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

Malaysia.

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.

benjamincapps

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.

about-ebola

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.

2015_ebolablog

[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.

2014 CBIE Conference: The Competitive Edge of Supporting International Students – Part 1

By: Sarah Boucaud, Outreach Assistant, Global Health Office

 

In late November, the Global Health Office’s own Said Msabaha attended the 2014 Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Conference. This year’s theme was “ Diplomacy of Knowledge” and brought over 800 delegates together to discuss on the topics of strengthening national and international collaboration between institutions, enhancing student services, strategic recruitment models and creating workable approaches to educating future global leaders, among others.  The conference featured over 60 concurrent sessions from recruitment, admissions, and retention to tracking of alumni post graduation.

In attendance was representatives from regional, national and international educational agencies, diplomats, private consultants, educational institutions and federal elected officials. The sessions and conversations among these delegates celebrated the many benefits of having international student programs. However, delegates also rallied around some key challenges Canadian institutions are facing in the “global race for research talent”. Themes to this effect included fostering a supportive medical education environment and tracking post graduate success. In Part 1 of this series, Said shares with us a few key observations from his experience at the CBIE Conference:

1. Transitions:

Several Canadian delegates representing institutions indicated that international students are experiencing difficulty during transition including but not limited to language difficulties, culture related learning differences and academic support issues. I noted some similarities with our experiences with the IMU students in earlier cohorts. Since 2010 our program continues to be more comprehensive and is gradually eliminating transition related issues.

2. Tracking post graduation:

Tracking of international students post graduation is also a challenge for most of our institutions. At the Global Health Office we began tracking our IMU students in 2010 using several measures including social media. This has proved helpful as we now know where and what most of our recent graduates are engaged in.

These observations demonstrated common concerns and hopes delegates shared in delivering high quality education to international students. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll offer considerations flowing from these observations!

For more on this conference please see Part 2 of this series.

cbie

Image courtesy of www.cbie.ca

2014_CBIE_Conference_WEB-220

Image courtesy of www.cbie.ca

MEDAASE! THANK YOU! – PART 2

By: Sarah Boucaud, Outreach Assistant, Global Health Office, Dalhousie University
 
 

Our Canada World Youth (CWY) interns, Oksana and Priscilla, have been great additions to the Global Health Office team! We are sad to see them go at the end of their 3 month internship here, but were happy to hear that they were ready to meet the next part of their journey with a global health mindset.

We introduced our wonderful volunteers to you back in early November, where they shared with us their excitement for the adventures ahead. Both Oksana and Priscilla were new to the city of Halifax. Their three month stay here was part of the CWY program, where students are paired with a counterpart from another country. They spend half of their time in their home country and the other half abroad.
Last week, Priscilla shared with you her dreams of promoting health in her home country of Ghana and how volunteering at the Global Health Office was a learning experience towards meeting this goal. Now it’s time to hear from Oksana, our volunteer from Vancouver, and her experiences.
When we first met Oksana, she wanted to explore health issues beyond geographic borders:

I think it’s important to help decrease health inequities around the world, regardless of race, culture, gender or social class

Now, before heading off on the next step of her adventure, she wanted to share with you some thoughts on her experience and the time she spent with the Dalhousie community:
Oksana

Unfortunately the  my 3-month stay in Halifax has come to an end! And it is now time for my work partner, Priscilla, and I to leave the Global Health Office.

Not too long ago, Priscilla and I came to the Global Health Office with Canada World Youth. Since then, I’ve learnt so much about Halifax’s history.

Working with the Global Health Office gave me great insight into health at a global perspective as well as domestic health within marginalized groups. Our wonderful supervisor, Michelle, set up the opportunity for us to sit in on classes about multicultural health promotion. With that class we went on a trip to Indian Brook and listened to a speaker talk about her experiences living on a First Nations reserve and the history of her ancestry.

Leading up to AIDS week we learned a lot about AIDS and interesting facts that I had no idea about before. It was really shocking to learn that every 9.5 minutes in the U.S. someone is diagnosed with AIDS.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the East Coast. Being from the West Coast, it was a fun opportunity to experience the other side of Canada. I was able to go to Peggy’s Cove and explore all over Halifax.

We, at the Global Health Office, also want to extend a thank you for the Halifax and Dalhousie community. The experiences Priscilla and Oksana shared throughout the last three months was made possible by an open and friendly community that was ready to show our interns what Halifax has to offer.

Thank you! or Medaase!

Oksana and Priscilla                                     O&P_Farewell

MEDAASE! THANK YOU! – Part 1

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office

 

It was a pleasure working with our Canada World Youth (CWY) interns, Oksana and Priscilla, over the course of their 3 month stay in Halifax. We introduced our wonderful volunteers to you back in early November, where they shared with us their excitement for the adventures ahead. Both Oksana and Priscilla were new to the city of Halifax. Oksana is from Vancouver, Canada, and Priscilla from is from Tema, Ghana.

These bright individuals were interested in broadening their perpectives in global health. Priscilla saw global health as an avenue for promoting health back in Ghana:

Volunteering with the Global Health Office has been a step to help me realise what I really want to pursue since I have an interest in health. I hope to learn more about health and possible careers in order to create a platform to educate my home country more about their health and well-being.

Let’s hear from Priscilla first, and see how her experience helped her to work towards these goals:

Priscilla

Finally, my time here in Halifax has come to an end! I began volunteering on the 7th of October and so soon, the three month period is over.

Working with Michelle Patrick, my work supervisor, has been great. I have had many opportunities through her and the Global Health Office, where I:

  • Visited local high schools to promote leadership in health for African Nova Scotians
  • Toured the black community of North Preston. It was beautiful
  • Attended lectures at Dalhousie, which deepened my knowledge
  • Volunteered with the Student Health Promotion Centre
  • Fostered AIDS awareness during AIDS week
  • and Developed many new skills: wrote blog posts, learned to use PowerPoint and a Macbook, and became familiar with many other computer programs

I will say a very big thank you to CWY and the Global Health Office. CWY has made an inspiring and life changing program available to youth around the world. I also want to thank the Global Health Office for every bit of knowledge, ideas, and experiences. It doesn’t end for me here. I will continue to promote good health in my country and hopefully come back to learn and gain more skills.

The adventures and learning opportunities of our young volunteers are not over. They have the second half of their CWY internship to look forward to!

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of this series to hear from Oksana and her experiences at the Global Health Office!

Oksana and Priscilla

Oksana and Priscilla

The 12 Successes of Global Health at Dalhousie 2014

Happy Holidays!
This year we have created a video of The 12 Successes of Global Health at Dalhousie 2014

Here is our countdown for you.

Remembering the past year, the Global Health Office said to me,

We led 12 sessions in the Global Health Certificate,
We offered 11 partnerships for international electives,
We received 10 submissions for the global health photo contest,
We distributed over 9 bursaries to medical students doing an international elective,
We sent 8 students to represent Dalhousie at the Global Health Conference in Ottawa,
We visited 7 high schools to promote leadership in health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS),
We recruited 6 IMU students,
We graduated 5 Global Health Advocates,
We placed 4 medical students in the Local Global Health Elective,
We presented 3 global health awards,
We hosted 2 Canada World Youth interns,
and we hosted the first Global Health Rounds at Dalhousie!

Thank you for a successful year of exciting new initiatives and planning for the future. As we look back on our achievements, we would like to thank all of our friends for contributing to this success. We are excited about a bright 2015!

The Global Health Office at Dalhousie University.