July 23 2004

Welcome Back Program Offers Orientation for International Medical Graduates Program in Vista

In an effort to assist international medical graduates (IMGs) advance their health careers, and to provide critically needed healthcare workers in local communities, Grossmont College’s Welcome Back Program has established a working partnership with Vista Adult School Administration and Vista Community Clinic.  International medical graduates interested in future careers as medical assistants are invited to an orientation Saturday, July 31st at Vista Adult School located at 305 E. Bobier Drive, Vista, California 92084, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 Noon. return to underserved and underrepresented communities as bilingual-bicultural health-care providers and help increase medical access.

Many IMGs are like Dr. Ricardo Mera, a graduate physician from Juarez University in the state of Durango, Mexico. In spite of his Mexican medical degree, he is ineligible to practice medicine in the United States. Instead, he found work as a bus driver for disabled passengers in the Chula Vista area. This job with Laidlaw Transportation enabled him to provide for his family but it was not a position that utilized his professional skills, or reflected his level of education.

Then, in 2003, Mera connected with the Welcome Back Center –sponsored by the California Endowment in partnership with Grossmont College. With the help of the Welcome Back Center Staff, who provided a thorough evaluation of his professional training, he was able to procure Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) and Medical Assistant Certificates. As a result, he found entry level employment, working at several community clinics as a bilingual-bicultural healthcare provider and as a case manager at a local community clinic.

Last August, Dr. Mera was selected as a member of the first cohort of international medical graduates (IMGs) to participate in an accelerated registered nursing program being pioneered by Grossmont College, the only one of its kind approved by the California State Board of Nursing. Now, Mera is well on his way to completing his Associate Degree in Nursing, and plans to graduate during fall semester, 2004. Dr. Mera’s clinical aspiration is to return as a Licensed Registered Nurse to serve patients in underserved and underrepresented communities.

Operated under the auspices of the Regional Health Occupations Resource Center (RHORC), also sponsored by Grossmont College, the Welcome Back Center’s mission is ‘To build a bridge between the pool of internationally trained health workers living in California and the need for linguistically and culturally competent health services in underserved communities’.

As with Dr. Ricardo Mera, graduates of this new Medical Assistant training program with the Vista Adult School are expected to return to underserved and underrepresented communities as bilingual-bicultural healthcare providers and help increase medical access. This one-of-a-kind training opportunity may serve as an entry base for those participants contemplating future entry in Physician Assistant and Nursing Programs. Eligible participants are expected to have a good command of English and to provide professional documentation as international health care graduates. Interested participants are encouraged to indicate their interest at the Welcome Back Center located at 3955 Bonita Rd. Building A, First Floor, Bonita, California 91902 (Kaiser Building) or call (619) 409-6417.

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