Beyond Borders: Building Global Health Programs at McGill University Faculty of Medicine

Saba, Nicole MSc; Brewer, Timothy F. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31816094fc
Global Health Initiatives

Globalization has irrevocably altered the determinants of health as well as the delivery of health care. Although these changes have been increasingly recognized by governments and funding agencies, and despite the large and growing interest in global health topics among faculty and students, many medical educational programs lack courses or programs in this important area. At McGill University Faculty of Medicine, the Global Health Programs (GHP) were established to build research and training capacity in global health locally and internationally, to stimulate individuals to work in related fields and topics, and to facilitate partnerships with institutions around the world. These goals are addressed through programs that foster communication among interested faculty and students; provide resources such as project databases and easily accessed, centrally located reference materials; and provide both financial and consultative support for faculty and student initiatives. Important lessons learned in building GHP at McGill include (1) the need for a dedicated senior faculty member to lead the program while promoting activities and initiatives, (2) the need for resources to begin new projects, and (3) a willingness to work with others to achieve common goals. Most medical schools already have faculty engaged in and students interested in global health activities. By bringing interested individuals together with a modest infusion of additional resources and creativity, it is possible to develop programs that provide exciting global health educational opportunities for the medical school community and beyond.

Ms. Saba is a research assistant, Global Health Programs, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Dr. Brewer is director, Global Health Programs, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Brewer, Global Health Programs, Purvis Hall, Room 42, 1020 Pine Ave. West, Montreal, QC H3A 1A2, Canada; telephone: (514) 398-6271; fax: (514) 398-4503; e-mail: (

© 2008 Association of American Medical Colleges