Diving into refugee health at the Bruyère Research Institute

Greetings from the Bruyère Research Institute! The first few weeks have been a flurry of excitement and learning opportunities as I settle into my new position. Here at BRI I am involved in two major projects: The first is a WHO funded project which focuses on the use of home-based medical records to improve maternal and child health outcomes. The second is collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) which focuses on the development of screening guidelines for infectious diseases in migrant and refugee populations. Both projects have taught me a lot about systematic reviews, guideline development, and international health so far and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge throughout the summer. 

This past week I participated in a two-day national interactive forum on enhancing mental health care for refugees within community-based primary care by exploring the role of narrative-exposure therapy to treat PTSD and trauma in refugees entering Canada. It was very inspiring to be surrounded by so many passionate and influential minds in the area of refugee health. Participating in this forum was very useful for me to better understand the settlement process within Canada and learn about some of the challenges that refugees experience when coming to a new country. My attendance to this workshop was also very well-timed, as I recently submitted my first paper (ever!) for peer review to the Journal of Public Health Research and Practice, which is publishing a themed issue in June 2017 about refugee health. I am very excited that my practicum supervisor, Dr. Kevin Pottie, has allowed me to contribute and be an author on this paper.

So far my practicum experience has been great and has provided me with the opportunity to collaborate on projects with so many interesting and intelligent people. BRI also offers plenty of educational activities that students can attend. Next week, I will be attending a WHO Collaborating Centre Speaker Series presentation on community perceptions of treatment for neglected tropical diseases. The commitment to continuous learning and giving students great opportunities means that I am very excited to see what the rest of the summer will bring!