By Anne Chudobiak

Photo: ManLi Que
Photo: ManLi Que

For us, MGH is the Montreal General.

For them, it is Mass Gen.

They are six students from Harvard Medical School (HMS) who visited McGill and Montreal last week as part of the inaugural McGill-Harvard exchange.

That’s how many I could fit in my minivan, says Jeffery Semaan, MDCM’89, driver, sponsor and mastermind behind the initiative.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to have American students see what medicine is like in Canada.”

With many students leaping at the chance, Semaan ultimately had to rank their applications on a first come, first served basis.

“We had a course on health care systems around the world and there was a segment on Canada. I wanted to learn more,” says Joe Tung, a first-year HMS student and exchange participant.

The exchange, which will be annual, was also an opportunity to make new friends and network. “Medicine is a small community, even globally,” Tung points out. Two in his group had already befriended a McGill Medicine student at a recent conference.

“I wanted students from two different countries, two great universities and two different delivery systems to spend some time together,” adds Semaan, an internist in private practice and Assistant Clinical Professor at HMS.

After a day of touring the McGill Faculty of Medicine—with stops at the Osler Library, the Dean’s office and the Maude Abbott Medical Museum—Semaan parted ways with the HMS students, who went off to meet the McGill student hosts who would put them up for the rest of the stay.

This, Semaan hoped, would be the Americans’ chance to discover some of the “joie de vivre” that he had so enjoyed during his days in Montreal.

As for him, he headed off for a mini reunion with classmates who had made the journey from Toronto, Detroit or North Bay.

“I told them, come to Montreal. It’s my birthday,” he says with a smile.

A contingent of McGill students will visit Harvard in spring.

The Harvard group wishes to recognize the contributions of Chris Lyons, Osler Librarian; Richard Fraser, BSc, MDCM’76, Director of the Maude Abbott Medical Museum; VP-Dean David Eidelman, MDCM’79; and Antonia Maioni, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, who spoke on the differences between the American and Canadian health care systems.

March 23, 2016