Humber Programs Are Developing the Next Generation of Leaders in Emergency Response and Humanitarian Relief

At Humber, our goal is to provide learners with the education and skills they need to succeed in their chosen field. Our alumni make significant contributions in their local communities and around the globe with their knowledge, skills, and commitment to humanitarian efforts.

Such is the case with our Paramedic diploma program and International Development (ID) graduate certificate – two programs uniquely positioned to prepare graduates to work in emergency response and humanitarian relief fields.

The long-standing ID graduate certificate is one of the only programs of its kind in Canada. Susan MacGregor, program coordinator, has been part of the program for more than 15 years and has taught countless students who have gone on to do remarkable humanitarian work. Courses in humanitarian assistance, operations and logistics, financial management and proposal writing provide graduates with the skills they need to be successful.  The program also provides students with an experiential opportunity to put their learning into practice through a three-day disaster simulation exercise culminating in the creation of a detailed humanitarian response plan.

The Paramedic diploma program prioritizes leadership development and interprofessional education as crucial components for preparing students to be effective leaders. Craig MacCalman, Paramedic program coordinator and program alumnus, cites the innovative program culture as key. The program enables students to personalize their education through experiences that align with their future goals. Recent examples include a study-abroad trip where students performed primary health care assessment at a Guatemalan orphanage, and the collaboration of paramedic and pre-service firefighter students in a burn tower exercise.

The humanitarian response to the recent Turkey-Syria earthquakes is an example of how Humber alumni are providing leadership in global crises.  Numerous alumni from these programs have travelled to the region through GlobalMedic, a disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization. The agency was founded by Rahul Singh, a Premier’s Award winner (2011) and graduate of Humber’s Paramedic program (1993). GlobalMedic’s Rapid Response team arrived within days of the initial earthquake and is installing water purification systems throughout the region to ensure the most vulnerable have access to clean drinking water. Other teams are handing out life-sustaining aid, including food hampers, firewood and hygiene items to families who have lost everything. Rahul is also a Program Advisory Committee member in the International Development graduate program.

Alumnus Mark Cameron, co-founder and co-president of the Canadian International Medical Relief Organization, which provides medical education and aid to disaster zones globally, is also working with his organization on the ground to provide support. Mark is also president of the Critical Incident Management Response Organization. Like Rahul, Mark is a graduate of Humber’s Paramedic program (1989) and a Premier’s Award winner (2022).  

Both Rahul and Mark are global leaders who inspire our graduates to excel in a field that is both challenging and rewarding.

It is a privilege to play a part in preparing our students for their life’s work and to then be able to witness how that work has a transformative impact on the lives of others.

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