The International Outreach Program of St. Joseph’s Health System trains doctors, who then train more doctors and other members of the healthcare team, in their home country. Currently, the emphasis of our program is on the training and education of physicians from developing countries with the focus on building sustainable academic and care capacity in these countries. Our training is unique because physicians are provided “hands on” training while in Canada. This differs from many other international training programs that provide opportunities to “observe” only. These opportunities have yielded the creation of healthcare champions in our partner countries, many of whom are now in administrative and leadership roles to help facilitate this ongoing objective of sustainability. This attention to capacity building is a key differentiator between the IOP and other international outreach organizations. The IOP also maintains a strong commitment to long-term relationship management in the countries which it serves
Most non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that deliver medical training to students from developing countries only offer observerships. Trainees are allowed into patient wards and operating rooms—but only to observe others perform their duties. They are not allowed to examine patients, see patients independently, answer patient questions, prescribe medications or perform procedures.
The International Outreach Program, is different in that it arranges full licensing and medical insurance for medical students and physicians from developing countries. Through our partnership with McMaster University, our trainees talk with their patients, prescribe medications, perform surgeries, deliver babies, set broken bones, and plenty more, just as Canadian Residents and Clinical Fellows in training do. This unique approach sets us apart, and, from what our medical graduates tell us, is the foundation of our success—and theirs.