Dr. Steven Cohen is a forensic psychiatrist who has been working at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), in Toronto, since 2009. Prior to completing medical school at the University of Calgary, he received a Masters degree in Medical Anthropology at McGill University, focusing on the history of psychological trauma and its evolving treatments. After graduating from psychiatric training at McGill University in 2007, he worked in the Northwest and Nunavut Territories and in northern Ontario.
In 2008, he completed two missions with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The first one, six months in duration, was situated along the eastern border of Chad in Farchana refugee camp for Darfuri who had fled Sudan. The second one, about two months, was just across that border in the Darfur region of Sudan, where he worked in a camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region. He kept a blog during his first mission which is fully mirrored (with added pictures) on this site. Following, he returned to Canada and completed a one-year fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and has been working full-time in that field since 2010. In September of 2013, he was certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons as a sub-specialist in Forensic Psychiatry.
First person. There are a few components to this blog. Most of it was written in 2008, during the mission to Chad, and had been posted on the MSF website. For some reason the pictures were all removed from the that website, which is a shame, as they added dimensionally.
Semi-recently, my niece turned 10, and at her birthday party we were looking at an old-school spinning globe and talking about places that we had travelled, and where we might travel in the coming year(s). We spoke of Africa, as she had plans to visit the country where her mother was born. It was at that time that my brief work with MSF in 2008 came up. She had questions, and it was hard to answer many of them. I thought that while she is too young to read through the blog now, it could be nice to have it available at some point, perhaps for the pictures, perhaps also for the text. So this site was created. It mirrors the original blog, and the pictures have been re-inserted.
A few posts were added as well. Two of them were written when I got back to Montréal after the Chad mission, and never got around to putting up. I was exhausted, and became distracted by other things. Frankly, it was nice to put aside some of the memories, at least for a short while. Soon enough, however, the Darfur mission came up, and I went back into the fray. But I was not allowed to write about the ongoings given the security concerns (and direct threat of jail). More on that later. A brief description of the project was added as another blog entry.
I left for a two-month emergency medical relief mission with MSF in February of 2014. The project was situated in Tacloban, Philippines, a City hard hit by Typhoon Haiyan (also called Yolanda, depending where you read) which was the strongest storm of its kind to make landfall, with wind-speeds up to 365km/hr. The project transitioned from the emergency phase to a handover phase (to local health care infrastructures); details can be found on the MSF website. I wrote a few blog entries on the MSF website (http://blogs.msf.org/philippines/author/dr-steven-cohen/) which are also all mirrored on this site.
It all started here.