Department of Family & Community Medicine

Enhanced Skills Program: Global Health and Vulnerable Populations Goals and Objectives

1. The family physician is a skilled clinician.

(1) Medical Expert

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to:

  • Establish and maintain clinical knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to their practice in resource-poor settings and with vulnerable and marginalized populations in Canada and abroad;
  • Recognize and address the ethical issues inherent to the practice of family medicine in the global heath arena;
  • Perform a complete and appropriate assessment of a patient with the limited resources available;
  • Use preventive and therapeutic interventions appropriate for the population and community served;
  • Demonstrate proficient and appropriate use of procedural skills, both diagnostic and therapeutic available in the resource-poor setting;
  • Provide care that is culturally appropriate with an awareness of and respect for the local beliefs, customs and practices;
  • Seek appropriate consultation from other health professionals and key community leaders recognizing the limits of their expertise;
  • Provide clinical and knowledge support, guidance and teaching to other health care providers, at all levels;
  • Identify specific resource gaps and develop programs and interventions, in collaboration with the community, to address systemic issues which negatively impact the health of individuals and of the community;
  • Address individual and collective health inequities in the context of the historical, political and economical developments which have conspired and continue to fuel them.

(2) Collaborator

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to:

  • Participate effectively and appropriately in an inter-professional healthcare team;
  • Effectively work with other health professionals to prevent, negotiate, and resolve inter-professional conflict;
  • Collaborate with local heath authorities and major community stakeholders to assess and address systemic health threats;
  • Identify and engage the health authorities and other key stakeholders at both the international, national, regional and local level to address health inequities.

2. The Patient-Physician Relationship Is Central To the Role of the Family Physician

(3) Communicator

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to...

  • Develop rapport, trust and ethical therapeutic relationships with patients and families across cultural and linguistic differences;
  • Accurately elicit and synthesize relevant information and perspectives of vulnerable and marginalized patients and their families, colleagues, community stakeholders and other professionals despite the resource-poor environment in which they practice;
  • Accurately convey relevant information and explanations to patients and families, colleagues and other professionals taking into consideration the cultural and experiential differences and the related vulnerabilities of their patient;
  • Develop a common understanding on issues, problems and plans with patients and families, colleagues and community to develop a shared plan of care or community intervention.

3. The Family Physician Is a Resource to a Defined Practice Population

(4) Advocate

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to...

  • Measure, document and communicate health inequities and their systemic underpinnings;
  • Respond to health needs of individual patients and of the community particularly those most neglected and vulnerable;
  • Identify and address the macro and micro contributors to health inequities;
  • Identify the determinants of health of the populations that they serve;
  • Promote the health of individual patients, communities and populations;
  • Negotiate with health authorities, government representatives and NGO’s for the improvement of health inequities locally and abroad.

(5) Scholar

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to...

  • Participate in the scholarship of discovery, application, integration or education with a view to improve health;
  • Contribute to building the capacity of the community to assess and evaluate its own health and social parameters;
  • Bring forward for debate and consideration the factors which underlie inequities in health through various scholarly channels.

4. Family Medicine Is a Community-Based Discipline

(6) Manager

Family physicians in a global heath practitioner role will be able to...

  • Participate in activities that contribute to the effectiveness of their hospitals, other healthcare organizations and systems to address the needs of the underserved locally and abroad;
  • Manage their practice and career effectively taking into consideration their commitment and responsibility to communities locally and abroad;
  • Allocate finite healthcare resources appropriately in the context of resource poor settings;
  • Serve in administration and leadership roles, as appropriate.