Conference on Health Advocacy Toronto


THANK YOU FOR #CreatingConversations

180 registrants | 38 oral presentations | Canada-wide

#CHAToronto | April 4, 2020



The Conference on Health Advocacy Toronto (CHAT) is an annual event that showcases diverse advocacy initiatives that seek to improve the health and health care of Canadians. Established by medical students at the University of Toronto in 2019, the conference aims to promote greater collaboration and dissemination of Canadian health advocacy work among medical students, physicians and allied health professionals. Our leadership team is supported by an advisory board of physician advocates.

CHAT facilitates conversations on pressing issues in public policy, health services, public health, social and medical ethics

Physicians and allied health professionals are the front line of our healthcare system and deliver high quality care to patients every day. They are well-positioned to understand the needs of their patients and the complexities of the health care system, allowing them to identify gaps and champion innovative solutions. In fact, advocacy is one of the core pillars of physician education and competency. Health professionals advocate for their patients regularly, and strive to seek improvements to the health system and improve the social determinants of health for the most vulnerable.

A wealth of expertise and experiences in health advocacy is under-utilized due to our tendency to operate in local silos. There is an opportunity to foster collaboration, promote collective learning and share our experiences to grow as advocates. Further, there is no official forum to communicate this work in the medical community. CHAT is a new forum for Canadian health advocacy, fostering collaborations and creating conversations.

CHAT 2020 | Creating Conversations: Advocacy for Canadian health



The Honourable Jane Philpott MD, CCFP, MPH, PC

Dr. Jane Philpott is a medical doctor, educator, and former Member of Parliament.


She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Western Ontario. She completed a Family Medicine residency at the University of Ottawa and a Tropical Medicine fellowship at the University of Toronto. She later earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto.  


Dr. Philpott worked as a family doctor for 30 years. She spent the first decade of her career in Niger, West Africa working in the out-patient clinic of a rural hospital and training community health workers. In 1998, she moved to Stouffville, Ontario, where she served for 17 years as a family physician. She was Chief of Family Medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital. She led the launch of the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit and the Health for All Family Health Team. She also helped Addis Ababa University develop Ethiopia’s first training program for Family medicine.


Dr. Philpott was elected as the Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville in 2015. She served in numerous federal cabinet positions from 2015 to 2019, including Minister of Health, Minister of Indigenous Services, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government. She played a lead role in policies that have shaped our country: bringing Syrian refugees to Canada; legislating Medical Assistance in Dying; negotiating a health accord with new resources for mental health and home care; improving infrastructure for First Nations to provide clean water on reserve; and reforming child welfare to address the over-apprehension of Indigenous children.


Starting in July 2020, Dr. Philpott will be the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She currently serves as Special Adviser on Health for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, an organization representing 49 First Nation communities across Treaty 5 and Treaty 9 in northern Ontario.



Dr. Najma Ahmed MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Ahmed completed Medical School and General Surgery Residency at McGill University.  She holds a PhD in Surgical Infections and Sepsis which was completed during her surgical residency.  Following her residency she pursued fellowship training in Trauma Surgery and Critical Care at the University of Michigan and the University of Toronto.


Najma was recruited to St. Michael’s Hospital in the Division of General Surgery in 2001.  Her clinical focus and practice is in Acute Care Surgery, Trauma and Critical Care.  She has been committed to clinical training processes and outcomes since the beginning of her career. From 2008 until 2018, Najma was the Residency Program Director for General Surgery, responsible for the largest and arguably most complex surgical training program in North America.  Under her leadership the program became recognized as a highly functional, cohesive program focused on providing excellent learning opportunities for all learners. 


Najma holds the positions of Vice Chair of education, Department of Surgery at U of T and Professor of Surgery. In this role, she provides visionary leadership for training success for medical students, residents and fellows, as well as career success of surgeon-teachers within the Department of Surgery. Her contributions to post graduate surgical education have been recognized by numerous awards, including the prestigious Royal College AMS/Donald Richards Wilson Award in 2016.


Her current scholarly activities relate to Resident duty hours, Resident wellness and the application of a competency based framework to surgical training.  Recently she has become an advocate for safer gun legislation in Canada.  Dr. Ahmed’s daughter Izza is 14 years of age and attends Branksome Hall School.  


She is a member of the Executive Team of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) which is a grassroots organization concerned about the increasing public health impact of firearms.  The goal of this organization to make communities safer by reducing or eliminating access to handgun and assault weapons.


Dr. Edward Xie MD, MSc, CCFP(EM), DTM&H

Dr. Edward Xie is an emergency physician at University Health Network and an Assistant Professor at University of Toronto's Department of Family & Community Medicine. He completed an MSc in Health Policy at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

Dr. Xie has written both academic and public literature on addictions, housing, structural determinants of health, and climate change. He works with a variety of academic and community organizations including the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Médecins Sans Frontières, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Global Health Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Samantha Green, MD, CCFP

Samantha Green is a family physician at St. Michael's Hospital and at Inner City Health Associates, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She is engaged in teaching and research about the social determinants of health, advocacy, and climate change. She serves as a Board Member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and is the former chair of the advocacy group Health Providers Against Poverty (HPAP).





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Abstract Submission

Abstract submission is closed. To register for CHAT 2020, please see the Register tab.

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The Team

CHAT 2021 Co-Chairs: Isra Hussein and Anser Daud

Past Leadership: CHAT 2020

Faculty Advisory Board: Dr. Abi Sriharan, Dr. Philip Berger, and Dr. Jennifer Hulme

Co-Chairs and Co-Founders: Hilary Pang and David Wiercigroch

Partnerships Co-Directors: Sabrina Yeung and Aarushi Bansal

Logistics Director: Kyra Moura

Events Director: Mona Khalid

Communications Director: Monica Shah

Research Director: Emmanuel Igbokwe

The CHAT 2020 Leadership Team comprises of MD and MD/MSc Candidates of the

University of Toronto (Class of 2021 and 2022)

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