Linda Sun, a 2nd-year Health Management and Policy student and Ontario native, collaborated with Professor Scott Greer to organize a “study tour” of the Ontario health system in Toronto on March 30, 2012. The day began with a tour of ‘SickKids‘, one of Canada’s exemplary pediatric institutions and research institutions.
The rest of the day was organized by Adalsteinn D. Brown, or “Steinni” as he is affectionately known at the Ministry of Health; he is chair of Public Health Policy at the University of Toronto. We met with the Health Quality Branch and Health System Strategy division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to discuss the implementation of the Excellent Care for All Act (2010) and Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care (2012).
We also had the opportunity to share ideas on patient satisfaction initiatives with a consultant to the Ontario Hospital Association. Additionally, we interacted with current students at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, getting their perspective on current issues in the Ontario health system, such as health disparities, and answering questions they had about the American health services system.
The students, as well as a Canadian doctor I met at UM’s 2012 Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium for Health and Social Justice, invited me to the 4th Annual Students for Medicare Conference “Medicare in the Age of Austerity” the next day. The conference was filled with passionate discussions with physicians, economists, students, and community members alike about national cuts to provincial health budgets and the political debate on increased privatization of health as an alternative solution with several comparisons to the U.S. system.
Overall, the trip was an invaluable experience and Professor Greer and I look forward to expanding and continuing the trip next year.