Dr. Gabriel Fabreau
Job title: Clinical Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
Why he's a 2016 Top 40:
Dr. Fabreau works with Calgary’s most vulnerable populations to provide efficient and effective health care.
Photograph by Jared Sych. Photographed at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
As the son of political refugees from Uruguay, Dr. Gabriel Fabreau knows first-hand how valuable immigrants are to the fabric of Canadian society.
“Refugees matter,” Fabreau says. “They add to the texture and the colour and the diversity of our country and can contribute in a million ways.”
Fabreau is focused on helping these people. He currently splits his time between researching, teaching and “doctoring,” working as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and a specialist in internal medicine with shifts at the Peter Lougheed and Foothills Medical Centre. He also works three to four days a month at two clinics for immigrant Calgarians, the Mosaic Refugee Health Clinic and the East Calgary Health Centre, the latter which he co-founded a shared-care general internal medicine-primary care clinic.
The shared-care model means the patient stays in one place and health care practitioners work collaboratively on each file. It’s a model that is effective for newly arrived refugee patients who might find it daunting to navigate the health care system on their own. “Instead, we embed ourselves where they are,” Fabreau says.
Fabreau, who graduated with a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University in 2014, is also working on a major research project called the CUPS Coordinated Care Team (CUPS CCT) that addresses another vulnerable population: Calgary’s homeless. The CUPS CCT is a partnership between CUPS (Calgary Urban Project Society) and Alpha House, and Alpha’s Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) team, to coordinate and evaluate health care for homeless Calgarians in hopes of reducing the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Like refugees, homeless Calgarians often struggle with access to health care. The project recently won a $1.8-million grant from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.
“We train people from the community as lay health workers and provide patients all the help that they need, including mental health, addiction, medical care, housing and food,” Fabreau says.
Between clinic hours, hospital hours, teaching and researching, the father of three is busy, but Fabreau’s own father’s words continue to inspire him to give back more.
“My dad said to me, ‘I’m immensely grateful to Canada — it gave us a home when we had nowhere else to go — and you should be, too. Never forget that this country helped raise you, and now that you have an opportunity, it’s your obligation to give back.’” — Meredith Bailey