A global perspective

August 6, 2013

Dr. Christine L. Gibson attends East Africa Family Medicine Initiative (EAFMI) breakout groups

Dr. Christine L. Gibson, a Calgary family medicine specialist and director of the University of Calgary’s global health training program for family medicine residents, aims to increase medical capacity in underdeveloped nations through her Global Generation Foundation (GGF).

I was really inspired during these visits to Asia and Africa, where I saw the disparity between where the physicians work and where the people live.

An empty ward in AfricaDr. Christine L. Gibson is passionate about family medicine.

So much so that she created the Global Generation Foundation (GGF) in 2011, specifically to build medical capacity in countries around the world by helping to educate family physicians who will live and practice where they are needed most.

“I was really inspired during these visits to Asia and Africa, where I saw the disparity between where the physicians work and where the people live,” explains Dr. Gibson, who was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine the year the foundation began. “In a lot of these countries, you have 80% of the physicians in the city while 80% of the population lives rurally.”

Dr. Gibson launched the not-for-profit in collaboration with her husband, a Calgary entrepreneur, with a goal of “health for all.” GGF has attracted interest from dozens of volunteers with expertise in medicine and community development.

They’ve also worked to establish respectful partnerships with groups that share their commitment to family medicine and capacity building.

East Africa Family Medicine Initiative (EAFMI) meeting in Tanzania 2011“Family medicine is really an emerging specialty in some parts of the world and to be part of helping these countries define how to meet their community needs is quite exciting."

As with any small organization, funding is always a struggle and GGF will be hosting a golf tournament on August 15 to raise funds to support ongoing projects in Africa. Those projects, along with initiatives like GGF’s waiting room sessions, where family physicians offer talks on subjects people don’t discuss with their own doctor, have become a driving passion for Dr. Gibson.

“I really feel like the world could be doing more to support its neighbours better. Now is the time to do it and I want to be a part of that.”

More about this initiative

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