LaGuardia Community College recently enacted a new program, “The New York City Welcome Back Center,” which helps immigrants who worked in medical careers in their home countries adjust to the medical careers in America.
Unable to work in your own profession
The ability for new immigrants to be unable to work in their profession can be devastating to their sense of identity, says Suma Kurian, director of LaGuardia’s Center for Immigrant Education and Training. The program provides English courses, license guidance, career counseling, support service referrals, and job placement.
Kurian says immigrants begin working as quickly as possible to receive certification or degrees for careers as Phlebotomists, EKG assistants, Lab Technicians, Registered Nurses, Dentists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Medical Technologists, and Administrative Medical Assistants.
Early success stories
While the program is brand new as of December 3, 2010, there are a few success stories from early trial-runs. Maria Garcia, once a physician in the Dominican Republic, is now certified to work as a Phlebotomist and EKG Technician while she pursues her dream of becoming a Physician with a degree from NYU.
Nelson Gil, also a physician from the Dominican Republic, gained assistance to take medical exams and find a residency program where he can continue work as a Physician. Yesina Martinez-Moreno of Columbia worked as a Psychologist in her home country and became a certified Phlebotomist and EKG Technician while she continues her schooling to become a Mental Health Practitioner.
By taking medical assistant courses, these individuals can start making money in their field right away.
Another similar medical assistant program is the “Welcome Back Initiative,” which started in San Francisco, but has since expanded to schools in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Washington, and Texas.
Courses were offered to immigrants when it was discovered that 69 percent of the 1,500 health care professional immigrants were not working in the health care sector.