Born in Germany to Syrian parents, Suha Masalmeh has been living in Halifax for 16 years. Despite having a degree in medicine from outside the country, she is unable to practice in Canada because the road to licensure is so timely and expensive. For International Medical Graduates (IMG), it is extremely difficult to obtain a residency seat here.

However, now that Suha has been accepted into the IMG Clerkship Program at Dalhousie University, she is well on her way to obtaining a residency seat through the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS). IMG clerkship is a program that helps keep valuable immigrant physicians in Nova Scotia, and Suha says she is looking forward to taking part in it.

“I am really excited about the program and the various clinical experiences I will encounter throughout the years,” she says. “I look forward for the clerkship linked with great hands-on experience.”

The program began in 2008 and accepts two applicants each year. They enter Med 3, graduate after Med 4, complete their residency and then practice in Nova Scotia for at least two years under a Return of Service contract. The program is overseen by Dalhousie’s Global Health Office, and Suha says the office has been a great resource for her.

“The staff of the GHO was extremely valuable in helping me go through program details, schedule and any information needed,” she says. “They helped simplify some complex issues along the road. Great communication all the time.”

Suha has also played a hand in developing the IMG clerkship program when she was the president of the Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia. During this time she advocated for IMGs and engaged in dialogues with various groups about the IMG clerkship program. But now it is Suha’s time to go through the program and once again practice her profession.

“The program would allow me to wipe the acronym IMG,” she says. “I really missed being a physician.”

Currently, Suha is taking part in the Link Program, which is a bridging program that helps international students get up to speed with training sessions while getting them familiar with the faculty and facilities. Her clerkship begins in September.