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Episode 05 - Not-So-Universal Healthcare: Caring for the Uncared-For, with Doret Cheng

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Have you ever considered the specific health issues faced by people who are homeless, opioid addicts, or otherwise marginalized? It’s much deeper than the obvious, and the challenges for healthcare practitioners in caring for “vulnerable” groups are complex.

In this two-part series on healthcare in Canada, we explore (and dismantle) some myths about our “free, universal” system which is so lauded by Americans.

Join pharmacist Doret Cheng in part one, as she takes us behind the scenes of a Toronto Family Medicine Clinic, caring for her incredible patients who fight against both personal trauma and social stigma.

In this episode
  1. [00:02:50]     Pharmacists: what you didn’t know

  2. [00:05:54]     Integrated, collaborative, holistic healthcare: St. Michael’s Family Medicine Clinic

  3. [00:08:56]     What does “vulnerable” mean? Who are St. Mike’s patients?

  4. [00:14:28]     Understanding patient histories – opioids and homelessness

  5. [00:26:43]     Healthcare equality is not equity

Guest bio and references:

Doret Cheng is a pharmacist with 20 years of patient care experience in community pharmacies, hospitals, and global healthcare as far away as Uganda.

Doret is of Chinese ethnicity, born in Ghana, immigrated to Edmonton, Canada as a child, and now lives in Toronto, where she currently practices at St. Mike's Hospital, Academic Family Health Team. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto, teaching on global health.

Find Doret on: LinkedIn

St. Michael's Academic Family Health Team:

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Episode Transcript

Please note: the transcripts attempt to stay true to the essence of each conversation, while maintaining clarity and readability. As a result, certain "filler" words, and nuances of tone, emotion and emphasis will be missing.


If you're able, you're strongly encouraged to listen to the audio podcast. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human editors, and may contain errors.

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Music Credits for this Episode

Intro Music:

What Words Can't Describe, by Vlad Gluschenko

License: CC BY 3.0:

Outro Music:

Beautiful Modern Rock Pop Guitar All Goodness Background Music, by Royalty Free Music

License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0:

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