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Dr. Chona Lim receives her diploma from Dr. Jeff Sisler and Dr. Martina Reslerova

Dr. Chona Lim (centre) receives her diploma from Drs. Jeff Sisler (left) & Martina Reslerova (right) at a ceremony in Joe Doupe Concourse at the U of M's Bannatyne Campus

Caring for others a passion

Nineteen new doctors to practice family medicine in rural Manitoba

February 25, 2015 — 

As Dr. Chona Lim sat with her family at her graduation ceremony on Tuesday, she couldn’t hide the smile on her face.

“I really feel like I’ve won the lottery,” said Lim who will soon be practicing family medicine in Garden Hill, MB – a fly-in First Nations community in the northeast corner of the province.

Lim, along with 19 others, are the most recent graduates of the University Of Manitoba College Of Medicine’s Medical Licensure Program for International Medical Graduates (MLPIMG) program. The program is designed so doctors trained in medical schools outside Canada can practice in Manitoba. Upon completion of the one-year program, graduates are placed in family medicine residencies in rural and underserviced areas of the province for a period of four years. This year’s crop of graduates will be placed in such communities as Ashern, Killarney, Swan River and Thompson, MB.

The IMG Program began in 2002 and has had 350 graduates who have practiced family medicine in rural and remote communities within Manitoba.

“We are extremely proud of this group of IMGs and trust they will serve their new communities with care, compassion and professionalism,” said Dr. Martina Reslerova, Director, IMG Programs, College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences.

The IMGs spend the year training and developing their skills in 13 four-week postgraduate medical education rotations. Lim said her training was quite diverse: she spent time in bigger hospitals such as Health Science Centre, and in smaller ones in places such as Altona and Carmen, MB.

“The program prepares you to practice medicine anywhere in Canada,” says Lim.

Lim immigrated to Canada from the Philippines with her husband in 2008. They settled in Toronto where she worked in a family clinic and sleep lab as a clinician assistant. The dream of practicing medicine in Canada, she says, is what kept her motivated to pursue acceptance into the IMG program.

“I’ve always had a passion for medicine for helping people,” said Lim. “The IMG program is world class and receives lots of applicants. But I never lost sight,” said Lim. “If you have the passion and the support system around you, you can do anything.”

Lim applied twice to the IMG program, gaining entry on her second attempt. For other IMGs looking to practice medicine in Canada, Lim said that persistence and dedication are essential components.

“If you really want something and you’re passionate about it, it will happen for you. Passion gives you strength.”

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