Taking health global: Osler is headed to India

This week’s guest blog is from Dr. Naveed Mohammad, VP Medical Affairs and Co-Lead of Osler’s Global Health Program

India is a fascinating country. From its rich history and vibrant cultural traditions to its colourful festivals and culinary delights, it’s easy to become captivated. Living and working in the Greater Toronto Area means that we are very fortunate to be able to experience so much of what this culture has to offer without needing to travel too far.

Osler serves one of the fastest growing and most diverse communities in Ontario. According to data collected during the 2011 Census, more than 62 per cent of recent immigrants to Brampton and 42 per cent of immigrants to north Etobicoke are from India. This incredible statistic signals that the dynamics of providing health care need to change to meet unique needs of this growing patient population in the best way possible.

Given the extensive Punjabi community within our region, we decided that this area was the logical starting point for our Global Health Program. After months of extensive planning, a five-member clinical team from Osler will be travelling half way around the world to the Punjab region of India to explore ways we can contribute to the homelands of our local citizens and gather valuable insights on innovative practices that can be used to better meet the needs of our community.

When I was asked to be the clinical lead for the mission to India, I jumped at the opportunity to approach global health in a new way. Osler identified six clinical areas where there is the greatest potential for impact and the tour team was chosen based on these needs. The team includes:

  • David Koczerginski, Corporate Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Davinder Wadehra, Medical Director of Nephrology (representing chronic disease area)
  • Kelly Falzon, Director of Women’s, Children’s and Seniors Program
  • Gurpreet Rosales, Project Manager and Global Health Program Lead

I’m thrilled to be part of the team headed to India and right now, we are preparing to meet with hospital leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the cities of Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar and surrounding areas to learn more about health care in this region. We will also be visiting hospital-affiliated satellite clinics in rural areas where the team will see first-hand how health care services are delivered, which I imagine will be an extremely rewarding aspect of the trip.

An international mission like this doesn’t happen overnight. We have been carefully planning this tour for the past 18 months under the leadership of Susan deRyk and Gia D’Souza from Osler’s strategy team with strong support of the Global Health Steering Committee, an Advisory Group made up of staff and community members whose feedback has helped shape this experience, and Osler Foundation.

As we journey across Punjab, we will be sharing our experiences along the way. Follow @OslerHealth on Twitter and like our Facebook page for updates from the field. I personally can’t wait to share details about our experience and the exciting partnership opportunities that lie ahead!

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