Dialogue Volume 12 Issue 1 2016 - Page 23

practice partner For IMGs, a Portal to Understanding New modules focus on DOC TALK communication and cultural competencies By Stuart Foxman Illustration: sandy nichols I n El Salvador, Dr. José Villeda practised internal and emergency medicine. There, he observes, doctors tended to be paternalistic: “You gave instructions, the patient obeyed.” He also recalls breaking serious news to patients, leaning in and shifting his eyebrows to express concern. “Here, that could look threatening,” he says. Coming to Canada, Dr. Villeda recognized what he needed to know and prove to fully succeed here as a physician. “The technical component is important,” he says, “but so is understanding the culture and how to communicate.” What do Canadian patients expect? How do we understand each other? What’s the best way to communicate verbally and with body language? For international medical graduates (IMGs), who didn’t grow up in Canada or its medical system, getting that grounding can be a challenge. After arriving in 2009, Dr. Villeda worked in clinical research in London, Ontario and as a physician assistant in a Hamilton pain clinic. He’s now completing his residency at the University of Manitoba, and says an instrumental part of his education was exposure to a new orientation portal. The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) launched the online tool last year. It gives physicians comprehensive and consistent information about Canadian medical practice, especially the communication and cultural competencies needed for patientcentered care. “That’s as important as the clinical skills,” says Dr. Villeda. Issue 1, 2016 Dialogue 23