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Any Canadian DOs out there?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by solie, Feb 20, 2002.

  1. solie

    solie Senior Member
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    Now that I've been accepted to a DO school as a Canadian, I'm starting to wonder whether or not this will be a strike against me when I'm applying for residency spots.
    Does anyone have any thoughts about whether Canadian citizens are given different consideration? :confused:
     
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  3. bikerboy

    bikerboy Member
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    You wont be selected against as a Canadian citizen as long as you have your visa in order and are legal to work and study in the USA.

    However, and you really need to consider this carefully, as a DO you are essentially deciding to live and practice in the USA, and no where else.

    DOs are not categorically recognized as MD equivalent anywhere but in the United States. Yes, there are some DOs in Canada, and licensure exceptions have been made, but few, far between, and really frustratingly difficult to get is what I have been led to believe about the whole process.

    Dont underestimate how the Canadian hairs on the back of your neck will rise up when you are in a crowd of Americans who start chanting U-S-A! U-S-A! for some dumb reason or another.

    Having said all that, DO education is great, I like my program, and am excited about the medicine I am learning. And the weather here in Arizona is certainly nice in Febuary...

    ---A former Winnipeger stateside on a green card
     
  4. doc2003

    doc2003 Junior Member
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    Alberta and British Columbia are quite easy to get a license as a D.O. family physician and they are petitioning Ontario, and although it may never happen, their shortage may lead them to change something. Personally, I'm staying here as a dual citizen. I love the American patriotism when they chant U-S-A at sporting events. I wish Canadians had the same level of patriotism.

    Your visa issues get very difficult if you have no claim to a green card (permanent residency) or citizenship. Attending school on an F-1 student visa prohibits you from changing status to anything permanent. That is because the student visa denies dual intent... the intent to become educated and leave with the opposite intent of coming to be educated and stay. You can do your first year of residency on the optional practical training (OPT) portion of your F-1 student visa. After that you must switch to an H-1B or a J-1 visa. If you d a J-1 training visa you have a two-year return to home (Canada) requirement once it is over. If that's the case you better be a family physician so you can practise somewhere. If you actually find a hospital to do the necessary (cumbersome) paperwork for the H1-B you might actually lose a year depending on if the cap has been reached for that year on H1-B visas. Regardless of that, H1-B's are limited to six years (renewed once after three years). After that, the only way you can stay in the US is to practise in a shortage area and be sponsored for a green card. Hmmm... perhaps I should've been an immigration lawyer. Feel free to ask any questions!
     
  5. solie

    solie Senior Member
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    Thanks bikerboy and doc2003 for your replies.
    :)
    I would actually like to eventually practice in the US. I'm not sure that I want to do family practice, so I thought planning on living in the US would be a good idea (in case I can't get liscenced as a specialist in Canada). This is beginning to sound a lot more complicated than I thought. :(
    Isn't there any way to be educated in the US and then live and practice there, without being restricted to a shortage area somewhere in the middle of nowhere?
    How would I qualify for a green card or for US citizenship?
    I was told by a Canadian doing med down in the US that it's "relatively easy" to qualify to work there after I finish a residency there. I take it this isn't true??
    It seems strange to me that so many doctors up here in Canada seem to have no trouble crossing the boarder--a lot of them are moving down to the US for better working conditions, etc, and don't seem to have a problem doing so. And these are Canada-educated doctors. But if I become an American-educated doctor, I won't be able to practice in America?? I'm confused! :confused:

    Any thoughts??
     
  6. bikerboy

    bikerboy Member
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    Hmm, I'll have to defer to Doc2003 on this one, as he as obviously done his homework. I didnt realize how easy I had it on a green card until I read his post.

    But, as a doctor, you are a valuable asset to any society, so I think all wheels can be greased, but the legal requirements will still have to be met.

    Doc2003, I didnt realize that Alberta and BC licensed DOs. Any further sources you can point me to for further reading?
     
  7. Denise0207

    Denise0207 Junior Member

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    Hi there,

    Here's my two cents worth on the whole visa issue. I'm a Canadian med student who is about to make the leap into the US system for residency, so I've been doing a lot of research about the different visa options (J1 vs. H1-B). The H1-B is not an option for newly graduated students, since only those who have taken the Step 3 (usually written at the end of the first year of residency) can qualify for that particular visa. Besides, from my experience, not many programs will offer that option -- even the ones who are interested in you -- because there is a lot of paperwork and manpower involved. As an F-1 student, you could technically use the extension period of one year to finish your internship year, write the Step 3, and qualify for an H1 visa then but you would need to find a residency program that would be willing to do that for you. My guess is that you would probably have a lot of difficulty getting the J-1 visa. The reason for this is that you would need a statement of need from the provincial government and Health Canada. As a foreign grad (in the eyes of the Canadian government), you will need a letter from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (they probably will not recognize the DO degree) and a letter from a hospital stating that they will employ you when you return for your two year home residence requirement (there are very few hospitals/practices that recognize the DO degree, as has already been mentioned in other posts). Check the Health Canada web site for the requirements re: statement of need. Here is the website ( <a href="http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/healthcare/health_resources.htm" target="_blank">Health Canada</a>) As a Canadian medical school grad, you would have no problem getting this letter, but it is a completely different ball game for grads who were not trained in Canada.

    Of course, one way to get a green card is to marry an American while you're in osteopathic school, but that would be quite a drastic measure.

    Think carefully before you make your final commitment to the DO school. As a Canadian on a J-1 visa, it may not be that easy to stay in the States afterwards. During my interview season, I met several Canadians who finished their residencies in the States on a J-1 visa, were forced to return home for the service requirement, and then returned to the States afterwards. The reality is that as good as these people were (some of the PDs said they were at or near the top of their year), the hospitals just didn't want to go through the process of getting them a waiver or sponsoring an H1 visa. The J-1 waiver is not easily obtained (unless you work in an underserviced area) and the fact that you are Canadian will not help you out in this case. The last thing you need is to finish a US residency, be forced to return home, and not be able to practice because the DO license is not recognized. If you really have your heart set on being in the States long term, the best thing is to complete a MD degree (either in a Canadian or American school). I've found that many of the American schools love Canadian grads and jumping from one system to the other after medical school will not be a problem at all (besides, if you finish med school in Canada, you'll come out with much less debt!) Good luck -- I don't envy the decisions you will have to make. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  8. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Denise0207:
    [QB] I'm a Canadian med student who is about to make the leap into the US system for residency, so I've been doing a lot of research about the different visa options (J1 vs. H1-B). The H1-B is not an option for newly graduated students, since only those who have taken the Step 3 (usually written at the end of the first year of residency) can qualify for that particular visa. Besides, from my experience, not many programs will offer that option -- even the ones who are interested in you -- because there is a lot of paperwork and manpower involved. As an F-1 student, you could technically use the extension period of one year to finish your internship year, write the Step 3, and qualify for an H1 visa then but you would need to find a residency program that would be willing to do that for you. [QB]</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Time for me to get into the mixed... I posted a thread on this a while ago. I am a Canadian citizen going for MD degree in the US on F-1 visa.

    1) If you are an American med school grad, you can skip to H1B right away. Here is the tricky part. Merely holding an American MD degree, you are considered a qualified professional (a requirement to even apply to H1B) in immigration department's mind. However, if you graduate from med school in Canada, UK, Ireland, etc. you need to pass step 3 in order to be considered a qualified professional and be eligible to EVEN apply for H1B. Hospitals do not turn down fresh Canadian grads for H1B application because of the amount of paperwork. They turn them down because they are not eligible to apply for H1B until they pass USMLE step 3 which they cannot take until the end of their first year of residency.

    I found this out only because I already used up 3 months of my F1 practical training visa during undergrad and the visa department (for reasoning they themselves only know) would not give me back those 3 months when I start med school, pursuing a totally different degree. So I asked my med school's international scholar/student office.

    So for fresh Canadian med grads coming to the US, J-1 is their only options. Unless, they stay back in Canada for internship year, take USMLE step 3 and find a sponsor hospital in the US for H1B. But for fresh American med grads (no matter what citizenship), they can skip and try H1B right away.

    There are only two potential problems.
    a) Is it that easy to get H1B? To me, I don't care. I have made the choice to come to the US for MD and I have to graduate from med school. Simple. I will worry about it later on. Before I came, I did contact a Canadian who was about to graduate from my med school and he said that post-grad training is no problem. I did not get the details from him. But my school's international scholar/student office does not seem to be concerned. So I don't lose any sleep over it.

    b) does it apply to DO? I would imagine yes. But you should double-check with your school's international office.

    good luck!
     
  9. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    To Denise0207:

    just out of a curiosity. It seems that you know quite a few fellow Canadian med grads who want to come to the US for residency and a few Canadian grads finishing their residencies in the US. What is the common perception of Canadian training among US residency directors? Are they competitive in, say, derm, ENT, plastic surgery, etc.? But I would imagine that would also dependent on whether Canada needs physicians in those fields (due to J-class visa). And where do they usually applying from (i.e. McGill, Toronto, UBC, or...)???

    thanks!
     
  10. Denise0207

    Denise0207 Junior Member

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    There are at least five people in my class who have applied to American schools and we've all had quite a bit of success in getting interviews at very strong programs. From the experience of my classmates, it seems that we are more at a disadvantage for some of the more competitive specialties (e.g. neurosurgery) that only have a few spots because they would rather keep those for AMG's (something about a federal government funding issue). The PD's that I talked to seemed to love Canadian grads and the general perception -- whether warranted or not is another topic for discussion -- seems to be that the quality of med training is very high in Canada and that Canadian med students have made outstanding residents. Most of the other Canadian med students I met along the interview trail were from McGill, but I've heard through the grapevine that there is quite a large Toronto contingent applying this year.
     
  11. Denise0207

    Denise0207 Junior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Denise0207:
    <strong>Think carefully before you make your final commitment to the DO school. As a Canadian on a J-1 visa, it may not be that easy to stay in the States afterwards. During my interview season, I met several Canadians who finished their residencies in the States on a J-1 visa, were forced to return home for the service requirement, and then returned to the States afterwards. The reality is that as good as these people were (some of the PDs said they were at or near the top of their year), the hospitals just didn't want to go through the process of getting them a waiver or sponsoring an H1 visa. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Sorry, I think I was rather vague on the above point. I was referring to current J-1 residents in the States (not resident applicants) who were really valued by their program but the hospitals just didn't want to bother sponsoring them because it would involve too much work.
     
  12. doc2003

    doc2003 Junior Member
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    Hi again, I just wanted to address a couple of the original poster's questions.

    How would I qualify for a green card or for US citizenship?
    You have to get sponsored by a first-degree relative who is a citizen. Marrying a US citizen falls under this category (your spouse sponsers you). OR.... you can get sponsored by a government agency when you go to a shortage area. You would most certainly have to be practising primary care (fp, im, peds, ob/gyn) or psychiatry.

    I was told by a Canadian doing med down in the US that it's "relatively easy" to qualify to work there after I finish a residency there. I take it this isn't true??
    You are correct. It is actually quite difficult! Also, you mentioned it not making sense that Canadian physicians can go to the US quite easilty. They either go to a shortage area OR get an H1-B visa and stay in the US for six years or less. Most get the visa. Unfortunately for Canadians, physicians do not qualify for the T/N professional (NAFTA) visa unless they do full-time teaching and/or research. Canadians grads in the US for dentistry, however, often get the T/N visa which has no limit but must be renewed anually.

    Please go and read off: <a href="http://www.shusterman.com/" target="_blank">http://www.shusterman.com/</a>
     
  13. solie

    solie Senior Member
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    Just how difficult is it to find a hospital that will agree to help apply for the H1-B visa during residency? Is this going to drastically limit my residency options?
    :confused:

    Thanks for the link, doc2003--it's very helpful. :)
     

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