By: Christina Torrealba (she/her), Graduate Student in Community Health and Epidemiology
For this installment of the GHO blog, I chatted with Chris Yeats (he/him), the coordinator for international students pursuing medical education at Dalhousie through the Office of Community Partnerships and Global Health.
When taking on his current role, Chris says he was “more than happy to join a team dedicated to improving social accountability, fostering diversity, and engaging in anti-oppressive practices.” Chris’ educational journey has transformed his life. His experiences have led him to seek out “roles that support and empower learners to reach their own educational goals as well as to foster an environment that allows learners to examine the social world through a diverse ethical lens and to be able to contribute to the well-being of the global community.”
This commitment is reflected in Chris’ work with the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) curriculum at Dalhousie. Chris is working with the Curriculum Refresh Committee to ensure medical students receive the most effective, equitable, and relevant medical education, specifically through evaluating the case studies used in UGME curriculum. Chris is working on creating a database of case studies which will allow the Curriculum Refresh Committee to identify what is missing – ensuring that UGME case studies are equitable, diverse and inclusive.
On top of his work with the Curriculum Refresh Committee, Chris is also involved with opportunities for international medical students. Dalhousie University has been partnering with the International Medical University (IMU) in Malaysia since 1996, welcoming up to six IMU students. IMU students start their journey at Dalhousie with the IMU Link program, where they complete eight weeks of classes and four weeks of clinical skills before starting year three of medical school. The purpose of the Link program is to enhance their training so they can start their third year at Dalhousie with the necessary tools. The Link program is also a great mentorship opportunity for incoming IMU students and senior IMU students, to learn about the program and to adjust to life in Halifax.
How remarkable the IMU Link Program is, not only for Dalhousie, but also for Nova Scotia as a whole
Of course, COVID has added new challenges to the Link Program, but Chris says that they were able to successfully navigate the lockdown and public health requirements through “extensive collaboration and consultation with the NSHA, and weekly modification of the Link deliverables”. Thanks to the Centre for Collaborative Clinical Learning and Research (C3LR), they were still able to deliver integral clinical and simulated educational components during the spring of 2021. Despite the COVID-related challenges , Chris says that the global pandemic has shown how flexible and innovative we can be in our work. “Whether it is virtual meetings or supporting a student in crisis, we have adapted and found ways to be successful despite the meaningful ways COVID has impacted our lives”, Chris says.
One thing that Chris wants readers to take away is “just how remarkable the IMU Link program is, not only for Dalhousie, but also for Nova Scotia as a whole.” The IMU learners that join Dalhousie bring so much to UGME and the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie. “Our partnership with the IMU have strengthened and diversified the educational experiences with the FoM; the learners contribute academically, conduct research, and serve the health needs of Nova Scotians,” says Chris. Check out these links to learn more about the IMU students, and the UGME Curriculum Refresh.