|CSAT program gives insight
For doctors who have done their training outside Canada, it can be difficult to get licensed in Canadian provinces. Newfoundland offers a way to ease the process through Memorial’s Clinical Skills and Assessment Training Program (CSAT), based in Corner Brook.
Dr. Foluso Ola, who is now in private practice in Deer Lake, did his medical training at the University of Benin, Nigeria, and graduated in 1990. Following internship, he was a general practitioner in Nigeria before emigrating to Canada late in 1998.
After taking the initial four-part CSAT examination and the first part of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination, Dr. Ola entered the CSAT program in February 2002. A six-month clinical training took him through rotations in family medicine and the various specialties. “There was a preceptor for each specialty to assess competency.”
Dr. Ola believe that CSAT is a great program which all foreign-trained doctors should participate in. “It gives an insight into how medicine is practiced in Newfoundland.”
The downside, however, is the cost. “The participant pays $3,500 for the initial exam and then $600 a week for six months with another $1,500 for the reassessment exam at the end of the program,” pointed out Dr. Ola. “Along with transportation, feeding and catering for the family, it cost me well over $40,000 and we are not paid any kind of stipend through the clinical training, although accommodation is provided, which is helpful.”
The other complaint Dr. Ola has is that doctors who complete CSAT do not get a certificate to show they have taken the training under the auspices of Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine.
Dr. Sohail Safi is another graduate of the CSAT program and he is now working at the Western Memorial Regional Hospital. He earned his medical degree in Pakistan and did a residency in family medicine. When he came to Canada he first tried to find work as a physician in Ontario, but was unsuccessful. Through the Internet and friends, he found out about CSAT and applied to the Newfoundland Medical Association. He then took the route of finding a sponsoring health care corporation which requires two years of service in return for the sponsorship.
Dr. Safi said the six-month CSAT program, which he completed in May 2003, included rotations in all subspecialties. “It was wonderful, it’s a good program. You learn to know the Canadian way of doing things and the community resources available.”
Dr. Safi is enjoying working in Corner Brook. He recently took a three-week training course in dementia at Dalhousie University to enhance his skills in geriatrics.