Medical Communication Assessment Project (MCAP)

MCAP intends to increase the language proficiency, communication skills, and cultural understanding of International Medical Graduates (IMG) for employment within a Canadian medical context. Participants are introduced to information that is relevant to medical practice in Canada which prepares participants for the next steps towards licensure (i.e., medical examinations such as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination – Part 2, or equivalent). It also prepares participants for residency programs, clinical assistant positions, or other similar type positions available to IMGs within the medical profession. The classroom component is a core element which is a 12-week, face-to-face program for IMGs to increase their medical communication skills for successful integration into a health care system based on a patient-centred care model.

MCAP is helping us IMGs improve our communication and clinical skills. We gain experience working with standardized patients through feedback from physicians and language instructors. It is an excellent opportunity to assist us to integrate into the healthcare system.” Program participant

Accessibility

For immigrant IMGs living in Alberta, MCAP creates an outstanding opportunity for medical licensure and eventual practice in the province. Applicants must meet certain profession- and language-specific requirements to be successful. A selection committee reviews all applications and invites all applicants to an interview to present themselves in person. Preference is given to those applicants who have been in Canada for less than five years.

MCAP is promoted via the program website, as well as the Alberta Medical Association, Alberta International Medical Graduate Association, Alberta International Medical Graduate Program, immigrant-serving agencies, and other institutions offering programs to IMGs.

Newcomer Involvement

The service provider conceived and designed this program after observing IMGs go through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. The rationale for MCAP arises from a nationally and provincially recognized need to support immigrant IMGs who are seeking to meet the existing standards for professional integration and licensure.

Stakeholder Collaboration

This project has formed linkages with the Faculties of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta as well as with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and the Alberta Medical Association. The project has been made possible with funding from the Government of Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) and the Government of Alberta (Alberta Employment and Immigration, Alberta Health and Wellness, and Community Programs in Advanced Education).

Accountability

This project has formed linkages with the Faculties of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta as well as with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and the Alberta Medical Association.

Positive Outcome

Since its launch in 2006, the program has offered 259 training seats to IMGs. The breakdown of this total by year is as follows:

  • 2011: 38
  • 2010: 35
  • 2009: 64
  • 2008: 60
  • 2007: 38
  • 2006: 24

In 2010, all MCAP participants from 2006 to 2009 were followed up by an electronic survey. From 186 eligible participants, 132 (or 71%) responded to the survey. Forty-eight percent of the respondents achieved residency positions, 13 percent achieved Clinical Assistant Positions with Alberta Health Services, and nine percent reported working as a clinical aide. In total, 70 percent of the MCAP participants who responded have been successful in achieving clinical placements.

“The MCAP Program is an excellent opportunity for me to learn about the cultural communication differences in Canada. It increased my awareness of the influence communication has in establishing and maintaining the patient-physician relationship. In this program I am given the opportunity to work with other Canadian physicians, which I could never have done without the program.” Program participant

Transferability

This program and its performance-based model can be adapted to any Canadian city with a Faculty of Medicine and a sizable population of IMGs. The model can also be used with other training programs for professional immigrants. MCAP has provided training to other programs and institutions as requested.

Background

Service Providers
University of Calgary
Funders
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Alberta Employment and Immigration, Alberta Health and Wellness, and Community Programs in Advanced Education
Scope
Local
Locations
Calgary
Year of Launch
2006
Languages of Delivery
English
Newcomer Groups Served
International medical graduates (IMGs)
Expected Results
Language/Skills (Newcomers have language/skills needed to function in Canada)
Labour Market Access (Newcomers obtain the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education)
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