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New doors opening for foreign-trained physicians

On May 10 Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education celebrated 14 medical doctors who have completed the Internationally-Trained Medical Doctors Bridging (ITMD) Program.

Launched in January 2015, this unique program aims to successfully integrate highly qualified, skilled and experienced internationally-trained medical doctors into non-licensed healthcare employment.

“Over 90 per cent of internationally trained medical doctors living in Canada face a number of professional and employment barriers,” said Marie Bountrogianni, Dean, the Chang School.

“Many are underemployed and the majority are engaged in so-called ‘survival jobs’. This represents a lost opportunity for our province to benefit from the advanced academic and professional credentials of these highly skilled professionals. There is an identified need within the health sector for qualified professionals to participate in and support non-clinical initiatives.”

The program addresses common barriers to employment by providing 11 weeks of sector-specific in-class training and four-week practicum placements within top-ranked health facilities in Ontario.

The program provides additional skills for participants to gain employment in health research, health informatics, data analysis, and health management positions in Canada as an alternative to medical doctor licencing.

Competition for the second round of the ITMD Bridging Program was intense: the Chang School received 150 applications for 14 spots.

Participants in this cohort hailed from Ethiopia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and China.

“The Chang School offered me an excellent opportunity to build on the wealth of knowledge and experience that I’d already invested into practising and teaching medicine,” said Hamidullah Akbari, a participant who had been a medical doctor in Afghanistan.

“The ITMD Bridging Program was a way to work towards the level of practice I’d left back home, and a path to achieving my long-term career goals here in Canada. My bridging program experience helped me gain employment in the mental health field. I expanded my professional network through my instructors and fellow students, and I enjoy working and learning every day.”

Learner success stories include:
Dr Noma Salman is a graduate of Damascus University, Syria. After being unable to find work in her field for three years, she took the ITMD Program and secured a residency physician position at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Haifeng (Frank) Yu earned a medical degree from China Medical University in 2002 and a Master of Public Health degree from Peking University in 2011. After completing the ITMD Program, he is currently the Education Resource Assistant at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Arifa Rahman is a clinical researcher and administrator originally from Bangladesh. After completing the ITMD Program, Arifa is now a Research Coordinator at Toronto Western Hospital.

“Students from the second cohort have been extremely satisfied with the course curriculum,” says Shafi Bhuiyan, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar with the Chang School and Faculty of Community Services who is overseeing the program.

“To-date, eight participants have found jobs in the healthcare industry and others are currently going for interviews. Practicum placements also help to build their confidence and connect to ‘real life’ work situations.”

The ITMD Program addresses common barriers to employment by providing sector-specific in-class training and practicum placements within top-ranked health facilities in Ontario. Competition for the program is intense and the participants in this cohort hailed from Ethiopia, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and China.

For more information about the ITMD Bridging Program, visit http://ryerson.ca/ce/itmd.

Posted: Jun 1, 2016

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