SIPPA program producing practitioners

SASKATOON - People in communities across Saskatchewan are benefitting from better access to physician services. A new family doctor is now practising in Wadena, thanks to the most recent results of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program, supported by the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Auday Rahoum joins many other International Medical Graduate (IMG) colleagues already practising in Saskatchewan. SIPPA is a unique made-in-Saskatchewan program that assesses IMGs on their education and clinical ability before allowing them to practise medicine. Since the program began in 2011, almost 190 new family physicians have completed the assessment and are currently practising in the province.

"Internationally trained physicians play a vital role in our health system, and we welcome them and their families to our growing province," Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said. "SIPPA is one way we're making sure Saskatchewan residents continue to have improved access to physician care."

In addition, a total of 13 new international medical graduates from the January intake are now completing their field assessments. If successful, these family physicians will begin practising across the province this spring.

"As the province's only medical school, it is our job to prepare the next generation of family doctors and specialists, and this includes the important assessment work we do with international medical graduates through the SIPPA program," SIPPA Medical Director for the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan Dr. Jon Witt said. "Ultimately, our goal is to build capacity in family medicine throughout Saskatchewan and meet the health needs of the province."

"Saskatchewan's physician supply continues to grow and these SIPPA graduates are no exception," saskdocs' CEO Dr. Dennis Kendel said. "The physician surveys we do with the Saskatchewan Medical Association show that an increasing number of SIPPA physicians have no intention of ever leaving the province. This is encouraging as it means more physicians are coming here and more intend to stay and practise alongside their Canadian colleagues."

In addition to attracting IMGs, Saskatchewan is making progress in keeping more locally-trained family medicine graduates in the province. The retention rate of family medicine graduates trained at the University of Saskatchewan has jumped by 17 per cent between 2013 and 2015 - from 58 per cent to 75 per cent.

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For more information, contact:
James Shewaga
Media Relations
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-966-1851

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