Refugee Lecture Series

Palmyra, an ancient Semitic city in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Photo credit: Mary Cummins

Photo credit: Dr. Mary Cummins

Hello, and welcome to the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

As of January 2016, Canada celebrated the arrival of 10,000 refugees of Syrian decent since November 4, 2015, many of whom have made Edmonton-or Alberta-their home. Canada has a long history of multiculturalism and having an open-door policy to refugees from diverse areas of the globe, who have subsequently become valuable members of our society.

Understandably, many questions come up in relation to the health, and unique medical issues, that may arise in refugees. The faculty already has strong partnerships both locally (i.e. with Alberta Health Services) and indeed internationally.

The faculty has developed the following Refugee Lecture Series over the past month, bringing together our members in this educational and community engagement initiative. It will hopefully be a resource to enhance information already available through different sources for refugee care. We hope this information will be helpful to the many health care workers providing care to refugees (both Syrian and other), particularly in improving their level of comfort managing the unique medical concerns of refugees.

As vice-dean of education, I welcome you to view the individual videos in this lecture series. As well, please feel free to provide feedback on the website as well as any of the talks , and additional material you may find helpful.


Dr. Fraser Brenneis

Refugee Lecture Series

Cultural Awareness:
Syrian Refugees in Canada

Refugee Mental Health

Care of Refugees:
Focus on Communicable Diseases & Syria

Viral Hepatitis in Refugee Populations


Assessments of Anemias


Respiratory Concerns:
Refugees in Canada

Disclaimer: The videos listed above are intended to be used as reference material for licensed physicians who may offer health-care services to patients who are Syrian refugees. In no way should these videos supersede any medical diagnosis or medical training, and nor are they a replacement for health-care services. Any questions or concerns can be sent to

Who are our speakers?

Many of the speakers in this series were inspired by their heritage or educational experiences. Meet the Refugee Lecture Series speakers:

Maher Saqqur was born and grew up in Syria.

Saleem Al-Nuiami was born and grew up in Edmonton.

Karen Doucette was born in Ontario and grew up in Nova Scotia.

Anu Parhar was born in Saskatoon and grew up in Edmonton.

Dilini Vethanayagam was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Sri Lanka and in Edmonton.

Robert Turner Born in Carroll, Manitoba, and grew up in Neepawa, Mannitoba.

Stan Houston is an infectious disease physician with an interest in global health.

Mark Karstad, the educational technology facilitator for this series, was born in Georgia, USA, and grew up Kenya.

Many of these speakers have also gone to countries around the world to offer international health care.