Putting the Community First: Towards More Effective Volunteering Abroad

When and Where

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
OISE Building, Room 2211
252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6


Dr. Lawrence Loh


We are glad to welcome back Dr. Lawrence Loh to our Latin American Studies program, for a guest lecture as part of our Critical Perspectives of Development on Latin American Contexts series.

About the Presentation
Disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term volunteering efforts abroad are starting to gain steam again in a post-pandemic world. In their previous incarnation, where well-meaning learners and volunteers from high resource settings visit limited resource environments to provide time-limited assistance, a growing literature base began to identify not only the benefits, but potential harms, associated with such endeavours. As the world reopens, it falls to globally-minded citizens and learners to think about how their involvement in such volunteering efforts—medical missions, research trips, infrastructure support—may in fact worsen inequities if they are not done with the community in mind. In this presentation, Dr. Lawrence Loh will review the challenges presented by such short-term volunteering efforts and propose considerations and values that might be applied to secure more ethical and optimal approaches that might secure more lasting outcomes for communities abroad that welcome volunteers from high resource settings. 

About the Presenter
Dr. Lawrence Loh is the Executive Director and CEO for the College of Family Physicians of Canada, overseeing all of the College’s operations in advancing the practice of family medicine in Canada. Previously, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for Peel Public Health, where he led one of the worst-hit communities in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also is also an Adjunct Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.


Latin American Studies program


252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6