Archive for June, 2008

Some of My Highlights from the ISSCR

Well, I’m home.  Time to sit back and think about what I can remember about what was certainly an informative conference.  Click the more button to read some summaries of some of the talks. I’ll keep adding to this as my motivation piques. 

Continue reading ‘Some of My Highlights from the ISSCR’


Good Old-Fashioned Fear Mongering – – – Beware of them Chinese!

The USA today was delivered to my hotel room this morning and one of the headlines read “Olympic visitors data is at risk“!  Apparently, Chinese agents are ready to infiltrate US data by hacking into peoples e-mail devices and laptops.  And all we want is their women . . . 

Ontario to Let In More Foreign Docs?

OntarioOne of the challenges of living in the US that I’ve had to deal with is an onslaught of morons who think that I come from a backwards liberal nightmare-land where everyone is uneducated and has no access to high standard health care. I explain slowly that they are slightly misinformed, despite the fact the Canadian system of health care definitely has some drawbacks. But then they tell me about their friend, Steve, who they knew once who broke his leg and couldn’t get adequate medical attention so now he has Parkinsons or something along those lines. The anecdote of Steve is therefore the defining proof that all in Canada is horribly aloof.

The thing is, and its not a surprise to anyone, that the thing holding back our doctors is not our ‘socialized insurance system’, rather the amount of doctors in that system. It’s true that we are losing the money grubbing ones (money grubbing docs? whoda thunk?) to the US, and experiencing a canonical brain drain. But at the same time, there are multitudes of people who want to come into the country to practice. Who would want to practice in Canada? Try the thousands of people who took their dreams of becoming a doctor elsewhere because despite the fact that the population of the country has grown exponentially, medical schools can’t find it in their hearts or budgets to make places for new students. I challenge anyone to walk down the hall of the Medical School building at the University of Toronto and plot the growth in class size as a proportion to the population of the GTA.

Here’s an example of the catch 22 for you: A Canadian goes to medical school in the states on an F1 visa, and tranfers to a J1 for their residency. Well guess what the US does at the end of that J1? THEY KICK YOU OUT (or you can apply for an extension and get assigned to healing a bunch of ninny rednecks in Shreveport or something). Once you are forced to go home what do you do? Treat people? Try again. You do nothing. You go into research or something, or churn out babies or work in a chair manufacturing facility.

Well, it seems as though something might get done.  George Smitherson’s administration at Health Canada has compiled a report which can be viewed here that outlines a putative plan of action to see to it that this stupidity is resolved.  The main tenets are:

  1. Fast track, simplify and streamline the registration process for doctors already practicing elsewhere in Canada, the U.S. or any other country with a comparable healthcare system to our own;
  2. Help internationally trained doctors enter into medical practice in Ontario with the creation of a transitional license which will allow them to practice under supervision while they complete required education or gain specific practical experience;
  3. Undertake assessments more efficiently to allow internationally trained doctors to get on with their education and integrate into Ontario’s medical system;
  4. Provide individualized bridging support which would include cultural and language education, mentorship and hands on training;
  5. Develop individualized assistance for those seeking to transfer their international medical skills and knowledge into another area of the health profession or a related career.

How this actually moves through the bureaucracy and gets implemented is beyond me, but if you know, please let me know.  All I know is that it sound idealistic and practical. . . Well Ontario, as soon as you break down the wall, I know a whole bunch of CANADIANS who are dying to come home!

June 2008
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