Mar 4, 2020
At the age of 22, first-year medical student, Richard Heinzl, was looking for an adventure while selecting his elective at McMaster University. While hitchhiking in Uganda, a country in the throes of civil war, a jeep pulled up in front of the canteen where he was grabbing a bite to eat. The jeep had a flag emblazoned with the letters M-S-F, and out of it jumped a bunch of doctors, but not like any doctors Richard had ever seen before. They were young, rough-looking, wearing shorts and t-shirts. They were in Uganda on a mission with Médecins Sans Frontières.
This encounter changed the course of Richard’s life. He had found his people.
Richard went on to complete medical school and then he founded the first chapter of MSF in North America, also known as Doctors without Borders, but not without tremendous push-back and challenges. The founders of MSF in France were protective of their organization and they were firmly not interested in developing a North American presence.
Dr. Heinzl persisted and ended up traveling the world with MSF, providing care in dangerous and seemingly hopeless situations where even the Red Cross dared not go.
Today, Dr. Heinzl serves as the Global Medical Director of WorldCare, an organization that provides expert medical second opinions by a consortium of specialists. This new world of cutting-edge diagnoses may seem to be as far as one can get from his work with MSF, but there is more of a connection than you might think.
Follow Dr. Richard Heinzl’s journey from an adventurous and curious medical student to the founding of MSF Canada, to now working with the most innovative and cutting-edge technologies. You will be inspired by the contribution he has made to humanitarian medicine and global health.
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