Sister Monique, health leader in Brazil, named Honorary Fellow for 2018
Imagine introducing yourself as a family physician and getting blank looks in return. This is what happened to Sister Monique Bourget, MDCM, upon her arrival in Brazil more than 20 years ago (1). After revalidating her medical degree through exams and various courses, and immersing herself in Brazilian Portuguese, she set about putting her training to good use. Today, she is medical director of the Santa Marcelina Hospital in Itaquera and Itaim Paulista. Her impressive biography includes improvements in obstetrics care and, somewhat full circle, helping to establish Family Medicine as a specialty in the country.
Sister, physician, health advocate
Sr. Monique is a member of the Sisters of Santa Marcelina and a McGill University graduate. She has had an extraordinary impact on the health of millions of individuals in eastern São Paulo, Brazil. Trained in Family Medicine, she became a sister concurrent with her medical school training. In November 1994, at the request of her order, she immigrated to Brazil.
Brazil’s population dwarfs that of Canada; yet, upon her arrival, the expansive country lacked a functional primary care model. Her dedication helped lead to the expansion of community clinics and inter-professional primary care teams in one of the poorest and most densely populated regions of São Paulo. These teams have been replicated in many areas of Brazil and provide service to a significant portion of the Brazilian population and are revolutionizing primary health care in the country.
The Santa Marcelina Hospital grew under Sr. Monique’s leadership. It is now a tertiary care hospital that serves two million people and includes a new medical school. Focused initially on improving the quality of obstetrics care, Sr. Monique built on skills in public health and was instrumental in establishing the Family Medicine program. In 2005, she assumed the leadership of the university hospital. She is also a professor of the Spiritual and End of Life Care discipline, part of the medical program she played a key role in developing.
See who else is being recognized with Honorary Fellowship
Photo: (left to right) Brigadier-General Downes, Dr. Eric Holmboe, Dr. Andrew Pipe and Dr. Ignacio Sanchez
Brigadier-General A.M.T. Downes, CD, surgeon general and commander of Canadian Forces Health Services Group | An illustrious career serving the Canadian Forces, Brigadier-General Downes has worked as a flight surgeon, diving medical officer, Aerospace Medical Programs Flight Surgeon and Lieutenant Colonel, among other roles. He has had four international deployments, including to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan.
Dr. Eric S. Holmboe, senior vice president, Milestone Development and Evaluation, Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education | Dr. Holmboe is broadly considered an expert on residency education. He has been widely published and his scholarship contributions are heralded for their transformative influence on medical training and continuing professional development.
Dr. Andrew Pipe, chief, Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation, University of Ottawa (Retired in 2017) | It’s ironic that someone with the last name “Pipe” dedicated a great deal of his life’s work to the cessation of smoking and tobacco control. In doing so, he improved the lives and health outcomes of countless Canadians, and influenced global health policy.
Dr. Ignacio Sanchez, rector, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile | It’s not easy introducing change; to be successful, strong leadership is needed. Dr. Sanchez has been that leader. Himself the recipient of postgraduate training in Canada, he has shown consistent dedication to introducing progressive system changes at his institution in Chile through adoption of Canadian postgraduate medical education standards.