Internationally Educated Health Professionals are routinely enticed to bring their families and their savings to Canada with the understanding that, following accreditation, they will be able to practice their profession in their new home.
Upon arrival the they face numerous roadblocks in the licensing and accreditation process leading to frustration, anger, resentment, and depression. The immediate result is underemployment for newcomers and a loss to Canada and Canadians of highly developed health care skills and knowledge.
A waste which can become increasingly evident as newcomer cultures make up larger segments of our population. Many are trapped in a vicious cycle of survival employment in unrelated careers, are grossly underemployed in the health care industry, seek to move to other countries or bitterly return home. Those who remain experience reduced wealth and a reduced sense of well-being and expectations.
Community Matters has addressed this issue. Through our program Healthy Living in St. James Town we routinely provide opportunities for IEHPs to practice their skills in our health related programs while at the same time we provide an intense career development program focusing on redirecting skills towards meaningful Canadian employment in the Health Care industry.
Dr Nicodeme is a family physician who qualified in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. He arrived in Canada 10 years ago. After deciding not to pursue accreditation here he has successfully developed his career in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Dr. Nicodeme has always been committed to supporting other Internationally Educated Professionals arriving in Canada and for the last 6 six years has volunteered with Community Matters supporting the IEP job development and mentorship programs through which over 100 IEPs have successfully participated.
Dr. Dastan is a General Practitioner who qualified in Iraq where he successfully practiced and was the head of a rural healthcare facility many in the Kurdish region of the country.
Dr. Dastan has successfully transitioned from direct medical practice to roles in Public Health. Like Said, he established an adult swimming program in the community as a means to engage residents in a more active life style. His own participation has drawn many families to the program with measurable increases in participation levels.
In addition Dr. Dastan heads a team of 3 residents who provide a weekly Health Check In measuring blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Engaging neighbours in a health conversation, the program is attended by many in the community who come for suggestions to improve their health through exercise and nutrition
Dr. Said is a family physician who qualified in Afghanistan. Following his participation in Community Matters IEP program he joined Healthy Living in St. James Town. At the time we were seeking ways in which to attract more men to participate. Through his own initiative he began an evening volleyball program which has progressed from 1 to 3 evenings a week with over 40 regular participants. Some participants were skilled but others started from scratch as a way to improve their over all health
Through patience and persistence Dr Said has been able to engage the volleyball players in health conversations and there has been measurable improvement in health indicators amongst the group. Some in the group, as they have moved from the area, have started here own volleyball programs following the format established by Dr Said.
Doctor Fahimeh is a general psychiatrist from Iran with 17 years’ experience in clinical psychiatry and counselling. After immigrating to Canada 4 years ago she completed a bridging program, which led to registration as psychotherapist. This area was closest to her background and helped her to continue in mental health field.
Now as a registered psychotherapist she works as a counselor and therapist in private and with community centers. I started to participate in CMT meetings and events as a volunteer for running presentations in mental health field for community assistants and being available for neighbors and community members. Being a volunteer in CMT has helped to expand her knowledge, experience and insight in a multicultural community with lots of wisdom and resilience and of course lots of immigration struggle.