Global health curriculum – a four-year journey for students

By Jennifer Parraga, BA'93

Drs. Anita Cheng and Eva Welisch have recently taken on a new role. Together they are leading the global health curriculum for undergraduate medical education.  

A neonatal and perinatal specialist and program director, Dr. Cheng’s interest in global health dates back to her time in high school when she had an opportunity to visit an orphanage in Mexico and continued with visits to East Asia and teaching in Niger.  

Dr. Welisch, a paediatric cardiologist also became interested in global health early in her education, and her interests arose following a visit to Colombia while she was a medical student.  

The new global health curriculum they are overseeing will be an ongoing ribbon theme throughout the entire undergraduate medical education curriculum.  

“We would like students learn and gain awareness of the global health perspectives and aspects of diseases, understanding epidemiology principles and population-based sciences, while appreciating that the Canadian medical front is influenced by the global landscape,” said Dr. Cheng.  

With a goal of ensuring Schulich Medicine students are trained and equipped for the world, each of the leads will be tap into the experiences that inspired each of them. 

“I will try to bring in what I have learned from my own experiences internationally,” said Dr. Welisch.  

Both faculty members have enjoyed the experience of working more closely with students in the global health realm, and are grateful for their enthusiasm and curiosity.  

“Students have really demonstrated a passion and dedication for promoting and learning about global health,” said Dr. Cheng. “We have been impressed by their sense of initiative in organizing advocacy groups and pursuing overseas electives. We believe it is this passion and compassion that holds the potential and hope for improving global health in Canada and around the world.”