MEDTalks Conference: Health & Development

The MEDLIFE McGill MEDTalks conference series dives into hot topics in international charity and developmental aid work. Each conference will present current issues in development and address challenges faced while pursuing this work both locally and worldwide.

Come learn more on Wednesday, March 26th at 7:00 pm in the Lev Bukhman Room in SSMU. This semester’s conference will be on Health & Development. Doors open at 6:45 pm and refreshments will be provided. RSVP to our Facebook event.


Dr. Anne Andermann

Creating supportive environments for health: What boat do you want to be in?

Dr. Anne AndermannDr. Anne Andermann is an Associate Professor at McGill University, Regional Medical Officer for Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Chair of the public health theme for the new undergraduate medical curriculum at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, and founder of an international research collaboration ( that aims to help frontline health workers address the underlying social causes of poor health through a combination of direct patient care, referral and advocacy for larger social change. Dr. Andermann has previously worked on research capacity strengthening for low- and middle-income countries at the World Health Organization in Geneva where she was also a member of the WHO Research Ethics Review Committee and a main contributing author of the World Health Report 2008 on increasing universal access to primary health care. She is the Medical Specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Health Canada’s Quebec Regional Office, a Public Health Physician at the Cree Health Board, Chair of the Community Oriented Primary Care Committee (COPC) at St Mary’s Hospital, and the focal point at the McGill Faculty of Medicine responsible for incorporating a greater emphasis on the social determinants of health and a population health approach into the new medical school curriculum. Dr. Andermann was recently awarded the Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health award from Grand Challenges Canada and the Clinical Research Scholars award from FRQ-S. Her new book entitled Evidence for Health: From Patient Choice to Global Policy is now available from Cambridge University Press at

 Claude Leblanc

Importance of bridging differences and bringing education to the youth of Senegal

Claude LeblancMr. Claude Leblanc is currently the adjunct director at Collège Beaubois, overseeing grades 7, 8 and 9. He earned a specialized bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree in theology, as well as a certificate in education before becoming a teacher at Collège Beaubois in 1990. Over the years, he taught the following courses: personal and social development, career orientation, ecology, English, computer science, geography, science and technology, as well as ethics and religion. Moreover, Mr. Leblanc co-founded an international cooperation project in Senegal for grade 10 and 11 students and contributed to the instalment of fair trade practices in student-run initiatives. He also helped install the project École Verte Burntland in his school, a movement aiming to promote sharing, cooperation, equity, solidarity, respect, peace and human rights within the workplace and the learning environment. Finally, he recently contributed to associating Collège Beaubois to UNESCO, in part through his work in Senegal, and thus allowed for the deep involvement of his students in the debate on international development initiatives and human rights protection.

Diane Singhroy

How universities and students can champion access to medicines and advance neglected disease research through changes in intellectual property policies

Diane SinghroyDiane is a PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. Her research at the McGill Aids Centre focuses on HIV- host interactions in the context of innate immunity and drug resistant viruses. During her undergrad she worked for the Office of Clinical Trials at Health Canada and completed an internship at the National HIV and Retrovirus Laboratory in Ottawa. She has been a human rights and HIV/AIDS activist since 2004 for issues ranging in advocating against the closing of harm reduction sites to anti-poverty campaigns with OXFAM. Diane has been a member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) since 2009 where she has worked on the campaign to pass Canada’s Access to Medicine’s Regime (CAMR) Reform Bill C-393. She has also attended the 2013 World Health Assembly as part of a delegation of UAEM students to push for the passing of the WHO Global RnD treaty. Currently, Diane is a member of UAEM’s coordinating committee where she continues her advocacy work regarding the RnD treaty in addition to leading campaigns on access to medicines in international trade policy.

George Greene

The homeless of St. Michael’s Mission and the impact you can make

George GreeneGeorge was a business leader in the lingerie industry, while remaining greatly involved in the community inciting his employees to volunteer. He eventually sold his company as he felt the desire to spend more of his time giving back to the community. As early as the 1990s, homelessness has been the main cause that he takes to heart. His organization of choice is St. Michael’s Mission, which works with homeless people in downtown Montreal of which George is now Executive Director.
George comes from a large loving family who gather often and support each other. George’s role model was his Mom who taught that it was better to give than to receive. George will be speaking about the Homeless who frequent the Mission and what impact you can have. As George is famous for stating, “they are homeless, not helpless”!

Developing Underdeveloped Ideas: Women and Development

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Learn more about MEDTalks and MEDLIFE McGill:

MEDLIFE McGill is pleased to present our first MEDTalks of 2013 on November 26th, 2013 at 7:15 pm in the SSMU Madeline Parent Room! Developing Underdeveloped Ideas: Women and Development will host a sequence of speakers presenting on various topics from the recent publicized attack in New Delhi to uplifting work being done in one of Montreal’s own women’s shelters. If development, empowerment, outreach and community interest you, come join us for a free evening of information and inspiration!

Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided, be sure to arrive on time to reserve your seat. In addition, we will be raffling off TWO prizes! The conference will officially start at 7:30PM. A chance to speak with the presenters will be available at the end of the evening.

Please RSVP to our Facebook event.


Professor Vrinda Narain

Faculty of Law and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF)

Dr. Vrinda NarainVrinda Narain is an Assistant Professor at McGill University where she holds a joint appointment in the Faculty of Law and the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Faculty of Arts. She is also a Research Associate in the Department of Afroasiatic Studies at the University of the Free State, South Africa. As a lawyer, she has practiced in the areas of family law, laws relating to women, constitutional law, corporate law and administrative law. She is the author of two books: “Reclaiming the Nation: Muslim Women and the Law in India” (University of Toronto Press, 2008) and “Gender and Community: Muslim Women’s Rights in India” (University of Toronto Press, 2001).

Dr. Sara Kahn

School of Social Work 

Dr. Sara KahnDr. Sara Kahn, from the School of Social Work faculty, has over 20 years of international social work practice experience. Dr. Kahn’s passions include fostering the development of new social workers, expanding roles for social workers on the world stage, and contributing to the evolution of cross-cultural approaches to support resilience in traumatized populations. Her research interests involve focus on the experiences of particularly vulnerable refugees settling in North America, including survivors of torture, gender-based violence, and persecution based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. Dr. Kahn is currently a consultant to Doctors Without Borders-USA and the International Rescue Committee on providing psychological support and crisis intervention for aid workers around the world. For almost a decade, she directed psychosocial programs in the U.S. for refugees and refugee claimants surviving war, torture, human trafficking, and domestic violence, providing mental health support, and serving as an expert witness on behalf of asylum-seekers.

Rebecca Chicheportiche

Executive Director, L’Abri d’espoir

Rébecca ChicheporticheRébecca Chicheportiche graduated from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1993 with a Bachelor of Physical Education, followed by a Certificate in Multi-Ethnic Intervention from the University of Montreal in 2002. Her early career closely focussed on child development, and included positions such as the interim director at Garderie La chanterelle du Vieux-Longueuil, director of La Place des Enfants, and general director at a Centre de la Petite Enfance. Since 2012, Ms. Chicheportiche has been the executive director of L’Abri d’espoir, a Salvation Army-affiliated shelter for women and children. She is currently also pursuing a master’s degree in management organization from Université Laval à Québec (Pavilion Montréal).

Hilary Chu

Undergraduate Student, Joint Major in Economics and Political Science

537272_10152702581335274_1765713044_nHilary Chu is a second-year student pursuing a double major in Economics and Political Science at McGill University. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, she has travelled twice to the African continent, sparking her interest in the region. Hilary first became interested in women’s issues with respect to developing countries when she travelled to rural Kenya in 2010 to help build an all-girls secondary school. On campus, she has been involved with the Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium, the International Relations Students’ Association of McGill, the Montreal Heart of the City Piano Program, and the Arts Undergraduate Society.