Sunday, December 27, 2009

Something's Not Right Here: an analysis of US Healthcare "reform" with Bill Moyers - Mat Taibbi - Robert Kuttner

"One year after the great collapse of our financial system, Wall Street is back on top while our politicians dither. As for health care reform, you're about to be forced to buy insurance from companies whose stock is soaring, and that's just dandy with the White House. Truth is, our capitol's being looted, republicans are acting like the town rowdies, the sheriff is firing blanks, and powerful Democrats in Congress are in cahoots with the gang that's pulling the heist. This is not capitalism at work. It's capital. Raw money, mounds of it, buying politicians and policy as if they were futures on the hog market.

Here to talk about all this are two journalists who don't pull their punches. Robert Kuttner is an economist who helped create and now co-edits the progressive magazine THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, and the author of the book OBAMA'S CHALLENGE, among others.
Also with me is Matt Taibbi, who covers politics for ROLLING STONE magazine where he is a contributing editor. He's made a name for himself writing in a no-holds-barred, often profane, but always informative and stimulating style that gets under the skin of the powerful. His most recent article is "Obama's Big Sellout," about the President's team of economic advisers and their Wall Street connections. It's been burning up the blogosphere. Welcome to both of you...."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exporting healthcare to Africa

Globalising healthcare: African medical students are training in Cuba [FAWTHROP]

In universities across Cuba, the next generation of African doctors are being trained on scholarships that may prove more valuable than any foreign aid package to their continent. When they graduate, the doctors will return home to treat patients in some of Africa's poorest countries, equipped with some of the best medical training in the world. Their education and training will not have cost them anything, and many say they plan to use their skills to help those too poor to pay for treatment. "I am from a very poor family in Eastern Cape," says Sydney Mankale Moroasale, a South African medical student currently studying at Cienfuegos University in Cuba. "People all around me were suffering. I said to myself 'Why couldn't I be the one to help them?' It was my dream to be a doctor."

A further 125 South African medical students study alongside Moroasale at Cienfuegos, while another 224 are enrolled in other Cuban universities. None of them would have been able to study medicine at all had it not been for the scholarship programmes. A total of 286 African doctors have graduated from Cuba since the first batch in 2005. After the 1959 revolution, Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, pioneered the creation of a dynamic and comprehensive public health system which has been praised by the World Health Organization for providing free healthcare to all its citizens. Even doctors working in countries ideologically opposed to communist Cuba admit that the system works. "It is internationally known that medical standards are very high in Cuba, and medical training is very good," says Dr Arachu Castro, a Spanish specialist in social medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

[Visit Al Jazeera English here for more on Cuba's community-based approach to reversing the brain drain and globalizing healthcare]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"the most powerful tool we have in our health-care armamentarium is income redistribution"

Rich vs. Poor: The lives we can expect from our income
Both longevity and quality of life are now measured by statisticians, but however you parse the data, Canada's poor have worse life expectancy than the well off.

Andre Picard

Andre Picard

.....There are a lot of numbers to digest here, but the bottom line is this: People's income (or lack thereof) has about twice the impact on their health as cancer does. That is a humbling bit of data. It also raises the question: Why is tackling poverty not a health priority?

Patching and mending is all well and good, and our sickness-care system does a good job of it. But the data tell us that the most powerful tool we have in our health-care armamentarium is income redistribution. The most powerful drug we have – money – is pretty plentiful in Canada. But it is not being prescribed to everyone who would benefit. Yesterday, the group Campaign 2000 released its 2009 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada. It showed that 637,000 children are still living in low-income families – two decades after federal politicians vowed to eradicate child poverty. One can only despair that, in a country with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, these children are being deprived of almost a decade of life from the get-go, and we seem largely indifferent.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Release secret RCMP file on Tommy Douglas

The family of Canadian icon Tommy Douglas is urging the government to make public RCMP intelligence on the socialist firebrand and father of medicare, while an expert calls it ludicrous to claim any national security grounds to keep them secret...The document battle began in November 2005, when Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill requested the RCMP dossier on the fabled Prairie politician under access to information laws. A year later, Library and Archives Canada handed over some of the material, which showed RCMP spies had shadowed Tommy Douglas for more than three decades.

The Canadian Press (click here for
full story)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dennis Kucinich on passage of Obama's health reform

“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.... Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit, single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and good for America’s businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals.”

For the full text of Kucinich's speech, click here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Community Health in India and Beyond

Join us in exploring this inspiring resource from our friends/colleagues in India: " is an experimental project aimed at creating a comprehensive resource on community health and the Health For All movement in India put together by people actually working in the field...

We hope not to merely reflect the existing ground reality of health in India but also be part of the process of working towards Health For All through the creation of a number useful resources for practical use in the struggle for a healthier nation and world."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Health Services for Vulnerable Populations

Join Dr. Jeff Turnbull, long term anti-poverty advocate, Chief of Staff at The Ottawa Hospital, and current president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association, as he speaks about how Canada can provide fair and equitable health care to all, especially vulnerable populations. Brought to you by Students for Medicare, Medical Reform Group, Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

WHEN: Thursday, October 22nd, 7pm
WHERE: (Canada) Toronto, 155 College St, Health Sciences Bldg, Rm 610

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Avi Lewis on US Healthcare Reform

"It is the biggest challenge Barack Obama, the US president, has to face in his first year in office: fixing a healthcare system in crisis. Plagued by both spiraling costs and tens of millions uninsured, lawmakers have worked at a feverish pitch debating how to re-tool what accounts for nearly one fifth of the American economy. Meanwhile, this broken system is highly profitable for many. In the back rooms a battle is raging as the powerful healthcare industry pushes for change that will not change their bottom line.

On this week's episode of Fault Lines, we look at the US healthcare system, expose its cracks, and uncover the forces that are spending millions of dollars every day to influence the debate over the US healthcare reform."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Doctor Who Became Public Enemy #1

Update from Post-coup Honduras by Robert Huish
Dr. Luther Castillo’s voice is heard across Cuba every night. From somewhere in Honduras, Dr. Castillo calls into the television program Mesa Redonda (The Roundtable), a nightly news and opinion program broadcast out of Havana. Using his cell phone, and the cell phones of others, he tells Cubans about the military coup in his homeland. He talks about how the situation is unfolding from the point of view of those who need medical care as a result of the military’s brutality.

Monday, July 20, 2009

“They Dump the Sick to Satisfy Investors”: Insurance Exec Turned Whistleblower Wendell Potter Speaks Out Against US Healthcare Industry

Courageous interviews on Democracy Now! and Bill Moyers Journal

From Democracy Now!: "As the debate over healthcare reform intensifies on Capitol Hill, we spend the hour with a former top insurance executive who’s now exposing the industry’s dirty secrets. Wendell Potter once served as the head of corporate communications at CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. We speak to Potter about his own transformation from industry mouthpiece to whistleblower, the healthcare industry’s extensive PR and lobbying machine, the campaign to discredit Michael Moore’s film Sicko, and the insurance industry’s most pressing task: the fight against a public option, let alone a single-payer system. [includes rush transcript]"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

International Congress on Circumpolar Health

In mid July, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories will host the International Congress on Circumpolar Health. The Congress offers a forum for the exchange of health-related knowledge amongst scientists, health care professionals, policy analysts, government agencies, and community leaders committed to the health and wellbeing of northern peoples.  Delegates from across Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Scandinavia, Russia, and Alaska will meet to exchange knowledge on: chronic disease, environmental and occupational health, ethics and Indigenous research, food security, health impacts of demographic change, infectious disease, injury prevention, mental health and wellness, newborn and child care, population health science, service delivery and infrastructure, women's health, and the social determinants of health in the north.  For details on the conference visit:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WHO Strongly Reaffirms the Values and Principles of Primary Health Care

In two resolutions issued today, the World Health Organization is “strongly reaffirming the values and principles of primary health care, including equity, solidarity, social justice, universal access to services, multisectoral action, decentralization and community participation as the basis for strengthening health systems….”

(1) WHO Resolution on Primary Health Care and Health Systems Strengthening
(2) WHO Resolution on Reducing Health Inequities through Action for the Social Determinants of Health

Friday, May 22, 2009

From Knowledge to Action for Health Equity

Dr. David Butler Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, used the opportunity of his first Report on the State of Public Health in Canada to call for action on the social determinants of health, and the patterns of health inequality that shape the distribution of sickness in Canada. While the majority of Canadians enjoy good health, many face structural barriers that make it profoundly difficult to live healthy lives. As David Butler Jones points out, these populations are "more likely to need the health-care system for what are largely preventable health issues".

In a brilliant article published last month, health policy researcher Dennis Raphael suggests that although the social determinants of health are widely acknowledged in Canada, actual public health activities to strengthen the determinants of health are "sporadic at best". Ontario's growing system of Community Health Clinics offer one example of this sort of practice, and there are other valuable examples to learn from Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere in the world. This work reaffirms the need to transform our knowledge of the production of health and sickness into public health practices that actively enable people to live healthy lives. Equally important though, is the political task this work suggests: in a setting where evidence is clear and action is slow to follow, it's clear that evidence is not a substitute but a basis for politics and public action.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Health for All: Health Care Provision and Direct Action Politics Panel

[Click above for more information, or email]

7-9pm Friday May 22, 2009, Ryerson University, Thomas
Lounge, 63 Gould Street
, Toronto, Canada.

Join Students for Medicare and No One is Illegal as we bring together health professionals, organizing alongside their communities in the fight for health for all!

Panelists include:
-Bethany Schroeder, Executive Director, Ithaca Free Clinic, Ithaca, New York
-Roland Wong, M.D., Toronto
-Samir Shaheen Hussain, M.D, Solidarity Across Borders Montreal
-Cathy Crowe, R.N., Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, Toronto

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crisis Brings Opportunity: Building a Global Health Workforce

Crisis Brings Opportunity, by Robert Huish

"Amidst the current global financial crisis we face an enormous global health crisis that has left close to a billion people without any access to affordable health care. The inequality between those who can afford care and those who go without has never been worse. Consider that while Canada struggles to improve its ratio of one doctor for every 440 people, Malawi has only one physician for every 50,000 people. Despite predictions that global health inequity will worsen in a time of economic peril, we actually stand in front of a great opportunity to make the world healthier for all....A global health-care workforce offering much-needed care for billions, even if charging only pennies per patient, musters more economic potential, humanity and long-term strategic interests than any products currently on offer from Wall Street or Detroit."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Health for All? A Critical Analysis of Public Health Policies in Eight European Countries

(2008) Christer Hogstedt, Henrik Moberg, Bernt Lundgren, Mona Backhans

"In recent years, a considerable number of countries have developed and implemented strategies aiming at reducing inequalities in health. However, knowledge of effective policies or strategies to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health is still very fragmented. The aim of this book is to describe and compare different European health equity strategies and their potential successes.

The main part of the material comes from a comparative study of national public health strategies for equity in health with the following participating countries: Denmark, Finland, England, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. National experts wrote the country chapters which not only cover questions concerning whether their countries were taking measures on the individual public health problems – such as smoking, alcohol or physical activity – but also if the policies had considered the wider, social determinants of health and experiences of the potential implementation processes."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Everyone is affected by a pandemic, but not everyone is affected equally"

Just posted on the Wellesley Institute web site at

"Everybody is affected by a pandemic, but not everyone is affected equally. That’s the sobering conclusion of a new research and policy paper released today by the Wellesley Institute. As the world braces for a possible swine flu pandemic, the need for proper pandemic planning and effective emergency responses is drawn into sharp focus. Ontario’s current health disaster plans recognize the need to address inequities and inequalities, but fail to deliver the funding or resources to meet the requirements of all Ontarians."

Research paper: “Bridging the Preparedness Divide
Policy paper: “When It Comes to Pandemics, No One Can Be Left Out
Media advisory: “Pandemic plans need to recognize not everyone is affected equally

Special thanks to Michael Shapcott, Director of Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute for posting this information to the Social Determinants of Health Listserve.

WHO: Emergent Swine Flu "At a Turning Point"

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl says the swine flu outbreak is at a "turning point" as more countries confirm cases of swine flu. Visit the BBC for an updated map of confirmed cases around the world.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April 25th - World Malaria Day

Malaria is a disease of poverty, and the struggle for health equity is a struggle against Malaria. Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquito, but its etiology is also deeply social. Take a few minutes today to learn more about how to prevent this deadly disease: 10 Pictures ; WHO - Malaria ; Malaria Factsheet ; Q & A ; Roll Back Malaria ; The Lancet ; Global Health TV

Friday, April 24, 2009

Queen's Park Rally For Increased Hospital Funding

ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29th--11:30AM Rally at Queen's Park to Save Our Local Hospitals!

Thousands of people from cities and towns across Ontario facing major hospital cuts or closures are joining in solidarity to demand that Premier McGuinty protect our local hospitals. Hospital cuts place an increased burden on remaining hospitals and staff. For Ontario residents, this means longer waits, worse overcrowding, traveling further, higher infection rates, paying out of pocket, and lower levels of care. Across the province, people are mobilizing for increased funding for hospitals: click on the title for more information about mobilizations in your part of the province.

Honoring a Canadian Hero: The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson on Norman Bethune

Today's Globe and Mail features a brilliant article written by The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, on the importance of honoring a Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon and humanitarian who developed the fist mobile blood transfusion unit while fighting alongside other Canadians and socialists during the Spanish Civil War.

Bethune is seen as a hero in China and Spain, but is largely unknown in Canada. As Clarkson points out, there are many Toronto connections in this story: Born in Northern Ontario, Bethune studied medicine at University of Toronto Medical School, "from which he graduated in 1916 in the same class as Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin...When he returned from Spain in June of 1937 to raise money for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil war, under the auspices of the Canadian Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, he attracted a crowd of 5,000 in Toronto - and they marched with him from Union Station to Queen's Park...Norman Bethune is commemorated in Montreal, China and Spain. It's time for Toronto to show that he means something to us as Canadians today."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

[April 22nd - Toronto] Public Health and Social Responsibility


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 1- 5 pm
(Light lunch available at noon)
Location: Massey College, 4 Devonshire Place (corner of Hoskin and Devonshire Place)

REGISTER NOW: (free registration) RSVP by Friday, April 17, 2009

- DR JACK MANDEL, the new Director of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health

  • DR KUE YOUNG, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health --- Aboriginal Health
  • DR JAMES ORBINSKI, Professor, Medicine and Political Science --- Global Health
  • DR ABDULLAH DAAR, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health --- Ethics of Public Health
  • JEANNINE BANACK, Assistant Professor, Dept of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation -- Advocacy in Public Health
  • DR GEOFF ANDERSON, Professor, Dept of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation -- Community Medicine and Student Leadership
  • SHANNON WELLS, Master's student, Chair, 2009 Walter Gordon Massey Symposium
See attached programs for more details.
We hope you can join us for an afternoon of stimulating and engaging discussion on public health!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

[April 21] The power of the public domain: Can improving access to information transform global health?

FREE PUBIC EVENT Presented by Open Medicine:
A panel discussion with: James Orbinski, Gavin Yamey & James Maskalyk

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building
6:30 pm University of Toronto
Free (Donations welcome) 144 College Street
Room B150

James Orbinski, MD, MA
James Orbinski is an associate professor at the University of Toronto and author of the national bestseller An Imperfect Offering. He was the International President of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) in 1999 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and co-founded Dignitas International, an organization focused on community-based care and prevention of HIV in the developing world.

James Maskalyk, MD
James Maskalyk is an associate editor of Open Medicine. He practices emergency medicine and is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He is the author of the newly published book Six Months in Sudan, which chronicles his humanitarian work with Médecins sans Frontières in 2007.

Gavin Yamey, MD
Gavin Yamey is a senior editor of PLoS Medicine and consulting editor to PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He has written extensively on global health, and has helped to train medical editors at workshops in Barcelona and Addis Ababa. He is on the editorial board of Health and Human Rights and was recently awarded a 2009 Kaiser Foundation Mini-Fellowship in Global Health Reporting.

For more information, please visit . You can also follow Open or twitter (openmedicine) Please help us spread the word!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Medical Anthropology at the Intersections: Celebrating 50 Years of Interdisciplinarity

An International Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association

September 24 - 27, 2009 at Yale University

As the discipline of medical anthropology reaches half a century of existence, it is time to celebrate both its accomplishments and its interdisciplinarity. With its 50-year-old foundation solidly in place, medical anthropology is currently expanding outward and interacting in many productive ways across disciplinary boundaries. The conference highlights thirteen areas where some of the most exciting interdisciplinary work is beginning to emerge in “new millennial” medical anthropology: Global Public Health; Mental Health; Science & Technology Studies; Genetics/Genomics; Bioethics; Public Policy; Occupational Science; Disability Studies; Gender/LGBT/Sexuality Studies; International & Area Studies; Medical History; Feminism & Technoscience; and Medicine/Primary Care.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4th: Over 100 Migrant Workers Arrested; Communities Demand Their Release

Please visit the website of No One is Illegal for updates:

April 4, 2009 - Executing massive and unprecedented US-style raids in East Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford, the Canada Border Services Agency has arrested and detained over 100 migrant workers across Southern Ontario.

Hundreds of families and friends are wondering right now why their loved ones have not returned from work. The hundreds of thousands of non-status people across Canada have woken up to a horrible day in Stephen Harper's Canada.

On early Thursday morning, enforcement officers stormed into three different businesses in Bradford and Markham where they arrested migrant workers. CBSA even followed workers to their homes throughout the GTA and surrounding area. In total 80 people were arrested. They were placed on GO buses, handcuffed and held immobile for hours.

"One of my relatives was arrested in the raid. She called me from jail this morning. She and her co-workers are terrified that they may be deported at any time," said Jonathan Canchela, chair of the Filipino Migrant Workers Movement- and member of Migrante-Ontario.

On the same day in Leamington, eight agricultural workers were arrested. The workers were traveling to the farm where they work with a contractor when they were pulled over and arrested.

"Canada's immigration policies systemiclly discriminate against the most marginalized members of our community. Instead of reguarlization, the government criminalizes, instead of addressing exploitative working and living conditions, they persecute migrant labourers instead of enhancing workplace protections they engage in these type of raids which send a message to migrant workers that if they exert their rights there will be reprisals" says Chris Ramsaroop of Justicia Migrant Workers.

Simultaneously over a dozen agricultural workers were arrested in East Toronto on the Danforth, some from their homes.

"The purpose of these raids is to heighten a climate of fear and insecurity in immigrant communities. These raids are part of Canada's revolving door immigration policy where workers are used and disposed of with little or no rights", says Mac Scott of the Law Union of Ontario.

"In this economic crisis, companies are hiring us to save money. In my case, I've no work permit. I need to send money for my children to go to school. That is why I have to work. There are so many like me in this country, more than a million. Why not a regularization program so we can pay taxes. Many of us are skilled and qualified and could help the country at the same time as we send the money back home", says Henry, who was arrested on Thursday and is presently in the Detention Centre.

Community groups are mobilizing broadly to demand the immediate release of the detainees and status for all people in Canada. For details on how to travel to the Immigration Centre and a document of people's rights if they're arrested at their workplace can be found at: Thousands of us, from immigrant communities across Southern Ontario, will be hitting the streets on May 2nd to demand an end to immigration raids, and justice, dignity and respect for all migrant workers.

For further information and breaking news, please contact
Mac Scott - Law Union of Ontario (416.999.6885)
Farrah Miranda - No One Is Illegal - Toronto (416.805.7489)
Chris Ramsaroop - Justicia for Migrant Workers (647.834.4932)
Marco Luciano - Migrante Ontario (647.205.5908)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Health Crisis in Palestine

April 6th: A Panel of Canadian Health Professionals Discuss their Experiences in Palestine

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is proud to host a distinguished panel of speakers including Dr. Harry Shannon, Dr. Miriam Garfinkle, Dr. Jim Deutsch and Judith Deutsch. The discussion, open to the general public, is entitled “Health Crisis in Palestine: A Panel of Canadian Health Care Professionals give First Hand Accounts,and will be presented in Toronto.

The panel is composed of Canadian health care professionals and researchers who have first hand accounts of the devastating effects of Israeli occupation and aggression on the health of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. Among other panelists, Dr. Harry Shannon, professor of clinical epidemiology from McMaster University, will comment on his provocative article titled “Gaza’s shocking devastation: A Canadian Jew’s visit to the territory that left him ashamed by what he saw,” published last year in the Hamilton Spectator.

The panel will take place Monday April 6, 2009 from 7:00PM-9:00PM in Room B250 in the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building, 144 College St., Toronto. The event is free and open to the general public.

Damon Ramsey, a general surgery resident and co-chair of CJPME's Right to Health Taskforce, states: “To turn our backs on the devastating health effects of the Israeli occupation on innocent civilians would be a grave mistake. It is our responsibility as health care professionals and citizens alike to be informed of and act on the right to health.”

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Grace Batchoun, 514-745-8491.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Thursday, March 26, 2009

April 7th: World Health Day 2009

Save Lives: Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies



Conference date and location: Saturday, March 28, 2009, Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue, University of Toronto

Toronto, March 26, 2009 – The future health professionals of Canada have noticed an unjustifiable gap in their education - the discussion of Medicare and its merits. Despite being the place where we are trained to be the fair and equitable front line workers and policy makers in the public health care system, the virtues of Medicare rarely enter the classroom.

Students for Medicare, whose mandate is to strongly advocate for our public health care system, has come together to host a stimulating day-long conference. Experts on Medicare will educate the future generation about the value of our public system and will refute common arguments placed against it with solid evidence. There will also be discussion about problems with the system and solutions that can arise from within the public system without turning to privatization.

Distinguished speakers include Dr. Pat Armstrong, CIHR Chair in Health Service and Nursing Research at York University, Natalie Mehra, Director of the Ontario Health Coalition, Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association, Doris Grinspun, Executive Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, Dr. Gordon Guyatt, Founding Member of the Medical Reform Group, and Dr. Danielle Martin, Founder and Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. The conference has gained unprecedented attention with over 200 registrants and many more on a waiting list.

The conference, being held in collaboration with the Ontario Health Coalition, Medical Reform Group, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and other organizations is being held in memorium to honour the life and work of Dr. Mimi Divinsky, a passionate advocate for the defense of a publicly funded health care system. Mimi understood the vital fight for medicare, saying in 1992: “Once again we face what we have fought so hard to prevent – a two-tiered medical care system in which the wealthy have continued access and those who cannot afford to pay are denied,” a message which is as relevant in 2009 as it was during her life.

The target audience includes both health professional students with limited prior knowledge on the issue, as well as those who are informed but lacking in information regarding tangible ways to get involved. Conference goals are education, skill building, networking and action.

Students for Medicare began as group of nursing students at Ryerson University in association with the Ontario Health Coalition, and has quickly grown to include medical students and residents, social work students, health policy students and many more. Their mission is to reach students as well as the public to educate about and strongly advocate for Medicare. As the future doctors, nurses and health policy makers of the country, they strongly believe that the solutions for health care lie within the public system originally envisioned by Tommy Douglas and his eventual plan for a second stage of Medicare. They also have a strong commitment to equity and highlighting the importance of the social determinants in health outcomes.

Students for Medicare is a group of Canadian health care students who have joined on a mission to educate about and advocate for Medicare.

Contact:, or Dr. Ritika Goel, 416 890 7489 for more information.

April 1st: Pragmatic Solidarity with those Dying for Drugs

What to do:
April 1st, 2009 is traditionally April Fool’s Day. This year, we are exposing the government’s foolish delay in delivering life-saving drugs to people in developing countries who desperately need them.

Almost five years ago, Parliament responded to the urgent need for medicines in many developing countries by creating “Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime” (CAMR), with the goal of getting affordable medicines to people in the developing world. Unfortunately, that laudable initiative was, and is, seriously flawed.

But now there is a chance to fix it!

On April 1st join the National Day of Action Activity in your city and demand that Canadian parliamentarians act now to streamline the law!

Date: April 1st, 2009
Time: 12:00 p.m.-2:00p.m.

Halifax- Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building, Dalhousie University Campus.

Montreal- Milton St. and University St. McGill University

Ottawa- The Hill.
Contact Kimberly Bowman for further details

Toronto- College Street and University Avenue (North-West Corner).

Winnipeg- University of Winnipeg

Vancouver- Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Please contact Eowynne Feeney at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network at efeeney(at) for more information about the campaign.

What's happening:
The Canadian government has the ability to save lives and get essential medicines to ailing patients in developing countries. Right now, we could help thousands of people in developing countries survive — especially children.


•2.3 million children under the age of 15 are infected with HIV.
•One in two children with HIV in the developing world dies before reaching his or her second birthday.
•Less than 15% of the 780,000 children who need treatment are on the necessary medicines.
•More than half a million children die of AIDS every year, “simply because the world imposes such an obscene division between rich and poor,” says Stephen Lewis, the former UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Every day matters. The timing is crucial.


•Amendments to the legislation are being prepared right now.
•Canada’s largest generic drug company, Apotex, has promised to make a lower-cost children’s version of a key AIDS drug for export – IF Canada’s law is streamlined.
•Current treatments for children – even where available – are challenging. For instance, kids struggle to take bad-tasting syrups, which are hard to store and refrigerate, need to be taken frequently and are difficult for the caregiver to transport the required large quantities from hospitals to homes.

If Parliament fixed Canada’s access to medicines law, we could help. People can’t afford further delay by the Government of Canada. Each day, thousands of people infected with HIV die – just because they don’t have access to affordable medicines needed to save their lives.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

[Toronto Event] Examining Aspects of Equity in Canada's Health System


The Lupina Foundation & Comparative Program on Health and Society in the
Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto present

"Examining Aspects of Equity in Canada's Health System"

Dr. Sara Allin (CPHS and CHSRF Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Toronto)

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Rm 208N Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON

Dr. Sara Allin is a CPHS and CHSRF Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD and was a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the research institute of LSE Health within the Department of Social Policy. She regularly works on comparative projects for national and international organizations on themes related to health care access, public health policies, and health status and inequalities. Her post-doctoral project builds on her PhD thesis, entitled "Equity in the use of health services in the Canadian health system: an
examination of provincial variation, prescription drug insurance and unmet need", to investigate some key health policy questions relevant for Canada.

These include the following: What are the characteristics of different population groups with
self-reported barriers to accessing health care? Are there differences across population subgroups and health regions in the extent to which needed preventive services for chronic conditions are accessed? And what is the impact of unequal health service use in the population and among people with chronic conditions on health outcomes?

If you are planning to attend, please register using the Munk Centre e-registration system by visiting:

If you have any difficulties registering, please e-mail or call 416-946-8891.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Medicare: It's time to Act!


Register now for this exciting and interactive conference on the future of medicare in Canada:

DATE: March 28th, 9am-4pm
LOCATION: Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue, University of Toronto
(NW corner of St George Street and Sussex Avenue, south of Bloor)

Join in discussions with:

Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, Canadian Medical Association, President-Elect
Dr. Pat Armstrong, CIHR Chair, Author "About Canada: Health Care"
Doris Grinspun, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Director
Dr. Gordon Guyatt, Medical Reform Group, Founding Member
Dr. Danielle Martin, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Chair
Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition, Leader
and many more ...

This is a chance to learn from the beginning what the issues are in the health care debate, how better to formulate your opinion, and what the evidence is. Join with other students and health care providers in learning how to protect and improve our system. For more information, to volunteer, or to stay updated about this exciting event, please email:

FREE of charge! FREE lunch!

Presented by Students for Medicare, an interdisciplinary coalition for equitable public health care in Canada.

"Courage my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world."
-Tommy Douglas