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The Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund

for the McGill Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Residents | 2018

An African health professional listens to the belly of her pregnant patientThe deadline for applications for the Fall 2018 was September 23rd. Award recipients will be announced at the Dr. Alice Benjamin Celebration in early October.  Thank you to all who participated!

Established in 2018 in honour of Dr. Alice Benjamin by family, friends and patients whose lives she touched throughout her career. To provide support for one or more students or trainees who are pursuing an elective or a research project overseas in under-resourced areas of the world. Awarded by the Faculty of Medicine upon recommendation of the Director of Global Health Programs.

Every year, approximately 287,000 women die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, 99% of them are in low-resource settings. The placements through the Dr. Alice Benjamin Fund provide Ob/Gyn trainees with the chance to learn from their colleagues other parts of the world and to pursue their global health interests.

Through the Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund McGill, residents in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have the opportunity to learn through focused electives with collaborating hospitals and institutions in low and middle income countries. Each award will be worth about $3,500, and can be used to cover travel and accommodation costs.


Eligibility and Rules:

  • Any registered McGill University Ob/Gyn resident (PGY3 or higher when travel will occur) can compete for these awards. Resident must also be in good standing.
  • Travel will be summer 2019, unless schedule of resident allows for an alternative timeframe. Travel weeks to be approved by the Department of Ob/Gyn and communicated with GHP.
  • Minimum duration of the elective work is 4 weeks.
  • The elective must be conducted in a low or middle income country, or among underserved populations in Canada. The descriptions of the four placements that are options for 2018 can be found below.
  • Electives are focused on clinical training (versus research) and are focused on learning, not on doing or teaching. Residents will respect the expertise of their LMIC counterparts and recognize that in the unfamiliar context of their placement patient safety is the priority.
  • All awardees will be required to present their work at the Global Health Night, and at the Ob/Gyn Grand Rounds (after completion of their travel).

To apply: Application includes: CV, motivation statement, and choice of placement site.

Deadline is September 23rd, midnight. A selection committee will select the awardees. First winner will be announced by September 30th. Note that the winner will be asked to appear at event honoring Dr. Benjamin the evening of October 3rd--details to be shared with winner. 

Placement Sites 2018

**All site placements are through a partnership between McGill Global Health Programs and Child Family Health International (CFHI). CFHI is a well-respected organization with years of experience in coordinating quality learning experiences for health professional students and residents of all kinds.**

Uganda

Language: English

Uganda, located in the Nile basin of Eastern Africa, has the 20th highest maternal mortality rate and the 15th highest infant mortality rate in the world according to the World Health Organization. The majority of people live on less than $2 per day. It’s estimated that only 30% of women give birth in settings with a trained health professional. Given high incidences of malnutrition, anemia, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, many pregnant women are at risk of complicated births that lead to illness or death. Children under five are also at risk of contracting preventable diseases and suffering from acute malnutrition.

Located in the community in Kabale, a town located in southwestern Uganda, the visiting resident will learn about their groundbreaking, integrated approach to addressing and improving maternal and child health. Due to insufficient government infrastructure and funding, nonprofit organizations have taken the lead in providing access to healthcare services, especially in remote regions.

In collaboration with the local partners the visiting resident will rotate through the main general clinic, as well as the newly built Maternal and Child Hospital where you will take part in rounds with physicians, nurses, medical officers, lab and ultrasound technicians. At the HIV/AIDS clinic, sit in on counseling sessions, assist health workers with testing and learn how to reduce rates of mother to child transmission. Conduct outreach in a rural village and explore how nutrition and HIV are closely linked. Other opportunities include rotating at a nutrition center that treats and prevents maternal and child malnutrition, visiting traditional birth attendants and healers, and joining a local radio program that provides public health education to the community.

**The resident will be given some options and can help design a schedule to fit their interests.**

For more information on the hospital and clinical sites: https://www.cfhi.org/maternal-child-health-hiv-and-realities-of-health-access

Costs: Recipients of The Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund will receive approximately $3,500 toward airfare, CFHI fees for housing and food, and other living expenses for the 4-week block. Costs exceeding $3,500 will be covered by the resident. Housing and other arrangements will be coordinated with the on-site supervisors.

Flight to reach destination: ~$1,300

Fees paid directly to CFHI by McGill for included items including accommodations and 2 meals/day: $2,700

India

Language: English

With improvements in living standards, better immunization, nutrition and sanitation, and fewer deaths due to diarrheal diseases, more children are surviving if they make it past the first month of life. However, there has been little improvement in neonatal survival, an issue which is closely linked to maternal health and survival. The Maternal and Child Health program is designed to look into these issues through the clinical and preventive care centers in the city of Pune, India.

Participants will have the chance to work with a variety of private and public clinical sites including larger hospitals and smaller clinics. See first-hand how the healthcare system in India serves the needs of women and children. They will experience antenatal care, intranatal care and postnatal care facilities and will learn about newborn care, immunization schedules and pediatric care up to age five. Participants can also rotate in family planning clinics, and will have the opportunity to work in clinics that manage sexually transmitted infections and disease.

The city of Pune is located in the Sahayadri Hills, a few hours inland from the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, Pune is a fascinating, lively city. This renowned cultural and educational center that boasts a live energy and nice year round climate.

**The resident will be given some options and can help design a schedule to fit their interests.**

For more information about the hospital and clinical sites: https://www.cfhi.org/maternal-child-health

Costs: Recipients of The Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund will receive approximately $3,500 toward airfare, CFHI fees for housing and food, and other living expenses for the 4-week block. Costs exceeding $3,500 will be covered by the resident. Housing and other arrangements will be coordinated with the on-site supervisors.

Flight to reach destination: ~$1,500

Fees paid directly to CFHI by McGill for included items including accommodations and 2 meals/day: $2,850

Bolivia

Language: Spanish (requires Beginner 1 Spanish: “I can speak a little and understand at times if people speak slowly and clearly.”)

Bolivia has the largest proportion of indigenous people in Latin America; the Quechua and Aymara alone make up approximately half of the population. This program is based La Paz, recently named one of the New Seven Wonders cities. In the last 10 years, political changes have meant improved access to health and educational services for the poorest of the poor, including social services provided for children and adolescents. Inequities still persist, however, and, as in most of Latin America, unequal access to healthcare is still the number one killer of moms and kids (World Bank).

The Public Hospital for Women, La Paz is tertiary hospital cares for women of childbearing age, from pregnancy to delivery to the postnatal period. A team of highly trained gynecologists and obstetricians solve most pathologies related to pregnancy and delivery. It is also a teaching hospital that trains medical students, interns, and Gynecology and Obstetrics residents. The resident will gain experience in working with largely indigenous populations in resource poor settings and come to understand the socioeconomic and cultural barriers they face in accessing services for their children.

**The resident will be given some options and can help design a schedule to fit their interests.**

For more information about the hospital and clinical sites: https://www.cfhi.org/pediatric-adolescent-medicine

Costs: Recipients of The Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund will receive approximately $3,500 toward airfare, CFHI fees for housing and food, and other living expenses for the 4-week block. Costs exceeding $3,500 will be covered by the resident. Housing and other arrangements will be coordinated with the on-site supervisors.

Flight to reach destination: ~$1,000

Fees paid directly to CFHI by McGill for included items including accommodations and 2 meals/day: $2,750

Ecuador

Language: Spanish (requires Beginner 1 Spanish: “I can speak a little and understand at times if people speak slowly and clearly.”)

Ecuador is one of the few Latin American countries to explicitly guarantee sexual and reproductive health rights and to provide free emergency contraception. In 1998, it passed the Free Maternity Law providing free healthcare for pregnant women and newborns. Despite its progressive laws, tensions persist given the predominantly Catholic and largely socially conservative nature of the country.

Learn about reproductive healthcare in Ecuador, where limited discussion and openness regarding sexual health issues and lack of funding predominate. Witness how cultural attitudes toward gender equality affect a woman’s willingness and ability to seek treatment or obtain information about reproductive and sexual health. Rotate at a public maternity hospital where high-risk pregnancies are managed. Services provided include prenatal and postnatal care, labor and delivery, and emergency care. Other rotations include an adolescent clinic, where pregnant patients and new mothers between the ages of 12 and 18 are treated, as well as a primary healthcare center providing women’s health services such as pap smears, IUDs, etc.

**The resident will be given some options and can help design a schedule to fit their interests.**

For more information about the hospital and clinical sites: https://www.cfhi.org/reproductive-sexual-health-as-a-human-right

Costs: Recipients of The Dr. Alice Benjamin Global Maternal and Child Health Fund will receive approximately $3,500 toward airfare, CFHI fees for housing and food, and other living expenses for the 4-week block. Costs exceeding $3,500 will be covered by the resident. Housing and other arrangements will be coordinated with the on-site supervisors.

Flight to reach destination: ~$1,000

Fees paid directly to CFHI by McGill for included items including accommodations and 2 meals/day: $2,920

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McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which peoples of the world now gather. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.