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Canadian Paediatric Society

To make change, stay focused and be authentic: Physician advocates for refugee health

Posted on Dec 22 2015 by the Canadian Paediatric Society | Permalink

Topic(s): AdvocacyProfessional education

As the first planes carrying Syrian refugees to Canada were heading toward Toronto in December, two of the city’s foremost physician advocates for newcomer health were sharing their experiences with more than 100 webinar participants across Canada.

Dr. Meb Rashid, Medical Director of the Crossroads Clinic, talked about his work creating Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, which was formed in 2012 in response to cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program.

Dr. Paul Caulford, founder of the Canadian Centre for Immigrant and Refugee Health Care, recounted how a young girl with a life-threatening illness became the first of thousands of newcomers without health insurance he would take on as patients.

“When we started 16 years ago treating uninsured refugees, we thought we were fixing them,” reflected Dr. Caulford. “Strange thing though, they fixed us, and together we fixed each other. And the system is better. One just never knows.”

During the 90-minute webinar, Dr. Rashid and Dr. Caulford shared their advice on effective advocacy, including building coalitions, maintaining focus, and being authentic.

The webinar was the final one in a series hosted by the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Caring for Kids New to Canada initiative and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. If you missed it, visit the website to download the presentation and listen to the audio.


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Last updated: Dec 22 2015