Ecuador project

Participatory research/mentorship of medical students in primary care research


Student dressed in traditional dressSince 2008, 1st year medical students have had the opportunity to be involved in an ongoing participatory research project with several indigenous communities of Cotacachi, Ecuador. Each year, the leaders of the communities choose the research theme and the students develop and implement the project with the community during an 8-week field placement in the summer. Most recently, the communities have identified nutrition as a topic of concern as it relates to child growth, food insecurity and traditional knowledge.

The program is funded through the Faculty of Medicine Summer Research Bursary. Students are mentored in the process and methods of participatory research, of ethics review application, of statistical analysis and are encouraged to present the data at conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals. 

Capacity-building project: TEACH

Training and Education for Andean Community HealthEcuador, like many South American countries, is currently developing its primary care network. Rural communities, and in particular indigenous rural communities, still suffer from limited access to basic health care services. In 2012, at the request of several indigenous communities in the area of Cotacachi, the Department of Family Medicine of McGill University developed a 5-year capacity-building program aimed at training local, indigenous community health workers in health promotion and disease prevention.

Through a series of workshops, 15 women are being mentored to be the guardians for the health of their communities. This project, entitled TEACH (Training and Education for Andean Community Health), has received approval from the Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador, support from the local hospital and health center, as well as financial support from the Institute of Health and Social Policy of McGill University. 

If you are interested in learning more about these two projects, please contact alison.doucet [at] (Dr. Alison Doucet).