Department of Medicine

Research in Department of Medicine

Connected Worldwide

Ugandan-born Dr. Ally Prebtani's early vision of an international health care initiative has grown into a highly sucessful and popular program among postgraduate internal medicine residents of McMaster.

“One of my visions was an ongoing collaborative relationship with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda where residents from McMaster at the third-year level could go,” says Prebtani, founding director of the International Health Program in Internal Medicine.

Since 2003, the program has been sending initially two, and more recently three, residents for a month to Uganda with the mission of enhancing their cross-cultural experience and developing a sense of philanthropy, while also developing their skills as physicians in a resource-poor environment.

“This elective provides a well-organized opportunity to be introduced to international health,” explains Zara Khalid, program participant. “With three residents from Uganda always rotating through an elective at McMaster, we have the chance to be exposed to their culture and health care approaches before we arrive in Kampala.”

As part of their residency training program, the International Health elective is an unparalleled learning opportunity. But a resident’s role is not limited to learning, and multiple opportunities exist to share medical knowledge through formal presentations, clinical skills teaching, bedside teaching and supervision of interns.

With connections to Health Volunteers Overseas, a global organization dedicated to improving health care in developing countries, the International Health Program in Internal Medicine supports the core vision of HVO: to implement educational programs designed to empower local health care providers.

The results of Dr. Prebtani’s vision are evident as an increasing number of residents apply to the program and participants return from Uganda eager to pursue further opportunities in global health.