The Bahá’í Medical Association of Canada (BMAC) held a successful conference, on the theme “Balancing the Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health”, on November 9–11, 2007 in Montreal. It was considered by many attending to be the best ever. Held since the inception of BMAC in 1992, the conferences have been a welcome event for those attending, but this year’s event “brought the event to new heights,” said Dr. Brian Kirsh, Secretary of the Executive Committee of BMAC.
Over 110 people from all over the world attended the conference’s excellent talks and participated in a series of stimulating workshops. Dr. Natalie Auger, a physician-epidemiologist specializing in community medicine, demonstrated how slowly the world is coming to accept the prescription of the “Divine Physician”: a term used to describe the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, the Messenger of God, Bahá’u’lláh.
That process was further explained by Dr. John-Paul Vader, Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Lausanne Medical School in Switzerland. He helped clarify the spiritual elements in a way that helped participants better appreciate the role of Bahá’í teachings and the role of Bahá’ís themselves in advancing the message of Bahá’u’lláh, considered by Bahá’ís to be a “healing message”, a most appropriate reference theme for those attending this particular conference.
Dr. Chris Greenaway, Infectious Diseases specialist from Montreal, showed clearly how infectious diseases are not only a growing global health care crisis but how they also are bringing people together to find solutions in the only effective way: through global cooperation. Dr. Payam Dehghani, cardiologist in Toronto, explained how prejudice is a determinant in the disparity of disease patterns. Many other similar, high quality presentations created evident excitement among the participants.
Dr. Arvind Auluck-Wilson, a physicist who practices homeopathy, facilitated a public forum Friday evening. He explored Abdu’l-Baha’s teachings on the nature of the human soul. The presentation stimulated a number of excellent questions, many from participants who were unfamiliar with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s teachings.
The MC of the gala dinner on Saturday evening was Dr. David Smith, member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada. The special talk at the dinner was given by Dr. Farhan Yazdani, a surgeon from France, who spoke about medical ethics. The evening closed with music provided by Bahá’í youth, including classical, gospel, an all female choir, solo saxophone and guitar. This musical finale to the conference not only uplifted the spirit of audience members but inspired “even the waiters at the back of the room,” said Dr. Kirsh.
(from notes received from the BMAC Executive Committee)
Most of the 2007 BMAC conference presentations are now available online (in either pdf or Powerpoint format). Please click here to view them.