Scarborough’s Latif Murji was just beginning medical school at the University of Toronto when he conceptualized Stand Up for Health, an immersive simulation that gives healthcare students a better understanding of the social determinants of health through experiential learning. Participants are placed in the role of Canadians living in poverty and must interact, make choices, and solve the challenges of their particular circumstances. The latter portion of the workshop consists of a facilitated discussion on challenges faced by marginalized Canadians as well as on public policy that leads to a healthy and equitable society.
Evaluative research has determined that participants gain greater knowledge of the social determinants of health, and exhibit enhanced empathy and compassion following the experience. Stand Up for Health, which now includes a train-the-trainer “Bootcamp” component for facilitators, has become an official curricular activity within the University of Toronto and Western University medical programs.
Dr. Murji has also found success in peer engagement through social media. As director of marketing for the university’s 2013–14 Gift of Life Campaign, he mobilized an inter-professional team in what became Ontario’s largest organ donor campaign. He also served as a student leader as part of the 2014 National Day of Action against cuts to refugee health care.
In 2015 Dr. Murji received the OMA Medical Student Achievement Award. He also is a recipient of his alma mater’s Dr. Norman Bethune Award for community leadership and high academic standing.
In July 2016 he began a family medicine residency in Toronto.
Source: 2016 CMA Award recipients