Graduate Studies Program student profile

Equipped with a MClSc from Western University, Dr. Gustavo Gusso works to change the healthcare system in Brazil

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil Dr. Gustavo Gusso grew up in a house of academics; his father an engineer and his mother a lecturer of semiotics. He credits listening to his mother talk about the relationship between history, art and symbols as leading him towards the path of a career in Family Medicine.

His journey began in Medical School at the University of São Paulo (USP). As the best ranked medical school in Latin America, USP offered more than 50 residency programs, however Family Medicine was not one of them. First recognized in Brazil in 1981, Family Medicine was still a relatively new discipline.

Dr. Gusso pursued his studies in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil and their traditional family medicine program would provide the necessary learnings for Dr. Gusso to return back and start a residency program at USP.    

He completed his residency in February 2004 and in May of the same year he returned to USP and was writing a proposal for the new residency program. USP’s Family Medicine residency program was inaugurated in February 2005.

Fast forward 10 years and the program is still going strong.

Parallel to setting up the Family Medicine residency program at USP, Dr. Gusso enrolled in the MClSc program, Department of Family Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University. He believed it was important to grow Family Medicine in Brazil from both an epistemological and empirical base.  

“Unfortunately in Brazil there aren´t too many departments of Family Medicine and the universities and their specialists resist,” said Dr. Gusso. “My hope was to be strong in the “theoretical foundations” of Family Medicine as well as in important subject areas such as the Patient-Centered Clinical Method.”

Although he really enjoyed the MClSc program, Dr. Gusso recognizes it was not easy to do while working full time as a physician and holding an appointment as strategic coordinator within the Ministry of Health, but it was extremely worthwhile.

“The program gave me a very strong knowledge of family medicine epistemology… [the relation to the] theoretical foundation to teaching and research skills,” said Dr. Gusso. “I could see the discipline from an academic point of view and from a country where Family Medicine is more strong and established than in my country.”

Dr. Gusso continues to work part time as a family doctor in a private clinic and part time as Professor. In his role as professor, Dr. Gusso supervises family medicine residents and coordinates the rotation of fifth year undergraduate medical students. His research spans two varied fields: communication and quality assessment of health centers.

Dr. Gusso’s success continues. He was the editor of the Textbook of Family and Community Medicine that won the award, Best Book of Medicine, in 2013, from Camara Brasileira do Livro. He will also be the President of the 21st Wonca World Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and is planning a sabbatical year in Europe in 2017.

Equipped with his MClSc, Dr. Gusso works to improve the health care system in Brazil by bringing primary health care to the forefront. He has dedicated himself to change Brazil’s health care system towards greater equity, rationality and a patient-centered approach.