Community & Global Health Projects

Here a few of the community & global health projects that some of our alumni are working on:

Every summer, UBC’s second year medical students fan out to rural communities all across to BC to learn about the benefits of rural practice and build their clinical skills under the supervision of a rural preceptor. We thank the many alumni who have supported the rural clerkship program as both preceptors and donors to the program. Please take a look at this most recent report about the impact of the rural clerkship, and how our alumni and clinical faculty are building capacity for excellence in health care in all communities across BC.

Read the Rural Clerkship Stewardship Report 2012

Want to help make a difference? Visit the Rural Clerkship giving website

The Branch for International Surgery in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine (the Branch) and Dr. Rick Hodes share a commitment to increasing access to surgical care for individuals suffering from disability and disease in low resource regions of the world. The Branch was created in response to the growing and urgent need for improved surgical care among low-income populations of the world. Beginning as a grassroots initiative comprised of a handful of faculty members in 2003, the Branch has flourished into a group of over 30 faculty members from five different surgery-related departments: Surgery, Orthopaedics, Anaesthesia, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Ophthalmology.

The Branch is also home to SURG 510, the first and only graduate course in the world to teach surgical care in international health. Since September 2009, the course has graduated 54 students, many of whom are actively employing their surgical skills and knowledge in low resource areas around the world and leading initiatives that address the global burden of unmet surgical need

Bring Back Hope: Honoring the Extraordinary Work of Dr. Rick Hodes

An Evening to Bring Back hope was co-sponsored by the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Branch for International Surgery (The UBC Branch) Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver (Federation), and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Dr. Hodes is an orthodox Jewish doctor, working with the Mother Teresa’s Catholic Missionaries of Charity, treating people of all religions and ethnicities suffering from heart disease, cancer, scoliosis and tuberculosis of the spine.

A multi-cultural event; Bring Back Hope represents a diverse community of British Columbia’s most engaged citizens working together to reach out to join Dr. Hodes’ mission of universal good. This event will motivate and inspire each of us to do more to help our fellow people.

The event was championed by Vancouver philanthropists Gary and Nanci Segal in partnership with the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Proceeds from the evening are directed to Dr. Hodes’ life-saving mission in Ethiopia and the UBC Branch for International Surgery. The event was an uplifting evening bringing together people of all faiths in support of a rare individual and his tireless humanitarian work.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver for “Bring Back Hope" was held on April 4th, 2012, to honor and support the work of Dr. Rick Hodes. Learn more about Dr. Hoades and the work he is doing by visiting his website.

USTOP is a collaboration between Makerere University and UBC to reduce disability caused by neglected orthopaedic trauma in Uganda.

The goal of USTOP is to support sustainable improvements in the care of people with traumatic injuries by educating health care providers in Uganda in systems and techniques for delivery of trauma care, including triage, anesthesiology, nursing, surgery and rehabilitation.

The World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that 10 per cent of global deaths are due to injuries—particularly those caused by traffic accidents. Trauma causes human suffering, disability and death, and has enormous economic and social impacts on the livelihood of Ugandan families.

Since 2008, USTOP has:

  • Sent three multi-disciplinary teams and more than 30 specialists from Vancouver to Uganda to provide on-site training and infrastructure support.
  • Assisted with an average of 100 cases per visit, performing operations with Ugandan staff and managing emergency cases with residents.
  • Seen the length of hospital stay for a trauma patient decrease from 34 to 26 days.
  • Sent shipping containers filled with surgical instruments, imaging equipment, drills, an autoclave, medication and other items, with the help of Canadian orthopaedic supply companies.

Visit the USTOP website to learn more.

The Global Health Initiative (GHI) is a UBC student-led program in the Department of Family Practice, Division of Global Health. UBC students and faculty members in medicine and other disciplines have worked in partnership with local non-governmental organizations, universities and schools in six countries to design and deliver sustainable programs that address the health and education needs of the community.

GHI teams are continuing four projects in the summer of 2012: India Spiti Health, India Voice of Children, Uganda Access and Kenya Pamoja. Visit the GHI website for more information about current projects.

Uganda Access Project

GHI also hosts a series of workshops throughout the academic year that are open to all UBC students and faculty members to enhance global health education and provide hands-on skills training. The workshops explore the challenges facing the global community, as well as the full spectrum of our diverse Canadian society.

GHI is working with faculty to develop core competencies and learning objectives that will be used to drive future curriculum development related to global health. Many students involved with GHI are carrying out research projects and publishing their findings.

In addition to implementing projects that reduce health disparities within our global community, GHI is helping UBC students gain concrete knowledge and skills that advance their development as the global health leaders of tomorrow.

Clubfoot Awareness and Sustainable Treatment (CAST) is an initiative of the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics that aims to help improve the lives of children with clubfoot deformity in developing countries. Clubfoot is the most common severe birth defect of bones and joints worldwide, affecting more than 150,000 babies each year.

CAST assisted the Uganda Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project (USCCP) and the Ugandan Ministry of Health in successfully making universal, effective, safe and sustainable clubfoot treatment available to Ugandan infants. As a result of this partnership, health care providers in Uganda are learning how to detect and treat clubfoot deformity, well-equipped clubfoot clinics are in operation throughout Uganda, and awareness of clubfoot deformity is high among health care providers and the population.

CAST also delivers training in the effective treatment of clubfoot to health care providers in other countries so they can begin recognizing and correcting the deformity in infants and working to establish a sustainable clubfoot treatment program in their own communities. The ultimate goal of CAST is the spread of effective, sustainable clubfoot treatment around the world through national programs like USCCP and global, evidence-based guidelines.

In 2011, a team of investigators from the UBC Faculty of Medicine, BC Women´s Hospital, BC Cancer Agency, BC Centre for Disease Control and Women´s Health Research Institute travelled to Kampala, Uganda to bring the collective successes and expertise in cervical cancer prevention from British Columbia to sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more about the burden of HPV in Uganda and how BC’s HPV Research Group is helping to establish a comprehensive cervical cancer screening and prevention strategy in Uganda.

partners in compassion

Partners in Compassion has a simple but impactful mission—to enhance compassionate care and comfort to the dying and their families. The hospice palliative care communities of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada and Bhaktapur, Nepal have come together in friendship to share resources and learn from each other’s experiences and cultures.

A twinning partnership— a professional and social collaboration between organizations in different countries to achieve mutual benefits through combined efforts and a common vision —was initiated between the Nanaimo Palliative Care program and Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital in 2005. Each year a multi-disciplinary team, led by Robin Love, MD’86, travels to Nepal to provide support and training to its developing centre of excellence in palliative care.

The majority of the teaching is done at the bedside. Lectures to the larger hospital staff have also been held; in addition a formal two-week-long palliative care course was attended by 47 participants from other areas outside of the Bhaktapur twinning community. This group returned to their home communities with enhanced knowledge and techniques in palliative care.

Dr. Love’s wife, Deirdre, along with Susan Breiddal partnered with Health Canada to develop a twinning manual entitled ‘Canada’s Guide to Hospice Twinning’. Rather than expand the twinning partnership they developed, Love hopes to empower others to start their own twinning projects.

This hope is starting to be realized. Dr. Fraser Black and the Victoria Hospice developed a partnership in the Southern region of Nepal and Crossroads Hospice in Coquitlam formed a partnership in Accra, Ghana.

For more information about Partners in Compassion or setting up your own twinning project, please visit:

 Are you working on a project you would like listed here? Or see a project that you would like to collaborate with or talk to the project lead? If so, send an email to