MunMed Gateway

About Us

Our history

In 2005, two of Memorial University's second year medical students (Monica Kidd and Yoella Teplitsky) were inspired through their Clinical Skills and Medical Ethics course to begin exploring ideas for a student-driven, community-based initiative.  With the support of the course’s instructors (Drs. Pauline Duke and Fern Brunger), the Dean of Medicine (Dr. James Rourke) and the Association for New Canadians, the students developed a proposal for a program that would improve medical care for newly-arrived refugees -- this program became known as the ‘MUN Med Gateway Project’.

The first interviews with refugee clients were held in early June of 2006 and by that fall, the project’s founders had recruited 18 physicians willing to participate in the project. 

Our purpose

MUN Med Gateway serves as a gateway to medical services for refugees in the St. John’s area, engages medical students at Memorial University in community action, and provides them with experience in cross-cultural practice.

What we do

Gateway helps improve access to medical care for refugees in the St. John’s area (our clients) by providing pre-medical services.  Student volunteers of MUN Med Gateway conduct interviews with refugee participants to develop written medical histories.   In many cases, English is not the first language of the participants, so translators facilitate discussion with the medical students.  These histories are stored in the Faculty of Medicine’s secure database and, with participant consent, the information gleaned from the interviews is used anonymously in research that aims to improve the health outcomes for new Canadians.  Gateway also matches refugee participants with a family physician based on location/accessibility, medical and cultural needs, and shares the participant's medical history with the family physician.  The ANC then works with participants and their physicians to arrange appointments,
translation services and transportation.  

Our Advisory Committee 

MUN MED Gateway is made possible through the leadership of faculty, staff and student coordinators in the Faculty of Medicine, and leads from our partners at the ANC and Eastern Health, who are described below. Together, they form an advisory committee that meets regularly and collaboratively guides the implementation and evolution of Gateway’s activities. 

Who we are

Founded by students in 2006, Gateway is a student-led, community-based initiative.  It is supported through a partnership between Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine (including the divisions of Family Medicine, Community Health and Humanities, and Undergraduate Medical Education) and the Association for New Canadians (ANC)

  • Medical student volunteers
Each year, students from first and second year Medicine sign up to volunteer with Gateway.  The student volunteers conduct the interviews and screenings with refugee participants to develop written medical histories and lead Gateway's additional initiatives. In the 2014-2015 school year, we had 92 first- and second-year student volunteers.     

Incoming first year volunteers 2016-2017


  • Medical student coordinators  
Our medical student coordinators organize training for medical students in working with clients, liaise with the ANC and arrange student volunteer participation. The medical student coordinators for 2018-2019 are:   

 Luke Duffley (Medical Student Coordinator, 2018 - 2019)

 Na Nguyent (Medical Student Coordinator, 2018 - 2018)

  • Program coordinator
Our co-ordinator, Kate Duff, oversees the administrative aspects of the program, attends weekly Gateway sessions, works with partners to identify and move on priority actions and initiatives, and acts as a liaison for the partnership.

  director-s-pic-(1).jpg   Kate Duff (Program Coordinator)

  • Faculty advisors
Our faculty advisors provide supervision, inspiration and guidance for the program. They have been dedicated to Gateway since its early days. Dr. Pauline Duke (Discipline of Family Medicine) worked with the students who originated the project, has been pivotal in seeing the project evolve into an established and thriving program, and has since then supervised the students each week at Gateway sessions. In 2015, Dr. Duke established a Refugee Health Clinic, along with Dr. Christine Bassler, and together they supervise students in Gateway sessions and accept all the patients seen through Gateway into the Refugee Health Clinic.  Dr. Shree Mulay (associate dean of Community Health and Humanities) provides administrative supervision and brings her expertise on refugee health issues. Dr. Gerard Farrell (director of the eHealth Research Unit) ensures the security of Gateway’s database that houses refugee participant information. Dr. Fern Brunger leads Gateway’s research endeavours and contributes her expertise on research and public engagement ethics. 

    Dr. Pauline Duke (Discipline of Family Medicine) oversees the involvement of medical students and accepts newcomer patients through the Refugee Health Clinic.

Dr. Christine Bassler (Discipline of Family Medicine) oversees the involvement of medical students and accepts newcomer patients through the Refugee Health Clinic.
   Dr. Gerard Farrell (Assoc. Dean of Undergraduate Medicine) ensures the security of the database, 

   Dr. Shree Mulay (Assoc. Dean of Community Health and Humanities) assists with administrative operations.

   Dr. Fern Brunger (Community Health and Humanities) leads research and assists with ethics.  

  • Global Health Advisor
The coordinator for the Faculty of Medicine’s Global Health Office, Dr. Jill Allison, brings her expertise to Gateway as an advisor on global health issues and ethics. She also assists with Gateway planning and presentations.

  • Easter Health leads
Eastern Health operates a public health clinic dedicated to serving the clients of the ANC, and this is where Gateway sessions take place. The clinic’s public health nurse, Barbara Albrechtsons, is a dedicated advocate for refugees and their families. She attends all Gateway sessions and provides guidance and oversight for students in the physical screenings. Nurse Albrechtsons leads several of Gateway’s additional initiatives that respond to the needs of refugees in St. John’s, and much more.

   Barbara Albrechtsons (Eastern Health Public Health Nurse at the ANC), who facilitates sessions and oversees the screening by student volunteers.  

  • Association for New Canadians (ANC) leads
The ANC facilitates the settlement of refugees when they arrive in St. John’s. The ANC connects Gateway’s medical student volunteers with newcomer refugees. Raya Majid (ANC settlement health counsellor) co-ordinates the participation of newcomers for Gateway sessions. Michelle Parsons (settlement social worker) provides guidance on approaches and ethics for working with refugees. 

Past medical student coordinators
  • Melissa Ge and Dylan Sohi, 2017-2018
  • Hamza Ballouk and Alison Hamilton, 2016-2017
  • Pamela Doran and Kalen Thompson, 2015-2016
  • Arbbesa Dedinca and Kristina Roche, 2014-2015
  • Daniel Albrechtsons and Raymond Li, 2013 - 2014
  • Joy Crocker and Felicia Pickard, 2012 - 2013
  • Paul Crocker and Catherine Winsor, 2011 - 2012
  • Janet Roberts and David Watton, 2010 - 2011 
  • Francoise Guigne and Melanie Stenback, 2009 - 2010
  • Karen Downton and Anna Sanderson, 2008 - 2009
  • Sarah Cutler and Andrea Weirathmueller, 2007 - 2008
  • Megan Smith, 2006 - 2007
  • Monica Kidd and Yoella Teplitsky (Gateway's student founders), 2005 - 2006