ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL
MEDICAL GRADUATES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
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About us

2016 Board

Dr. H. Chable - President

Dr. L. Mota – Vice President

Dr. G. Escalante – Treasurer

Dr. M. Mirafe - Secretary

Dr. S. Alikhani - Director

Dr. N. Bahrami - Director

Dr. A. Khalid    - Director

Dr. C. Guzman - Director

Dr. S. Cao       - Director

AIMGBC History: 

In June 2003 a small group of international medical graduates (IMGs) got together in Vancouver to discuss uniting their voice in order to affect greater access to licensure. They were assisted by the British Columbia Internationally Trained Professionals Network (AIMGBC Net), the collaborative brainchild of MOSAIC, ISS and SDISS - three of BC's largest immigrant serving agencies and funded by Canadian Heritage. These internationally trained medical doctors lived in a province that had the lowest number of post-graduate residency training positions for IMGs in the country. The provincial licensing authority for medical doctors requires that most internationally trained medical doctors repeat their post graduate training (the two years of rotating training in a hospital) and without this training an IMG cannot be licensed. The doctors also had no direction or support from government or healthcare stakeholders and no training to help them adapt to the Canadian healthcare system. There was a lot to do and with the assistance of the BC Internationally Trained Professionals Network (AIMGBC Net) the doctors began to meet on a monthly basis at the offices of MOSAIC or Immigrant Services Society and by the end of that summer had formed the Association of International Medical Doctors of BC (AIMGBC).

One of the first tasks completed by AIMGBC was the creation of their mission statement and goals.

Mission Statement

To ensure that internationally trained medical doctors are integrated effectively and equitably into British Columbia's healthcare system.

Goals

  1. To facilitate access to the licensing process for international medical doctors living in British Columbia.
  2. To work collaboratively with other stakeholders to identify and develop appropriate assessment, orientation, upgrading and integration programs for British Columbia's IMG's
  3. To provide information and support to members in licensing and finding meaningful employment in the healthcare field.

As the organization grew it developed a game plan for effecting change which included a MLA and MP letter writing campaign, the creation of a website to disseminate information to other international medical doctors, meetings with all the major healthcare stakeholders, presentations to the public and extensive coverage of issues in all the major media both locally and nationally. This all started in earnest in March of 2004 at the Federal IMG Taskforce conference in Calgary Alberta, where Dr’s Najat al Refai and Shahab Khanahmadi represented AIMGBC at the organizations first official outing. Highlights since then for the organization include a demonstration in Vancouver, the collection of over 4000 signatures in a petition and the production of a briefing document for stakeholders that clarified the need for additional doctors in BC and the fact that many IMGs have already met Canada’s high standards and were ready, willing and able assist.

The first sign that the association was having an effect was the introduction of a pilot ‘bridge’ training project funded by the provincial government and run out of St. Paul’s hospital from January to March of 2005. Twelve IMGs were accepted into this ‘Orientation to Western Medicine’ training, which lasted full-time for three months. This kind of training for IMGs was available in other provinces like Ontario and Alberta but did not exist BC. The doctors believed that orientation training was a critical piece of an effective integration strategy and were encouraged when the government also saw the benefit of funding this kind of support. There were other critical pieces still missing however and soon the association was focused on expanding the number of post graduate residencies for IMGs and bringing all the provincial government and healthcare stakeholders together in order to create a comprehensive game plan for licensing more internationally trained medical doctors in BC.

In the late spring of 2005 AIMD BC was heavily involved in various media campaigns, petitions and meetings and it was clear that momentum was building for change. A break through occurred when Dr.’s Alfredo Tura and Dr. Oleg Baranoff secured a ‘champion’ in government, someone who was willing to listen and help the organization. MLA Lorne Mayencourt, who believed in the cause, helped organize the association’s first meeting with the deputy minister of health. Here the two doctors were able to voice their ‘solutions’ and dispel any pre-conceived ideas about the organizations true intentions. By the fall of 2005 over 20 MLA’s had been met, CBC radio and TV, Global TV, M Channel, the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun and Province and even Readers Digest had covered the issues. The government knew what the issues were and momentum was continuing to build for change. Then, a week before AIMD BC’s second general meeting, the provincial government announced that it was tripling the number of IMG post graduate residency positions from six to eighteen. This was the news everyone was waiting for, clearly the hard work of many IMG volunteers, for over two years, was finally paying off. At the AIMD BC general meeting Dr. Rod Andrew, director of the residency training program at St. Paul’s Hospital, answered questions about the expansion and the doctors elected their first executive to represent them in the year ahead.

The next big step for AIMD BC was the formation of an executive committee which included eight dedicated volunteers and the new president, Dr. Alfredo Tura, vice president Dr. Oleg Baranoff and secretary/treasurer Dr. Mariana Deevska. In November Dr. Tura was asked to be a standing member of the newly formed provincial ‘International Medical Graduate Integration Taskforce’ which included the post-graduate Deans - UBC Faculty of Medicine, the Ministry of Health, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and the St. Paul’s Program Director. International medical doctors were now being included in high level discussions about how to best include them in BC’s healthcare system.

In October 2006 members of the board of AIMD BC met with the honourable George Abbott, minister of health and gave him a recommendation document called "Solutions to the Medical Doctor Shortage in BC. A Plan on How to Integrate More Immigrant IMGs into the BC Healthcare System." They met with the minister again in January of 2007 and are optimistic that AIMDBC and the Ministry of Health can work more closely together to assist IMGs in BC.
During 2010 we had the Ministry of 
Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Moira Stilwell vising us in one of our meetings. She spoke about the importance of the professionals that migrates to Canada. 
Since late 2009 AIMDBC has not have Governmental support and we rely solely in volunteers since.   

Since a few years ago the Association have provided training to the IMG’s preparing the OSCE or the MCCQE2. That preparation was inconsistent and informal. In the fall of 2010 we developed an 
initiative in conjunction with UBC Faculty of Medicine, Postgraduate Education, Dean's office, to formalize and standardize the knowledge to UBC resident standards, and in this way improve the experience the IMG’s were getting out of these Sessions. Out of this initiative we present 15 Education Sessions each year. 9 or 10 in the Spring in preparation to the IMG BC OSCE and the spring MCCQE2 and 5 or 6 Sessions in the Fall to prepare for the Fall MCCQE2. 

The Education sessions are 2 hours taught by a Resident in 3rd, 4th or 5th year that is directed to teach a particular topic relevant for the mentioned exams.

In late 2011 the Task Force was changed by the IMG Assessment Program Advisory Committee that oversees the IMG BC program at St Paul’s.


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