Robert Huish

Current affiliation:
Assistant Professor, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University

Assistant Professor, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University

On the first day of my first trip to Cuba, I took an ugly spill on a beach and wound up in a Cuban hospital where I received outstanding and gratuitous treatment in less time than it took to get a taxi back to the hotel. A few days later I visited Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), where thousands of students come from humble regions of Latin America and Africa to study medicine for free. Having experienced the country's health care system first hand, it fascinated me to understand how this Cuban medical school sought to change the geographies of health care in Latin America by empowering students from vulnerable communities to meet the needs of those communities.

My Ph.D. research tried to get to the bottom of this, and to better understand how we can build healthy societies by investing in each other rather than just in material things. Thanks to a fateful voyage my research questions were born, but they were given life thanks to the Trudeau Foundation. As a Trudeau Scholar I was able to thoroughly explore Cuba's health-care system, meet up with ELAM's graduates who were working in Ecuador, and build dialogue on how we can make the world a healthier place if we start investing in each other.

The Foundation's community supported me every step of the way. Getting through this multi-national and multi-disciplinary topic required tremendous support. No doubt, it was the moral support of the Mentors, Fellows and my fellow Scholars that encouraged me to see this project through and arrive at the finish line.

Thanks to the relationships I made from the Foundation's community I am now taking this research past the finish line and into dialogue with professional organizations, academics and the public sector so we can better understand how to meet the health-care needs of our vulnerable communities (both in North and South America) by building health-care capacity from within them.