patients (under the supervision of the staff physicians and residents, of course). You are treated as a member of the team and are able to directly contribute during rounds. Despite the long and demanding working hours, the hands-on experience that you get from the clinical rotations are highly rewarding and will help bridge the gap between medical school and residency.

Where are you currently located and what are your involved in?

I am currently working on a Master degree in Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. I am also involved in a few research projects and working towards publications. I intend to apply for pediatrics residency in the United States this year.

What is your intent for practicing medicine?

Medicine is not only a respectful, but also a rewarding career. Especially in pediatrics, it is indeed rewarding to see smiles on the faces of the children and parents that you have helped and you know that you have actually made a difference in their lives.

Any additional comments?

I am glad that I chose to come to Dalhousie Medical School. The learning environment in the hospital is conducive where staff physicians, residents and nurses are all supportive of your education. I feel that I am well prepared and feel confident to go into residency.

The Emerging Themes of Ebola: One Health

By: Benjamin Capps, Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
December 2014


I was invited to give a talk for an event on ‘Ebola: Perspectives on the Epidemic ̴ Where to Begin’ taking place on 20th November 2014.[1] The immediate ethical concerns of the outbreak were raised: the dire conditions of the people the disease is affecting, and the consequent response from the international community. However, an additional point to reflect upon was that Ebola, just one of many zoonotic diseases, raises questions that can be rendered with the broadest brush – the makros kósmos – the idea of a global health response.


Benjamin Capps Image courtesy of the Department of Bioethics

Zoonotic viruses, diseases that transmit between humans and non-human animals, are intimately linked to ecological niches; each virus can be stirred from its environment through different connections,  and each has a different potential for illness, endemic and pandemic. Questions like ‘Why now?’ and ‘What next?’ are significant, then, not only in the local devastation that these diseases cause, but also in respect to their effect on the global community. For Ebola, at this point we are dealing in the unknowns and knowns of the ‘ecology of the virus’. This is because until now it has been found only in remote areas of Africa (but nevertheless decimating those communities it comes into contact with), and little was known about its potential for, and behaviour during an epidemic. We know little about the natural history of the virus – we still don’t know the reservoirs,[2] or why so rarely it emerges in human populations. However, I suspect that many – those studying the nature of the virus in its natural environment – thought that not only an outbreak of this magnitude was possible, but also likely; and filling these gaps will affect our ability to formulate clinical and ethical responses.

The emergence of zoonotic diseases is becoming ever more common; and they are cropping up in far more diverse places and often not always those that are remote, wilderness fringed communities (recently: bird flu in Canada, Germany, Netherlands and the UK; this year in South Korea, Japan and Malaysia). New kinds of zoonotic virus, such as Marburg, Hanta, Hendra, Nipah, and MERS viruses, are threatening humanity, our closest relatives (the great apes), and other animals at unprecedented levels;[3] and their effects on the wider ecologies (including how we respond to them) is devastating.


Ebola virus Image courtesy of the CDC

We therefore need to appreciate how and why the environment only spits them out when challenged or stressed; why the viruses spill over and emerge in human populations only sometimes; and thereby understand how we might better avoid them altogether?[4]

In this respect, an emerging area of study, called One Health, is demonstrating that not only will a healthy ecology be less likely to send these viruses our way, but it can also protect us by buffering and ‘soaking up’ zoonoses.[5] So, we need to look to other solutions of prevention, not just the ‘pandemic plans’ that tend to decimate local animal populations (culling of domestic animals and local wildlife), threaten ecological diversity and socio-economic sustainability (the impacts on agricultural and cultural ecological co-dependence), and then tend only to be useful after the event and once human-to-human transmission is sustained.

Event poster courtesy of Dal Med GHI

Event poster courtesy of Dal Med GHI

Overall, we ought to be looking to better ways to minimise the emergence of these diseases through an ecological perspective; understanding not only the human effects and solutions that presences (vaccines, public health measures), but also the reservoirs, connections and drivers of disease emergence. It is clear that land use (mining, oil refining), deforestation, and urbanisation are having an unprecedented effect on these ecological niches; so, we need to start accounting for local needs – including land management, like farming and husbandry; economic and political priorities in these countries that are most at risk; and the global interactions that are conditional on disease emergence.

These debates need to start off on better footing, by engaging with a much broader expert base and expanding traditional and often too narrow public health concerns.[6] This dialog must include veterinarians, biologists, ecologists and anthropologists; and as diverse as economists and historians. The risks are known, if not well understood, and we need to develop ideas about how human beings can better and more effectively live within the ecology that potentially harbours these diseases.


[1] My thanks to the organiser of the event, Suzanne Clarke, a MED2 Student from the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. Suzanne also assisted with the drafting of this blog. The event was presented by Dal Med Global Health Initiative, Dalhousie University Global Health Office, Capital Health, Dalhousie Medical Students Society, Health Association of African Canadians & The Tropical Medicine Student Interest Group, and broadcast in multiple locations across The Maritimes, Canada. The opinions expressed here are my own.

[2] Probably bats; but we still don’t know how it gets into them, how it resides there, or how it then emerges in susceptible populations like human beings and other primates; Plowright, R. et al. 2015. Ecological Dynamics of Emerging Bat Virus Spillover. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142124; Pignott, D. et al. 2014. Mapping the Zoonotic Niches of Ebola Virus Disease in Africa. eLife 3: e04395.

[3] See: Genton, C. et al. 2014. How Ebola Impacts Social Dynamics in Gorillas: A multistate Modeling Approach. Journal of Animal Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12268; Walsh, P. et al. 2007. Natural History Miscellany: Potential for Ebola Transmission between Gorilla and Chimpanzee Social Groups. The American Naturalist 169: 684-689.

[4] Capps, B., Bailey, M., Bickford, D., Coker, R., Lederman, Z., Lover, A., Lysaght, T., and Tambyah, P. (In press; 2014). Introducing One Health to the Ethical Debate about Zoonotic Diseases in South East Asia. Bioethics.

[5] See: N. Harris & R. Dunn. Species Loss on Spatial Patterns and Composition of Zoonotic Parasites. Proc R Soc B 2013; 280: 20131847; F. Keesing, et al. Impacts of Biodiversity on the Emergence and Transmission of Infectious Diseases. Nature 2010; 468: 647–652.

[6] Capps, B. and Lederman, Z. 2014. One Health and Paradigms of Public Biobanking. Journal of Medical Ethics.Online first doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101828.

2014 CBIE Conference : Building a Reputation for Supportive Environments – Part 2

By Sarah Boucaud, Outreach Assistant, Global Health Office


In Part 1, we shared Said’s findings from the 2014 Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Conference held in Ottawa from November 19th – 22nd , 2014. During this time, Canadian institutions came together under the theme of “ Diplomacy of Knowledge” to discuss the strengthening of national and international collaboration between institutions, enhancing of student services, strategic recruitment models and creating workable approaches to educating future global leaders.

What is diplomacy of knowledge? The Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, opened the conference’s first plenary session with his personal and professional remarks on diplomacy of knowledge. In his brief address, the Governor General of Canada defined this term as a  “a shared knowledge across national and international borders leading to social and economic innovation“.

Through this knowledge sharing process and his personal obervations, Said offers considerations for the Faculty of Medicine, here at Dalhousie. International students make a very significant contribution to our university and in keeping with Dalhousie’s internationalization strategy, considerations under the following themes were offered:

Student Support & Services

International student support and services at Dalhousie University should:

1. Enhance intra collaboration (i.e., Work with stakeholders within Dalhousie to develop a consistent system of record-keeping to track international students to realize academic and cultural needs)
2. Enhanced faculty and staff cultural competency
3. Re-examine barriers facing international students within the Faculty of Medicine
4. Offer international students some of the same student services as domestic students. For example, bursaries and external scholarships.

Internationalization Plan for FOM

1. Establish a survey to collect information from departments in order to identify the number of international student within units and to assess students’ individual needs.
2. Identify departmental “recruitment” need for international students including strategic recruitment in collaboration with Faculty of Graduate Studies.

A few final remarks. . .

The CBIE conference highlighted many benefits and some challenges of having international student programs. It is conclusive that Canadian institutions need international students to compete in the “global race for research talent”. To remain competitive, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine should take measures to distinguish itself from the growing number of players in international education. Dalhousie must not only continue to provide the current high quality educational experience, but also identify opportunities to conitnue to move toward a reputation as the most supportive educational environment for international students.