Testimonial from Brazilian resident Isabella Saraiva on her observership

Read a letter from Isabella Lourenço Saraiva, a Brazilian resident who visited the Department of Family Medicine’s CLSC at Côte-des-Neiges and Parc Extension for an elective this last November. Isabella attended Universidade Metropolitana de Santos, in São Paulo, and graduated in 2021.

Hi Dr. Adams, Dr. De Margerie and Dr. Chirgwin,

What an amazing month I had! All thanks to you and your colleagues.

So, coming up to the end of my four-week observership in immigrant and refugee health here in Montreal, I couldn’t be more grateful and honored to have been gifted with this opportunity. Feels like I got an early Christmas present! The lessons here learnt will definitely shape the practice I want to lead in the future, from medical literacy to transcultural psychiatry.

This observership really changed my life. Thank you so very much for receiving me.

Being with you in two specialized immigrant health centers, at Cote des Neiges and Parc, gave me a present and future perspective, in the sense that it’s indeed possible to do it. I also went to PRAIDA and saw how the patients get to the doctor’s office. And I got to go to NGOs such as CAFLA and The Refugee Center.

I told this to Dr. De Margerie last week and would like to share with you too. Here in Montreal, at McGill, and because of the devoted working people here, there’s this huge abundant knowledge about a most pressing 21 century concern, immigration. And the causes/consequences of it to the local health system is of your lifetime studying and expertise. So, as I’m just finishing a sort of workshop training, and am feeling empowered with all this new knowledge, I really see your potential in disseminating it to physicians interested on working with refugees and immigrants in other countries. You could come up with a sort of short-term elective. I’d apply and come here all over again!

Anyway, my plan going forward is a masters in global health. There’s two I’m applying for in London. One at king’s college for global health, public policy and social justice, and the other at the London institute of hygiene for international health. All this to say that this observership also made me confident enough to think I could actually get in! (And if possible, I could really use a letter of recommendation from you guys).

Please, extend my gratitude to all your colleagues: the people at PRAIDA, CAFLA and the refugee center, Dr. Ruiz, Dr. Yung, Dr. Schoucri, Dr. Wretzel, Dr. Richter, Alexandrine, Mariama and Naomi, all the lovely residents and staff at both CDN and Parc. I was also introduced to Dr. Perle Feldman who created the Brazilian FamMed program back in the year 2000 something. What an honor!

Well, I really have a lot to be thankful for. I’ll always remember you all with fondness.

Of course, if you ever come to Brazil, I’d be overjoyed to receive you.

Again, thank you all so much.

Isabella Lourenço Saraiva.

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