Bursaries for Indigenous Medical Students

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Indigenous peoples face significant barriers to post-secondary education. As a result, far fewer First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada have a university degree than non-Indigenous Canadians. Achieving a medical degree is an even steeper climb due to a variety of factors, one of which is financial.

Currently, less than 1% of physicians identify as as Indigenous, so CMF has partnered with Indspire, a national Indigenous charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, and established a bursary specifically for future physicians.

CMF’s Bursaries for Indigenous Medical Students is Indspire’s only bursary open to medical students across Canada.

Learn more: Bursaries for Indigenous Medical Students

 

 

Project Completed: Improved infrastructure at the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti

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In Haiti, more than 95% of public health facilities are in need of urgent repair due to normal deterioration and decades of neglect. The country’s extreme poverty means that many facilities lack plumbing, improved sanitation, adequate infectious waste disposal, sterilization equipment, electricity, and/or access to a basic running water supply.

Strong water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure underpins the delivery of safe, quality health services for all, and is an important enabler of infection prevention and control in health care settings, including of COVID-19.

As part of CMF’s Stop the Gaps campaign, we partnered with Partners in Health Canada who, through their sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), addressed infrastructure concerns at the HUM, which is one of the main COVID-19 treatment centers and referral hospitals in the country.

At the start of the pandemic, ZL and the hospital identified gaps in its WASH infrastructure. The institution lacked sufficient numbers of working toilets and handwashing stations to meet the needs of the patients, staff and visitors who came to the facility on a daily basis. This was particularly concerning as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise and given the important role handwashing plays in disrupting the transmission of the virus, strengthening WASH was seen as an urgent priority.

Through CMF’s Stop the Gaps grant, in spite of a near unprecedented escalation in violence and security this past year that disrupted the procurement of supplies, HUM was able to install handwashing stations at the main entrance, primarily for the benefit of patients and visitors who are now able to disinfect prior to entering the hospital. The team also installed new handwashing stations in the neonatal intensive care unit, the pediatrics department, maternity ward, emergency department, and the orthopedics department – which is currently acting as the COVID-19 treatment unit. Broken toilets across the hospital were replaced, and new toilets were installed in the COVID-19 treatment unit, upholding standards of infection prevention and control and providing dignified care to those infected with the coronavirus.

The project has enhanced infection prevention and control efforts for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and given patients, visitors, and staff access to dignified sanitation and hygiene options. We thank our generous donors for their support which made this project possible.

Read more Reducing the Transmission of COVID-19 at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais 

Project Completed – Vital hygiene supplies delivered to healthcare workers in Northwest Syria!

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We are proud to announce the completion of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project in Northwest Syria, in partnership with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-Canada (UOSSM Canada), which helped deliver supplies to over 1000 healthcare workers and patients.

Following 10 years of civil war the government has regained control of Syria’s biggest cities, but large parts of the country are still held by rebels, jihadists and the Kurdish-led SDF. The last remaining opposition stronghold is in the north-western province of Idlib and adjoining parts of northern Hama and western Aleppo provinces.

Currently, there is only one border crossing, the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey that remains open to allow for supplies into opposition-held Northwest Syria. Our partner, UOSSM Canada, worked with UOSSM’s mission in Gaziantep, Turkey, to ensure that these supplies would reach the designated health facilities in Idlib & Aleppo, a Rehabilitation Unit in Sarmada, and the vaccination team in Ariha Primary Health Care Centre.

With the country now in the grip of a second wave of COVID and cases growing exponentially, combined with food shortages weakening an already vulnerable population, the supplies were needed more than ever and we thank our donors who contributed to help their fellow healthcare workers in Syria.

Read more Protecting Medical Staff In Syria.

 

Statement on the Missing Children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School

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The Board of Directors and staff of the Canadian Medical Foundation was saddened by the news of the 215 children whose remains were discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. We mourn the loss with the communities and families affected by both the direct and intergenerational impact of residential schools.

CityNews photo

The discovery of these children should not come as a surprise. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has estimated that more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were placed in residential schools between the 1870s and 1990s and thousands of children died while attending these schools.

 

The injustice towards the Indigenous peoples of Canada did not end with the closing of the residential schools, it continues today to include the Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, inadequate housing, food insecurity, the lack of access to clean drinking water, and egregious disparities when it comes to access to health care and health outcomes.

As we have entered National Indigenous History Month, we should all take this time not just to educate ourselves, learn about and celebrate the heritage and diversity of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, but to also reflect on how we can advocate for and reconcile with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

The Canadian Medical Foundation is committed to continuing the work of reconciliation and taking action throughout the year by working together with Indigenous partners to address barriers to health equity.

Learn more about the Calls to Action:

Calls to Action

Dr. Cara Bablitz                                                                            Dusanka Pavlica

Palliative Care MD                                                                       President & CEO

Métis advocate for Equitable Health                                      Canadian Medical Foundation

CMF Board of Directors

Oral Knowledge Transfer and COVID-19 Prevention

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Across Canada as the rate of new COVID-19 infections has been steadily decreasing among the overall population, the cases of COVID-19 are rising in Indigenous communities.

According to Canada Public Health and Indigenous Services data, Indigenous communities currently have about 8 percent of the country’s active COVID-19 cases, despite accounting for about 5 percent of the total population.

While Ontario and Quebec had been the epicentre of the outbreaks in Canada, people in First Nations are being hit the hardest in Western Canada, where they can make up half the number of hospitalizations in some provinces.

We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre for the development of oral Cree messages for increasing and enhancing understanding of COVID-19 prevention protocols, testing, precautions, and social distancing.

In addition to social and economic barriers impacting the health of First Nations communities, messaging around COVID-19 has primarily been developed and delivered in literature format which has had limited impact at the community level, in particular with groups that have lower literacy levels and have Cree as a first language. Particularly Elders and knowledge holders who are critical influencers of healthier choices and practices and messaging. Oral knowledge transfer through key messaging remains a very powerful way to influence and get critical messages out to multiple groups in a fast, efficient and consistent way.

Through CMF’s Stop the Gaps Campaign, the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre will be implementing the Wellbeing and Safety Cree Audio and Video Messages Project in 37 of 47 communities in Alberta who are Cree speaking.

A mix of virtual and in person engagement sessions with Cree speaking Knowledge holders will be developed. The engagement sessions will include messaging around COVID-19 transmission, risks, prevention and self-care.

The virus anywhere can affect us all everywhere. Working together we can stop the spread.

DONATE To Help Stop The Spread of Infectious Diseases!

Hygiene Support to those Displaced by Conflict in Syria (completed)

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Due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, which is nearing its tenth year, Northwest Syria has become home for more than four million internally displaced people. Most displaced populations suffer from very difficult living conditions in the midst of acute shortages in basic services, especially in the makeshift camps.

For the past year, COVID19 has created a new challenge in the region and exacerbated the suffering of the displaced people. The makeshift camps and concentrations of internally displaced people are lacking in the minimal necessities required to prevent the spread of the virus among families. In addition, the overcrowded nature of makeshift camps leaves no room for social distancing. This has put additional pressure on organizations working in the region to implement emergency response projects that specifically address this new challenge.

As part of a special Close the Gaps initiative to help prevent, limit, and stop the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, CMF partnered with the Molham Volunteering Team to provide vital hygiene supplies and facemasks to households in Azaz area, located in northern Aleppo governorate, Northwest Syria.

The area is home to large concentrations of displaced people in Syria because it is considered a relatively safe area. Even so, local project partners face challenges implementing projects like this one on a regular basis. In the midst of project implementation, a car bomb exploded, leading to the temporary suspension of all activities as a safety precaution.

Once resumed, 558 displaced families (2960 persons) in six sites received hygiene kits made up of items such as disinfectant, liquid soap, detergent, shampoo, face masks and hand sanitizers. Priority was given to female-headed households who lost the male providers, since such families are run by women who are in charge of their children and have almost no source of income.

The Molham Volunteering Team continues to make significant strides in helping prevent and mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19. We are proud of our part of their success and grateful to the CMF donors who helped support our efforts at closing the gaps.

The virus anywhere can affect us all everywhere. Working together we can stop the spread.Arguably the most significant item included in the kits is a water purification solution, typically a water purification unit (filter). These water purification solutions provide a family with access to clean and safe water for up to one year.

DONATE To Help Stop The Spread of Infectious Diseases!

Improved Hygiene in and around Hopital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti (Project Completed)

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As part of a special Close the Gaps initiative to help prevent, limit, and stop the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, in 2020 the Canadian Medical Foundation (CMF) provided support to the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) to improve hygiene initiatives in Haiti’s Lower Artibonite Valley.

Designated a COVID-19 treatment site by the Haitian Ministry of Health, the hospitals’ Emergency Response Plan included initiatives within the hospital as well as outside of the hospital to stem the spread of the virus within the local catchment area.

Read more on the project outcomes Hôpital Albert Schweitzer.

Thank you and Happy New Year

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We’d like to thank all of our donors, volunteers and partners for your support and take the opportunity to wish all of you a happier, healthier and better New Year.

As with all year ends, this is a time for reflection for all of us. This time last year, none of us could have predicted how much our world would change. There is no doubt 2020 will be remembered for COVID-19. However, there have been many highlights for us at CMF to remember as well.

New Leadership

Towards the start of the year we welcomed Dusanka Pavlica to our team, first as Acting President and CEO before she took on the role permanently. Ms. Pavlica has been a senior executive in the International Development sector for over 12 years, before having worked in the private sector raising funds for a variety of charities for over a decade previously.

We also welcomed four new Directors. Yipeng Ge is a resident physician in Public Health and Preventive Medicine (including family medicine) in Ottawa. He is also an elected PARO (Professional Association of Residents of Ontario) General Council representative from Ottawa and sits on the CFPC SoR (College of Family Physicians of Canada Section of Residents) as an elected PGY1 representative and as Chair-Elect. Tom Magyarody is the principal of Magyarody Strategy and Governance Consulting and is currently a Director of Blue Pier Pension Administration Inc as well as a member of the Board of Governors for the Ontario Medical Foundation and Vice Commodore at the Etobicoke Yacht Club. Kevin O’Brien has a career that spans 40 years in international cooperation, community development and humanitarian aid, with both domestic and international civil society organizations. Wendy Zhang is in her third year of her medical degree at the University of Toronto. Wendy began her career in ALS research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute while also teaching high school academic and university level science and math. To learn more about these and all of our Directors, you can visit our website https://medicalfoundation.ca/en/.

Successes and milestones in 2020

We continued to act as a conduit to help our donors achieve their own personal, charitable and philanthropic goals, and together we granted more than $1,500,000 to support charitable programs and projects both in Canada and the developing world.

We are also proud to have launched our own COVID-19 response programming by forging new partnerships to help strengthen the prevention and control of infection in communities which may not have access to knowledge or resources without support. We are also proud to have launched our own COVID-19 response programming by forging new partnerships to help strengthen the prevention and control of infection in communities that may not have access to knowledge or resources without support. Partnerships included working with Soap for Hope to deliver personal hygiene products to vulnerable people and those living in remote communities may have trouble obtaining these products in BC. We are also working with 3D4MD Inc, a social enterprise whose mission is to provide regulatory-compliant, 3D printable healthcare supplies to remote communities. The proper use of face shields is an overlooked and neglected topic in COVID-19 prevention. Without safe, reusable personal protective equipment, frontline healthcare workers will be forced to continue to reuse sub-standard, untested face shields made of cheap, low-grade plastic with a limited lifespan. The Decontamination Kit for the 3D4MD 100% Reusable Face Shield uses an environmentally safe, non-toxic, rapid action (1 minute), single-agent cleaner and COVID-19 disinfectant authorized by Health Canada. The Canadian Medical Foundation has committed to support 3D4MD in obtaining regulatory standards certification testing by an accredited, independent laboratory to demonstrate that the 3D4MD 100% Reusable Face Shield can be properly cleaned and disinfected with the 3D4MD Face Shield Decontamination Kit in accordance with Health Canada regulatory standards.

Globally healthcare workers have emerged as a vulnerable population group during COVID-19. To support healthcare workers in Haiti as they try to manage the spread of COVID-19 in their hospitals, CMF is partnering with friends of the Hopital Albert Schweitzer and with Partners in Health to reduce at least some of the risks that healthcare workers face at work on a daily basis in Haiti. Through our grant, the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, the only 24/7 full-service hospital serving more than 350,000 people in the Lower Artibonite Valley was able to manufacture additional surface disinfectant, which is 2.5 times more effective at sanitizing/inactivating pathogens than chlorine/bleach, and supply it to other hospitals and health centers. And with our partnership with Partners in Health Canada, we are able to support the University Hospital of Mirebalais, one of the main COVID-19 treatment centers and referral hospitals in the country and the largest teaching hospital in Haiti, through the construction of up to 15 permanent handwashing stations and 15 toilets in areas where
COVID-19 patients are treated.

Looking forward: 2021 and beyond

There is much more to come next year as we continue to work with our donors and partners, and serve the healthcare community.

Thank you all and we look forward to the great things we can continue to accomplish together.

Honouring the Contributions of Retired Trustees

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At CMF, our trustees are the backbone of our organization. We’d like to take the opportunity to honour the contributions of two Trustees who played a vital role at shaping CMF but have retired from their leadership roles.

Dr. Hugh Scully, BA, MD, MSc, FRSC[C], FACS

Having joined the Canadian Medical Foundation in 2013, Dr. Scully retired from his role as Chair of the Board this year but his contributions to CMF will remain, as will his contributions as leader and innovator in improving the health of education of individuals not just in Canada but around the world. At CMF, Dr. Scully was also chair of the CMF’s multi-million dollar fundraising effort to raise support for physician health and wellness: The Every Physician Campaign.

In addition to his leadership role at the CMF, Dr. Scully served on the Board of Partners in Health Canada and Weed MD Inc. He served on the Board of Directors at the Canadian Medical Association as President, chair of the Council on Health Policy and Economics and chair of the Past Officers Committee. At the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, which represents all cardiac specialists in Canada, he served as president, as well as having served as president of the Ontario Medical Association Dr. Scully was on the council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, representing the surgeons of Ontario and as chair of the specialty physician workforce committee. He was the founding president of the Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario (PAIRO) and on the international stage, he has represented Canada on the council of the World Medical Association, where he chaired the committee that developed a policy on ethical international recruitment of physicians, later adopted by the WMA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and many countries.

Dr. Scully was involved for more than five decades in the world of motorsports, where he still currently serves as chair of the board of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame (CMHF). Dr. Scully served as president of the International Council of Motorsport Sciences. He is a founding Fellow (only Canadian) of the FIA (World) Institute for Motor Sport Safety, based in Paris, was the Medical Director of the Canadian F1 Race at Mosport Park, chair of the medical and safety committee at the Toronto Indy for 34 years and was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2000.

This type of juggling of leadership roles throughout his career started early for Dr. Scully, since serving as president of his high school class at the International School of Geneva in Switzerland. Dr. Scully later went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology & Chemistry (1961), MD, CM (1965), and MSc (neuroanatomy and physiology, 1967) from Queen’s University. He trained in General Surgery (FRCSC 1971) at the University of Toronto and Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (FRCSC 1974) at the U of T and Harvard University (Massachusetts General Hospital).

During his time as staff heart surgeon at Toronto General Hospital, he completed between eight or nine thousand open heart surgeries. With his passion for health policy management and health education, Dr. Scully was also a professor of surgery went on to become a professor of health policy management and evaluation (HPME) at the University of Toronto, as well as honorary consultant surgeon at University Health Network (UHN) – Toronto General Hospital’s division of cardiac surgery.

Dr. Scully has produced more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, book chapters and invited presentations on cardiac surgery, health policy and leadership.

Mr. Jean Schnob

Joining the CMF board in 2012, Mr. Schnob retired from his role as Treasurer and chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee this year.

Mr. Schnob is a versatile, creative and well-rounded business executive who is cognizant that successful tax planning must emanate from an understanding of the economics of a transaction and with sensitivity to the drivers of business arrangements. Mr. Schnob’s financial leadership was critical in helping transition CMF after moving out from the umbrella of the Canadian Medical Association in 2016.

Mr. Schnob is a tax partner and managing partner of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton in the Outaouais region with over twenty-five years of experience specializing in assurance, taxation and advisory services.

Mr. Schnob has a broad professional background, including technical subject instruction and speaking appearances. He has also participated in the tabling of a variety of reports and analyses on behalf of provincial public accounting institutes and regulatory bodies.

 

Reducing The Transmission of COVID-19 at University Hospital of Mirebalais (Completed)

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Haiti – a country already facing widespread poverty, political instability, weak infrastructure, and extreme vulnerability to natural disasters – was ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak of yet another deadly disease. A deadly cholera epidemic following the 2010 earthquake led to the death of nearly 10,000 people. Haiti started 2020 by finally having reached a milestone of one full year free from any new cases of the deadly waterborne disease, just as COVID-19 was starting to spread globally.

35% of Haitians lacking basic drinking water services and two-thirds with limited or no sanitation services. Even in healthcare settings, more than 95% of public health facilities are in need of urgent repair due to normal deterioration and decades of neglect. The country’s extreme poverty means that many facilities lack plumbing, improved sanitation, adequate infectious waste disposal, sterilization equipment, electricity, and/or access to a basic running water supply.

As part of CMF’s Stop the Gaps campaign, we partnered with Partners in Health Canada who, through their sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), addressed infrastructure concerns at the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), which is one of the main COVID-19 treatment centers and referral hospitals in the country, and also currently the largest teaching hospital in Haiti.

At the start of the pandemic, ZL and the hospital identified gaps in its WASH infrastructure. The institution lacked sufficient numbers of working toilets and handwashing stations to meet the needs of the patients, staff, and visitors who came to the facility on a daily basis. This was particularly concerning as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise and given the important role handwashing plays in disrupting the transmission of the virus, strengthening WASH was seen as an urgent priority.

Research shows that well-positioned, easily accessible hand washing stations increase good hand hygiene practices and reduce healthcare-acquired infections. In addition, by increasing the number of toilets for patients and staff in COVID-19 areas of the hospital, there will be less wait time for individuals in the COVID-19 units. The improvements will also ensure that handwashing stations and toilets are still available when facilities are being cleaned and disinfected.

That’s where we stepped in with a grant for the construction of up to 15 permanent handwashing stations and 15 toilets in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Through the grant, in spite of a near unprecedented escalation in violence and security this past year that disrupted the procurement of supplies, HUM was able to install handwashing stations at the main entrance, primarily for the benefit of patients and visitors who are now able to disinfect prior to entering the hospital. The team also installed new handwashing stations in the neonatal intensive care unit, the pediatrics department, maternity ward, emergency department and the orthopedics department – which is currently acting as the COVID-19 treatment unit. Broken toilets across the hospital were replaced, and new toilets were installed in the COVID-19 treatment unit, upholding standards of infection prevention and control and providing dignified care to those infected with the coronavirus.

The project has enhanced infection prevention and control efforts for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and given patients, visitors and staff access to dignified sanitation and hygiene options. We thank our generous donors for their support which made this project possible.

 

During this pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Working together as a global community, we can stop the spread of COVID-19.

To help support projects like this, please consider donating to our Stop the Gaps campaign.

DONATE To Help Stop The Spread of Infectious Diseases!