Building expertise

Dr. Jean Francois Lemay

A Calgary physician is helping Haiti rebuild its medical community through the development of a surgical course for the four universities.

With the help of the University of Calgary’s Global Health and International Partnerships, the course has trained more than 200 students, readying them to become interns.

Before the earthquake, the teaching style was like from the 1950s with professors reading from a book and students taking notes ... They were just waiting for someone to bring them into the 21st century.

VIDEO

Watch this video from the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine to see the effects of the earthquake in Haiti.

Teaching in HaitiEven before the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Haiti was already one of the world’s poorest nations. In the aftermath of the destruction, Haiti needed international aid not only to rebuild what it had lost, but also build the things it never had – including medical education that meets international standards.

It’s that challenge that prompted Calgary pediatrician and professor Dr. Jean Francois Lemay to get involved.

“A faculty member at the University of Quisqueya sent out an SOS,” recalls Dr. Lemay. Quisqueya’s medical faculty had been decimated and they needed help or the entire teaching year would be lost.

Students in HaitiFollowing his return from his first four-day trip to Haiti, he and a colleague from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec applied for funding to develop a surgical course for the four universities in Haiti.

Although the earthquake is what led to his involvement, he soon realized Haiti’s problems were more complex than recovering from a natural disaster. “Before the earthquake, the teaching style was like from the 1950s with professors reading from a book and students taking notes,” he explains. “They were just waiting for someone to bring them into the 21st century.”

With the help of the University of Calgary’s Global Health and International Partnerships, the course has trained more than 200 students, readying them to become interns.

Practicing techniques“Nothing is easy in Haiti, but this has been a huge success. It’s created a mini-revolution in the medical community there. ” It’s also inspired Dr. Lemay to make Haiti a part of his future. “I can’t walk away now. There’s so much more we can do.”

More about Dr. Lemay's projects

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