Featured Doctor


Director, Besrour Centre for Global Family Medicine

What work do you do now?

I am a family doctor in Ottawa and I also feel very privileged to be directing efforts at the Besrour Centre for Global Family Medicine at the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The Besrour is a global hub of thought and advocacy on the role of family medicine in health systems, and being a bilingual Canadian institution, has developed a special role in bringing together best practices both regionally and globally.

Other interesting things you have done?

The highlight of my career so far was spending several months with MSF/Doctors Without Borders in Chad during the peak of the Darfur crisis. It was gut wrenching and life changing (more here). I remember treating hundreds of internally displaced persons with malaria, and in particular one boy, whom we could not save. His father came to wrap his limp body in a crisp white sheet, and on the way out, stopped to thank us - earnestly - for our efforts. I have never looked at access to care the same way since.

About the Besrour Centre and its priorities?

The Besrour Centre for Global Family Medicine is in a time of growth. We have a new research lead, are hiring a new manager (please let me know if interested!), and have our first fellow from overseas whom we are mentoring around a medical education research project. We are also proud to be partnered with the WONCA mental health working group in mentoring a young family doctor in rural Kenya in his efforts to integrate mental health care into his primary care system.

Nonetheless, we remain a small team, and therefore must align with priorities of our College to gain traction on key files. It's all about focus and alignment. Thankfully, the priorities of the College are extremely relevant to global health: mental health integration, team-based care models (including how family doctors can provide leadership), and universal coverage.

We have several ways to get involved: through one of our workgroups (Research including narrative methods; Education; Community Engagement); by participating in our monthly "Besrour Café" webinars; by joining our annual forums (see report in English, rapport en français); or simply by writing to me directly ([email protected]). We would love to hear your input and ideas!

We are currently producing a series of podcasts on how we can come together as a global community to share lessons on the COVID-19 outbreak. What a critical time to demonstrate the importance of mutual learning and global community-building to face global problems. The first podcast, from Saudi Arabia, can be accessed here.

Your interests at work and privately.

When I am not working, I am often skiing, or biking. My wife is very patient with the expanding collection of skiis and bikes in our basement.

I have three wonderful girls (7,4,2) which not only explains my interest in family medicine and maternal and child health, but also keeps me constantly entertained. I am trying to raise them with a global-minded mindset—we have lived in the UK, France and briefly, Kenya—all while staying grounded and balanced. We love the outdoors and taking our puppy Hudson into the great Canadian outdoors. My wife is a curator of European Art at the National Gallery of Canada which is also very fortunate...family medicine is truly more of an Art. And we are all its care keepers.