Family Medicine & Interprofessional Primary Care in the Global Health Context


Course Description

This course is intended to provide an overview of key issues pertinent to the strengthening of primary health care (PHC) and the delivery of high-quality collaborative and comprehensive primary care services, including but not limited to the role of family medicine globally. The World Health Organization and the recently adopted Astana Declaration of 2018 identify PHC as the pathway of choice for achieving health equity and responding to today‚Äôs global health challenges as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals. PHC combines high-quality primary care (including team-based family medicine) and essential public health functions at the core of integrated health services, with multisectoral action on health and empowered people, as individuals, families, and communities. Aligned with the call of the Astana Declaration and based on a review of the evidence and on local knowledge, this course will explore how PHC and primary care can impact health locally and globally, with a focus on advancing health equity and addressing the broader structural determinants of health. Health systems anchored in PHC will be discussed in relation to the resilience, responsiveness, and flexibility required to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic including its impact on health equity globally.

The course will provide a critical review of the history and evolution of primary care, within the broader context of PHC. Evolving global health policies related to the development of robust PHC from an interprofessional collaborative practice perspective will be explored. Guest speakers from different regions of the world will share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of how primary care and PHC can be oriented to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in different contexts. Learners will have an opportunity to critically appraise health systems from different parts of the world and will analyze current and emerging global health priorities, particularly related to PHC. 

Reflexivity and use of a socio-critical perspective to reflect on dominant discourses and assumptions in relation to global health issues will facilitate deeper explorations of the historical, political, economic, and social forces underpinning social and health inequities.

Course Goals & Objectives

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the evolution of primary health care, primary care, interdisciplinary primary care teams and family medicine within a broader social policy context, including recent developments in related global health policies.
  2. Compare the development of primary care, primary health care, and family medicine in different countries and regions through a critical analysis of political, economic, historical, and social contexts and the frameworks of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  3. Analyze the roles of family medicine,  interprofessional primary care, and primary health care as levers in responding to global health challenges and in promoting health equity.
  4. Analyze how interprofessional collaborative practice and the engagement of a range of actors and providers contribute to primary health care, primary care, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and health equity.
  5. Reflect on the core values of reflexive practice - equity, social inclusion, reciprocity and sustainability.
  6.  Critique and analyze health policies and resource distribution with respect to impact on health equity and social justice.

Format: Lecture / Seminar


Tel: 416.978.8363


Participants must be licensed primary care practitioners in their country of primary residence or a senior trainee therein or graduate students with an interest in global health and primary health care.

Sample Course Syllabus from 2022: Syllabus CHL5618H 2022.pdf